Oscar Moment: Pre-Festival Predictions!

1 09 2010

Well, folks, I’ve given you 14 Oscar Moments so far that have examined and analyzed the potential awards contenders of 2010.  Today begins a new chapter of the Oscar hunt with the beginning of the Venice Film Festival.  Next week, the Toronto Film Festival will kick off, and soon there will be various festivals in New York, Telluride, and London.

No more idle chatter. This is real.  It’s the time of the year when we separate the weaklings from the true players.  And so I begin before the madness with a few opinions of my own, a set of predictions that I have formed from merely the raw slate as is.  I’ll probably look back at this list and laugh; last year, I said “It’s Complicated” would be nominated.

So, on with the show!  (I’m skipping the screenplays for the next set of predictions.)

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Keira Knightley, “Never Let Me Go”
  2. Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”
  3. Barbara Hershey, “Black Swan”
  4. Hailee Steinfeld, “True Grit”
  5. Marion Cotillard, “Inception”

This is a category that likes proven young talent, so I think Knightley makes a good first pick for a winner.  Melissa Leo is clearly well-liked enough by the Academy to score a nomination for a no-name movie like “Frozen River,” so I think pretty mainstream Oscar bait like “The Fighter” bodes well for her chances.  I threw Hershey in the mix because I feel like the Academy will love “Black Swan,” and Best Supporting Actress likes veterans as well.  I’ve never even heard of Steinfeld, but she’s young, and this is the category that gave Tatum O’Neal and Anna Paquin the big prize in their teen years.  And just for fun, I threw in Cotillard as a wild-card.  She’s already won an Oscar, and I get the feeling the Oscars want to nominate her again.

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Christian Bale, “The Fighter”
  2. Sam Rockwell, “Conviction”
  3. Andrew Garfield, “The Social Network”
  4. Vincent Cassel, “Black Swan”
  5. Mark Ruffalo, “The Kids Are All Right”

An entire slate of first-time nominees?  Dang … I honestly have no idea how this category is going to play out; I just picked from some movies that I thought would be big.  Four of the five are from Best Picture nominees (riskiest bet being Cassel), and I threw in Sam Rockwell because his performance looks REALLY baity.

Best Actress

  1. Annette Bening, “The Kids Are All Right”
  2. Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
  3. Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”
  4. Michelle Williams, “Blue Valentine”
  5. Julianne Moore, “The Kids Are All Right”

I’m sensing Bening vs. Portman with maybe a little bit of Jennifer Lawrence to make things interesting.  It’s time for Bening to get one, if not for “The Kids Are All Right” then at least as recognition of how amazing she was in “American Beauty.”  Then again, Natalie Portman is going way out of her good-girl comfort zone, even farther than “Closer,” for “Black Swan.”  She’s definitely a force to be reckoned with this year.  Lawrence is the up-and-comer of the season, which always adds some fun.  Williams, a previous Oscar nominee, is a good bet based on how emotionally wrenching her role is.  And Julianne Moore needs to show up somewhere this year; it appears they are campaigning her for lead where she belongs.  Honestly, they should move Annette Bening to supporting.

Best Actor

  1. Mark Wahlberg, “The Fighter”
  2. Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”
  3. James Franco, “127 Hours”
  4. Robert Duvall, “Get Low”
  5. Ryan Gosling, “Blue Valentine”

It feels like a Wahlberg kind of year.  He’s been nominated before, but this is a role that is born for him to play.  More on that later in the inevitable Oscar Moment, though.  Everyone else has better days ahead, or, in the case of Robert Duvall, already has an Oscar.

Best Director

  1. David Fincher, “The Social Network”
  2. Mike Leigh, “Another Year”
  3. Christopher Nolan, “Inception”
  4. David O. Russell, “The Fighter”
  5. Darren Aronofsky, “Black Swan”

Fincher rides “The Social Network” train to victory.  Mike Leigh gives him a good run for his money because the Academy loves him way too much.  Christopher Nolan finally gets a much deserved Best Director nomination.  David O. Russell gets in because his movie is loved.  And Darren Aronofsky gets in for the same reason – except he has a rabid fan base that will try to push him to victory.

Best Picture

  1. The Social Network
  2. The Fighter
  3. Toy Story 3
  4. Another Year
  5. Black Swan
  6. Inception
  7. Never Let Me Go
  8. The Kids Are All Right
  9. Blue Valentine
  10. 127 Hours

I’ve read one review of “The Social Network,” but that alone has convinced me that the movie will win Best Picture.  If it’s as good as that review claims, it will be one of the most zeitgeist-tapping movies EVER.  After “The Hurt Locker” got in touch with the American psyche in Iraq last year and won Best Picture, the prize will move back home for “The Social Network.”

I’m just picking up really good vibes from “The Fighter,” mainly because it’s the “little movie that could” story that propelled “Slumdog Millionaire” to victory in 2008.

“Toy Story 3” could actually win.  No joke.  But enough people have to raise the question of “Who cares if it’s animated, it’s the best movie of the year?” to overcome the hurdles.

“Another Year” becomes the critical darling of 2010, likely a critics’ circle favorite, and thus impossible to ignore.

I’ll admit that I caught a peek at some early “Black Swan” reviews from Venice and this is the real deal.  It’s in.

“Inception” plays into the mix, although outside the old-fashioned five, because it’s the big summer hit and for “The Dark Knight” reparations.  Such a combination has to equal a Best Picture nomination.

“Never Let Me Go” is the obligatory literary adaptation bait.

“The Kids Are All Right” will get in because of its great critical standing.  It’s going to have a hard time making a serious run, though, because of the mediocre box office receipts.

“Blue Valentine” is going to be so hard-hitting and gruelingly real that I think the Academy can’t ignore it.

And finally, “127 Hours” gets in just because the Academy loves Danny Boyle and can’t think of anything else to put in.  Or wait, maybe that’s me who can’t think of anything else to put in!

What are your thoughts?  Who did I leave off?  Where am I dead on?


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7 responses

1 09 2010
Simon/Ripley

I really hope Conviction doesn’t get any. These days, anything Hilary Swank does is shamefully baity, and I can’t support that.

1 09 2010
Danny King

I agree that “The Social Network” looks like the front runner right now. The trailer looks solid, and that early review was more than ecstatic.

2 09 2010
Red

I mention this on almost any other set of predictions that I’ve seen, but I just don’t think that The Fighter will be as well loved by the Academy as most people think. I could easily be wrong, but oh well.

As much as I love…correct that…LOVE Cotillard, I can’t see her getting nominated. I know comparing performances from different years is almost pointless, but if she couldn’t get a nom for either Public Enemies or Nine, I doubt she gets even sniffs a nomination here.

Agreed that Bening should be moved to supporting actress, but they’ll probably campaign as lead.

2 09 2010
Marshall

Plus I think she would dominate Supporting. If “Black Swan” and Natalie Portman light Toronto on fire as well, I think Focus should seriously reconsider her placement.

2 09 2010
Chase Kahn

Sadly, based on word-of-mouth and its underdog status, “Secretariat” will likely get in somewhere as the “Blind Side” of 2010. Either Diane Lane for Best Actress or Best Picture…I’d love to be wrong.

2 09 2010
Fitz

I have the hunch Fincher’s taking the gold man home, after that I’m not positive about anything.

At this rate I would like to see DiCaprio nominated for Shutter Island and Inception nominated for Best Picture. It’s not likely, but I’d like to see it.

4 09 2010
Marshall

I’d love to see DiCaprio in there too but I fear he might split votes between his two movies. Then again, he made it in 2006 when he was in two movies…

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