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The time has come to dust off the old charts, adjust them for a new season, and pray to the gods of HTML coding that it all makes sense. Yes, if you've been coming back to Oscar Eye for the handy visual aids of which movies, directors and actors are actual Oscar contenders rather than just wannabes, the charts are back for another season, and at this early stage in the race incredibly subject to change. It's really hard right now, especially with so many films left unseen by everybody, which Oscar chances might be overblown and which are real. It's also impossible to anticipate which hopefuls will just fall completely flat on their faces, when every year there seems to be a can't-miss contender than never pans out.

If you're new to the charts, they work the same for every category that I rank (Best Picture, Director, Actor & Actress, Supporting Actor & Actress), divided into four category. "Mortal Lock" refers to nominations that seem absolutely guaranteed, and at this point in the season I'm not putting anything in there-- it's all just too new. "Likely Contender" are nominations that will be fought hard for, and based on what we know so far about the movies or the performances, seem likely to turn into real nominations, or at least serious contenders. "Still In The Running" refers to nominations that will also be fought hard for, but seem less likely for whatever reason; important to note, I'm putting any films we haven't seen yet, like J. Edgar and War Horse, in that category for now since who knows what might happen. And "Outside Chance" isn't quite as grim as it sounds-- these are all contenders that are possible for nominations, but don't seem as likely as the ones up at the top of the heap. I'll be honest-- a lot of the names and titles in that category right now will never, ever get Oscar attention. But they will have campaigns, and it seems worth acknowledging their existence and giving them a shot this early on rather than just writing them off entirely.

Each week I'll update the charts based on whatever I'm perceiving in buzz or reviews or more ephemeral stuff like that. In each individual category I've explained as best I can what my thinking is, and I'll continue those explanations-- though hopefully in shorter versions-- each week. Take a look at the charts below, keep in mind it's all very preliminary, and let me know which contenders I'm underestimating or plain forgot about in the comments below.

oscar winner prediction

The trick of Best Picture this year, as you may know, is that the number of nominees will operate on a sliding scale based on how many movies get a certain percentage of #1 votes-- we could get 5 nominees, we could get 10, we could get any number in-between. That's going to make it exceptionally hard to whittle down a list of actual predictions when the time comes, but for the time being it allows me to be a little flexible-- everything in that Likely Contender spot, for example, feels like it could very well end up in the final lineup, even if War Horse andExtremely Loud are such big hits that they wind up in Best Picture as well. Asides from the mysterious of those films we haven't seen yet, I'm very curious about critically beloved but trickier movies like Drive andThe Tree of Life-- there are already bets going on among other Oscar bloggers about whether both or either could make it in to Best Picture. I think the odds are better for Tree of Life, but I'd expect both of them to put in efforts toward campaigns, and it won't really be until the critic's awards start in December that it becomes clear what kind of staying power either film might have.



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

Best Director and Best Picture go hand in hand, so this category is just as fuzzy as the one we already discussed. It's interesting, though, that every single one of the "Likely Contender" picks are oddballs in one way or another, whether veterans who seemed out of the game for good (Allen and Malick), foreigners breaking in (Alfredson and Hazanvicius), or a good director who just happens to be sitting on what will probably be a big hit (Miller). Then again, big names like Spielberg, Eastwood, Polanski, Fincher, Daldry (who has been nominated for every film he's ever made) and even Clooney and also in the hunt. I don't expect Clooney to make much of a splash, and Polanski's movie is apparently too small-scale for much attention, but Fincher, Daldry and especially Spielberg seem likely to start making waves when their films show up later this year.


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

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

Jonathan Levine, 50/50
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
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
If I were being honest with myself, I'd have George Clooney in here as a Mortal Lock already. His performance in The Decendants is so good, and the movie itself so good too, that he's the closest thing I see to a guarantee for a nomination-- though a win is another question. But because the movie hasn't opened yet, I still feel like we can't say anything for sure. Beyond him, both Dujardin and Oldman seem like pretty solid picks for roles in movies that have been getting consistent good buzz. And yes, I know I'm totally cheating with Gosling down for two movies, since he can only be nominated for one. But I'm still not sure The Ides of March will be that successful, and while it seems like an obvious way to nominate him for his amazing year, I wonder if Drive might hang on well enough to become a nomination for the movie he was actually best in. I'll talk more later about Fassbender, whose nomination for Shame is incredibly tricky, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is also in an odd spot. DiCaprio, remember, is only out of "Likely Contender" because no one has seen his movie yet; otherwise he seems a very, very safe bet for a nod.



George Clooney, The Descendants
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March/Drive

Matt Damon, We Bought A Zoo
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Daniel Craig, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Michael Fassbender, A Dangerous Method
Ralph Fiennes, Coriolanus
Paul Giamatti, Win Win
Woody Harrelson, Rampart
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
Of the five Likely Contenders listed here-- and those five seem to be popping up across the Internet as good shots for the final lineup-- only one of those performances has even been widely seen, and that's Viola Davis's. Streep and Williams are both vaguely rumored to be great, Close has been respected by small groups of festivalgoers, and Theron's performance hasn't been seen by anyone at all. So if any of these mysterious contenders falls out, there's room for some really interesting others to jump in, like Rooney Mara for what will surely be a showy role in Dragon Tattoo, or the Sundance sensations Elizabeth Olsen and Felicity Jones. It's also possible that Keira Knightley's A Dangerous Method performance could be campaigned here, but I'm sticking with her in supporting for now.



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
Mia Wasikowska, Jane Eyre
Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea
Kate Winslet, Carnage

oscar winner prediction
This category could easily become dominated by the big X-factor of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which could fill up the whole damn thing with its raft of talented actors doing reportedly great work. But I still think there's room for some others, including Nick Nolte despite the huge underperformance of Warrior, and even Albert Brooks, whose bad-guy role in Drive is a highlight even for people who don't dig the movie. There's also a lot of room for change in here, which seems like it has the most room for change. Fun awaits!



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
Thomas Horn, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
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
Yes, I'm cheating again in this category, putting down Jessica Chastain for both The Help and Tree of Life, because I honestly don't know how anyone is supposed to choose between them. Of course, Chastain could cancel herself out and wind up knocked out entirely, which would make this crowded field slightly less busy but still plenty packed. I'll be most interested to watch the fate of Shailene Woodley, an unknown who's killer in The Descendants, and also how Summit handles the women of 50/50, who all have more traditionally dramatic roles in a film that might verge too close to comedy to get a bigger Best Picture play.


Jessica Chastain, The Help/Tree of Life
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
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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