Subscribe To Oscar Eye: Making Predictions Now That Festival Season Is Over Updates
It was barely jacket weather when I was up in Toronto for the film festival last week, and yet that popular winter parlor game of Oscar speculation had already started creeping into the corners of every conversation I had there. The minute fellow critics and I walked out of Black Swan, a movie that floored nearly everyone I knew, there were debates about whether Darren Aronofsky's fever dream could go over with the Academy. As The King's Speech wowed critics and audiences alike, including winning the Audience Award, wild predictions about the movie's Best Picture chances began to fly. Everyone knows that Oscar season is truly a year-round thing for the publicists who make campaigns and for the journalists who speculate on them, but this was my first time in Toronto, the first time I witnessed firsthand the swift, sometimes imperceptible calculations that start determining months in advance whose name will be on the "And the winner is…" envelope.

So here we are in mid-September, and it's Oscar season already. I'm freshly back from Toronto having seen a lot of movies and missed a whole lot more than will be in the race, but I'm still excited to get all this nonsense started. It was a long summer of a lot of dull, unoriginal movies, and though Oscar season comes with plenty of clunkers, it feels great to be in that time of year when the studios allow themselves to release movies that actually matter.

I'm bringing back the prediction charts from last year, keeping track of all the films, actors and directors in the race and their likelihood to be nominated with four categories: Mortal Lock, Likely Contender, Still In The Running and Outside Chance. At this point, it should go without saying, everything is very flexible and very, very subject to change. A lot of these major movies haven't been seen by many critics, and a small handful haven't been seen at all. There's no Avatar at the end of this year, a blockbuster lurking and ready to pounce on buzz, but even with these smaller Oscar-caliber films, audience response and reviews can change everything.

As far as buzz goes, with the Telluride, Venice and Toronto festival all wrapped up, now is the time for campaigns to actually start in earnest. Many of the big festival successes, including Sofia Coppola's Venice winner Somewhere and the aforementioned The King's Speech and Black Swan, will be lying low before release dates later in the year. Others opening sooner or already out there, like Never Let Me Go and The Town or the forthcoming Conviction and 127 Hours, will presumably be riding whatever festival buzz they have until making it to theaters or running out of steam.

And then there's The Social Network, which looms large with its October 1 release date and swath of rave reviews (ours included). I'll be seeing the film this Friday along with most of the New York media, but if it lives up to the hype and can follow that up with theatrical success, David Fincher looks to have another 800-pound gorilla in the Oscar race-- and not sentimental nonsense like Benjamin Button this time.

On to the charts, with a little more discussion of buzz in each individual category. By next week I'll have seen The Social Network and Best Feature Documentary hopeful Inside Job, not to mention participating in plenty of Oscar season gossip at the NYFF. It's early days of this yet, so enjoy it-- this is the fun part where anything is possible. See you next week!


oscar winner prediction
BEST PICTURE

There are a couple of movies you and I have all seen that seem like strong contenders here-- Inception, Toy Story 3 and The Kids Are All Right all came out of the summer strong, though either of the live-action ones could be knocked out by a strong fall season. I haven't seen a lot of these, but very few are total question marks-- there's buzz or festival reviews out there for everything but The Fighter, Love and Other Drugs, The Tourist, Country Strong and How Do You Know?, so those films are placed on the list based on hunches alone.
oscar winner prediction
Toy Story 3

oscar winner prediction
127 Hours
Another Year
Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

oscar winner prediction
Fair Game
Love and Other Drugs
Made in Dagenham
Never Let Me Go
Rabbit Hole
Secretariat
Shutter Island
Somewhere
The Tourist
The Way Back
Winter's Bone

oscar winner prediction
Blue Valentine
Biutiful
Brighton Rock
Conviction
Country Strong
The Debt
For Colored Girls
Get Low
The Ghost Writer
Greenberg
Hereafter
How Do You Know?
Let Me In
Nowhere Boy
The Tempest
The Town
Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps



oscar winner prediction
BEST DIRECTOR

If it's this hard at this point to predict Best Picture contenders, it's a nightmare predicting Director, especially when I haven't personally seen so many of the contenders. Christopher Nolan seems likely to score a "sorry about that" nomination after getting snubbed for The Dark Knight, and previous nominee David Fincher looks to be at the head of the pack, but otherwise it's a lot of potential with no one to set them over the top.
oscar winner prediction
David Fincher, The Social Network
oscar winner prediction
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Mike Leigh, Another Year
Christopher Nolan, Inception
David O. Russell, The Fighter

oscar winner prediction
Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right
Sofia Coppola, Somewhere
Clint Eastwood, Hereafter
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, The Tourist
Mark Romanek, Never Let Me Go
Peter Weir, The Way Back

