Though this weekend's big Oscar-friendly release, The Ides of March, will primarily be a contender on behalf of its male actors, but two new trailers have everyone talking about actresses instead. First up there was yesterday's first trailer for My Week With Marilyn, which allowed us to finally see Michelle Williams walking, talking and even singing as the iconic movie star. And today we got another first look, this time with the trailer for Young Adult, the new collaboration between Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody that appears to boast a go-for-broke performance by Charlize Theron in the lead role.

As I've mentioned already, Best Actress is a little tricky this year, and not only because it's got the typical problem of not enough performances to choose from. Everyone is still assuming that Meryl Streep is a shoo-in with her performance from The Iron Lady, and while it's true she typically gets nominated just for showing up on set, nothing is guaranteed-- the movie could be awful, and she could be forgotten. And while Glenn Close's hard-fought-for Albert Nobbs showcases her in a very well-received lead performance, people don't seem all that enthusiastic about the film itself; even though Close is a veteran making an overdue return to movies, it's conceivable that she could be lost in the shuffle. And the only major contender in a movie that's been widely seen, Viola Davis for The Help, could still wind up campaigned as a Supporting Actress-- an illogical movie, but possible.

All of that opens up the Best Actress race to more atypical contenders who may well be doing even better work. Williams and Theron seem like stronger guarantees, at least until we see their movies-- both are previous nominees, Theron a previous winner, and both appear to be playing tricky roles and nailing them. But there a lot of wild cards in there too, from perennial wild card Tilda Swinton, who supposedly shines in the dark and challenging We Need To Talk About Kevin, to Michelle Yeoh, playing a Burmese political leader in The Lady. There are also a lot of very young actresses who could pop in as exciting young ingenues, from Elizabeth Olsen in the festival stalwart Martha Marcy May Marlene (now getting raves at the New York Film Festival), to Rooney Mara, whose Girl with the Dragon Tattoo could easily sneak in come December and make her the frontrunner. Hell, even Kirsten Dunst wants an Oscar this year for her role in Melancholia, and she seems prepared to work for it.

It still seems safe to bet on the top five I've put in the "still in the running" category below, but I'm anticipating some kind of upset in here before all is said and done. As for those actors who are making waves in Ides-- that'd be Ryan Gosling in the Best Actor category, and Paul Giamatti/Philip Seymour Hoffman/maybe even George Clooney in Supporting Actor-- I'm going to wait and see how that movie performs before making any calls. It still seems entirely possible that it will underperform at the box office, and given the tepid critical response-- 76% on Rotten Tomatoes-- it might not have the juice to keep going through the fall. But then again, it's so hard to judge buzz when you're in the middle of everything anyway-- doesn't it kind of already feel like Moneyball has gone away, even though it continues to be a good-sized hit? We'll check in on Ides of March next week and see how the weekend turned out for it.

Meanwhile, on to the charts!

oscar winner prediction

I've been thinking about the movies at the New York Film Festival this week and what kind of chances any of them might have, but even the most Oscar-friendly of them-- Shame, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Carnage and soon My Week With Marilyn-- still don't quite seem right. When Marilyn premieres for the NYFF press this Sunday, we may have a new story to tell-- and when The Descendants arrives later next week, the buzz for that movie will start up all over again. For now though, no change.



The Artist
The Descendants
The Help
Midnight in Paris
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The Ides of March
The Iron Lady
J. Edgar
The Tree of Life
War Horse
Young Adult

A Dangerous Method
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Jane Eyre
Like Crazy
Martha Marcy May Marlene
My Week WIth Marilyn
Take Shelter
We Bought A Zoo
Win Win

oscar winner prediction

Who's excited for when Fox Searchlight gears up their campaign for Tree of Life and tries to secure a nomination for Malick, who won't do any press? I'm ready for that to shake things up a little, because other than that, this category is in total stasis.