oscar winner prediction
Ben Affleck, The Town
Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu, Biuitiful
John Cameron Mitchell, Rabbit Hole
Tyler Perry, For Colored Girls
Roman Polanski, The Ghost Writer
Matt Reeves, Let Me In
Martin Scorsese, Shutter Island
Oliver Stone, Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps
Edward Zwick, Love and Other Drugs


oscar winner prediction
BEST ACTOR
Since Telluride and Toronto many, many of my critic colleagues have been convinced that Colin Firth has already snagged the Oscar for his performance in The King's Speech. I'm inclined to believe them, and at least am convinced he's got a nomination sewn up. As for who else will join him, James Franco was astonishing in 127 Hours, Javier Bardem has been earning raves since Cannes for Biutiful, Jesse Eisenberg reportedly reaches new depth as an actor in The Social Network and Paul Giamatti and Robert Duvall are apparently the only reason to see their respective movies Barney's Version and Get Low. There's actually an embarrassment of riches here, though we may see them all fall away in deference to the mighty Firth.
oscar winner prediction
Colin Firth, The King's Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours

oscar winner prediction
Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Robert Duvall, Get Low
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine
Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter

oscar winner prediction
George Clooney, The American
Johnny Depp, The Tourist
Stephen Dorff, Somewhere
Aaron Eckhart, Rabbit Hole
Aaron Johnson, Nowhere Boy
Ewan McGregor, Beginners
Sean Penn, Fair Game

oscar winner prediction
Jim Broadbent, Another Year
Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception
Jake Gyllenhaal, Love and Other Drugs
Kevin Spacey, Casino Jack
Ben Stiller, Greenberg


oscar winner prediction
BEST ACTRESS

Annette Bening is already riding serious buzz for The Kids Are All Right, and leaving out Natalie Portman in Black Swan would be a stunning (though not unprecedented) omission, but otherwise there are a lot of names shuffling around for just a few spots. Focus Features confirmed just today that Julianne Moore will also compete in the lead category for The Kids Are All Right, which makes even Bening's campaign tricky-- though she seems like the only safe bet to me right now. The one I'm really keeping my eye on is Rachel Weisz in The Whistleblower-- after seeing it at Toronto, I feel confident that with a 2010 release date she could make it in the running.
oscar winner prediction
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
oscar winner prediction
Sally Hawkins, Made in Dagenham
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Lesley Manville, Another Year
Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
oscar winner prediction
Anne Hathaway, Love and Other Drugs
Diane Lane, Secretariat
Hilary Swank, Conviction
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
Reese Witherspoon, How Do You Know?
oscar winner prediction
Helen Mirren, The Tempest
Carey Mulligan, Never Let Me Go
Gwyneth Paltrow, Country Strong
Tilda Swinton, I Am Love
Naomi Watts, Fair Game
Rachel Weisz, The Whistleblower

oscar winner prediction
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

There are a lot of crickets chirping in this category, which has two strong contenders already gathering buzz-- Mark Ruffalo in The Kids Are All Right and Geoffrey Rush in The King's Speech-- and not a single other solid thing to go on. And even those two don't feel like a sure thing. What's fun about big empty categories like this, though, is that they change a lot as the season goes on-- expect this one to be no different.
oscar winner prediction
NONE
oscar winner prediction
Christian Bale, The Fighter
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech
oscar winner prediction
Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
Ed Harris, The Way Back
John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
Sam Rockwell, Conviction
Justin Timberlake, The Social Network
oscar winner prediction
Josh Brolin, True Grit
Vincent Cassel, Black Swan
Michael Douglas, Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps
Colin Farrell, The Way Back
Dustin Hoffman, Barney's Version
John Malkovich, Secretariat
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Jeremy Renner, The Town

oscar winner prediction
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Even more of a mystery than Supporting Actor right now, this category is even more complicated with Moore out of the running and virtually none of the performances having been widely reviewed. At this point I'd feel confident predicting a strong Dianne Wiest campaign for Rabbit Hole, and for someone from the massive For Colored Girls cast to start showing potential, but for now, accept the mystery.
oscar winner prediction
NONE
oscar winner prediction
Helena Bonham-Carter, The King's Speech
Barbara Hershey, Black Swan
Miranda Richardson, Made in Dagenham
Kristin Scott Thomas, Nowhere Boy
Dianne Wiest, Rabbit Hole
oscar winner prediction
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Anne-Marie Duff, Nowhere Boy
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
oscar winner prediction
Marion Cotillard, Inception
Elle Fanning, Somewhere
Keira Knightley, Never Let Me Go
Rosamund Pike, Barney's Version
Saoirse Ronan, The Way Back
Sissy Spacek, Get Low
Mia Wasikowska, The Kids Are All Right

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Blended From Around The Web

 

Related

Hot Topics

Cookie Settings