Tomas Alfredson, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Woody Allen, Midnight In Paris
Michel Hazanvicius, The Artist
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Bennett Miller, Moneyball
Alexander Payne, The Descendants

George Clooney, The Ides of March
Stephen Daldry, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Clint Eastwood, J. Edgar
David Fincher, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Roman Polanski, Carnage
Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive
Steven Spielberg, War Horse

David Cronenberg, A Dangerous Method
Cameron Crowe, We Bought A Zoo
Drake Doremus, Like Crazy
Sean Durkin, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Roland Emmerich, Anonymous
Ralph Fiennes, Coriolanus
Jonathan Levine, 50/50
Phyllida Lloyd, The Iron Lady
Tom McCarthy, Win Win
Steve McQueen, Shame
Mike Mills, Beginners
Oren Moverman, Rampart
Jeff Nichols, Take Shelter
Jason Reitman, Young Adult
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Tate Taylor, The Help

oscar winner prediction
WIth Take Shelter out in theaters last weekend, it seems only fair to take Michael Shannon a little more seriously here, since his performance in the movie really is that good. Beyond that, though, we're just watching Clooney on the charm offensive promoting The Ides of March and wondering if the movie can carry Gosling far enough to a nomination. And things aren't looking great anymore for Joseph Gordon-Levitt given 50/50's mediocre opening weekend, but it's a long season and the performance is still great, so there's time.



George Clooney, The Descendants
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Matt Damon, We Bought A Zoo
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50
Michael Shannon, Take Shelter

Daniel Craig, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Michael Fassbender, A Dangerous Method
Ralph Fiennes, Coriolanus
Paul Giamatti, Win Win
Woody Harrelson, Rampart
Thomas Horn, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Rhys Ifans, Anonymous
Jeremy Irvine, War Horse
Christopher Plummer, Barrymore
John C. Reilly, Carnage
Michael Shannon, Take Shelter
Christoph Waltz, Carnage
Anton Yelchin, Like Crazy

oscar winner prediction
Kate Winslet has been moved to supporting for Carnage, but I'm keeping Jodie Foster here, off nothing but instinct that may prove to be wrong. For more in-depth thoughts about this category, see above.



Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia
Felicity Jones, Like Crazy
Rooney Mara, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin
Michelle Yeoh, The Lady

Jodie Foster, Carnage
Emily Watson, Oranges & Sunshine
Mia Wasikowska, Jane Eyre
Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea

oscar winner prediction
Man, if Ides of March fizzles, that's really going to screw my predictions here-- as in, I have no idea who might wind up in the running then. All I've got is a vague hunch based on the new War Horse trailer that this might turn out to be the year of Benedict Cumberbatch, which could boost his chances of a nomination for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I only wish I'd seen it so I could back that up. Also, Patton Oswalt looked like a big part of Young Adult based on the trailer-- maybe his Oscar hopes are more realistic than we thought.



Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Brad Pitt, The Tree of Life

Paul Giamatti, The Ides of March
Armie Hammer, J. Edgar
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Ides of March
David Thewlis, The Lady

Niels Arestrup, War Horse
Jim Broadbent, The Iron Lady
Benedict Cumberbatch, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Colin Firth, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Robert Forster, The Descendants
Tom Hanks, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Tom Hardy, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
John Hawkes, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Tom Hiddleston, War Horse
Ezra Miller, We Need To Talk About Kevin
Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method
Patton Oswalt, Young Adult
Seth Rogen, 50/50
Mark Strong, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

oscar winner prediction
It's worth emphasizing that Shailene Woodley, who plays George Clooney's daughter in The Descendants, is not just here as a placeholder-- she gives a very strong performance and feels like a very, very sure thing for a nomination, though very unlikely for a win. I know you've never heard of her, or you might have seen her on Secret LIfe of the American Teenager and not thought much of her talents, but I promise, she's great in this one. Oh, and there's no real change here, though I'd like a sense of whether or not Keira Knightley will be campaigned as Lead or Supporting for A Dangerous Method. The movie is at the New York Film Festival this week and on the brain, and her performance is growing on me, though it's still one of the more polarizing elements of the film. Sometimes polarizing can mean the good kind of attention that leads to a nomination… and sometimes it gets you ignored. We'll see.


Jessica Chastain, The Help/Tree of Life/Take Shelter
Keira Knightley, A Dangerous Method
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Vanessa Redgrave, Coriolanus
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Sandra Bullock, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Judi Dench, J. Edgar
Carey Mulligan, Shame
Naomi Watts, J. Edgar
Kate Winslet, Carnage
Evan Rachel Wood, The Ides of March

Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Marion Cotillard, Midnight in Paris
Elle Fanning, We Bought A Zoo
Charlotte Gainsbourg, Melancholia
Bryce Dallas Howard, The Help
Anjelica Huston, 50/50
Scarlett Johansson, We Bought A Zoo
Anna Kendrick, 50/50
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Marisa Tomei, The Ides of March

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