Oscars 2012: Adam Predicts the Nominees

by     Posted 2 years, 276 days ago

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As I’ve been covering awards season pretty extensively here on the site over the past few months, I figured it would be appropriate to (foolishly) try to predict the upcoming Oscar nominations. It’s been a fairly tame year, as a few frontrunners were singled out early in the race and have held their ground throughout the grueling awards season. We haven’t been without a few surprises, as Steven Spielberg’s War Horse took a massive tumble following snubs from most of the major guilds, and David Fincher has surged back into the race bringing his adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with him.

Though there are plenty of safe bets when it comes to the 2012 Oscar nominations, there are still a few wildcards and tricky categories. I’ve put on my prognosticating cap (those interested can purchase one of these nifty hats at your local Target) and compiled a list of who and what I think will make the cut. Hit the jump to see how I think the nods will stack up when they’re announced on January 24th.

*Note: Due to an Academy rule change, this year there will be somewhere between five and 10 nominees for Best Picture. The number won’t be revealed until the nominations are announced, so I’m taking a wild guesstimate and predicting there will be seven. In any case, I’ve listed the contenders in order of most likely to be nominated to least likely. So in the event that there are five nominees, cut off my list at five and those would be my picks. On to the future predicting!

the-artist-movie-posterBEST PICTURE:

The Artist

The Descendants

The Help

Hugo

Midnight in Paris

Moneyball

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Alternates: War Horse, Bridesmaids, The Tree of Life

The Artist is the frontrunner here and has been for months. There’s much debate over which film stands the best shot against the silent pic (Hugo, The Descendants, The Help), but at the end of the day, The Artist remains number one. Many thought War Horse was a sure thing, but the film failed to land nominations from the Writers Guild, Screen Actors Guild, Art Directors Guild, and Directors Guild. The guilds are major predictors of the eventual Oscar nominees, and a weak showing leads me to believe that War Horse will be lacking from the list of Best Picture nominees.

As David Fincher took Spielberg’s “spot” in the Directors Guild nominations, and given that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has scored mentions from quite a few of the other guilds as well, it’s looking like the adaptation that many initially wrote off may actually appear in the big category come Oscar night. Dragon Tattoo is the one I’m least sure about in the Best Picture field; I wouldn’t be shocked if War Horse or Bridesmaids sneaked in, but given its strong guild showing I’m inclined to believe that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will be a Best Picture nominee.

hugo-movie-poster-02BEST DIRECTOR:

Martin ScorseseHugo

Michel HazanaviciusThe Artist

Alexander PayneThe Descendants

Woody Allen Midnight in Paris

David Fincher The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Alternates: Steven Spielberg, Terrence Malick, Bennett Miller

The Best Director category often resembles the DGA list, and I think this year the two will most likely match up. Hazanavicius, Payne, and Scorsese are near locks, and Allen’s a pretty safe bet as Midnight in Paris is being hailed as his best film in years. Fincher is the wild card, as few (if any) pegged him to land a DGA nod this year. Some could argue the Academy feels bad for snubbing him last year in favor of The King’s Speech’s Tom Hooper, but I think he’ll make the cut regardless. That said, Spielberg is still a possibility because, you know, he’s Steven Spielberg. My dark horse pick for this category is Bennett Miller for Moneyball. It’s a longshot, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see his name land among the nominees in a move similar to Jason Reitman’s Best Director nomination for Juno.

the-descendants-movie-posterBEST ACTOR:

George ClooneyThe Descendants

Brad PittMoneyball

Jean Dujardin The Artist

Michael Fassbender Shame

Gary Oldman Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Alternates: Leonardo DiCaprio, Demian Bichir, Woody Harrelson

You’d be forgiven for thinking this year’s Best Actor race was a contest for Most Handsome Man Ever. Clooney and Pitt are the frontrunners, with Dujardin threatening to pull an upset due to that Artist love that’s spreading by the minute. Oldman is far from a sure thing, but I think the Academy will finally choose to recognize this outstanding actor for his impressive work in the intricate spy thriller Tinker Tailor. Seriously, how has Oldman never been nominated for an Oscar?

If by some travesty Oldman doesn’t make the cut, expect to see DiCaprio land a nod for his turn in J. Edgar. While he’s certainly done much better work, DiCaprio has racked up a fair amount of recognition for the biopic and many are pitting him as a near-lock. I’m thinking Fassbender will rightfully be recognized for his extraordinary turn in Shame, but he and Oldman are the two I’m least confident about. Demian Bichir earned a SAG nom out of nowhere for A Better Life and Woody Harrelson has been turning heads for Rampart, so they remain possibilitiesas well.

The-Help-movie-posterBEST ACTRESS:

Viola Davis The Help

Meryl StreepThe Iron Lady

Tilda SwintonWe Need to Talk About Kevin

Michelle WilliamsMy Week with Marilyn

Rooney MaraThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Alternates: Glenn Close, Charlize Theron, Elizabeth Olsen

For months, the Best Actress race seemed locked as Viola Davis was the undisputed frontrunner to take home the trophy; then Streep came a-calling. The Iron Lady finally opened in theaters and—despite a lackluster reception to the film overall—Streep has been singled out for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher. In my opinion, Tilda Swinton gave the best performance of the year in We Need to Talk About Kevin and I expect she’ll at least land a nomination here. Michelle Williams has also become a staple in early awards precursors, so I expect she’ll land a nod.

I’m going out on a limb with Mara, but I think given the late surge of Dragon Tattoo, voters will want to recognize her stellar, transformative performance. Most believe Close will get the nomination for Albert Nobbs (she does play a man, after all), so she’s definitely a possibility, but I’m stubbornly sticking with Mara.

beginners-movie-poster-1BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Christopher PlummerBeginners

Albert BrooksDrive

Kenneth BranaghMy Week with Marilyn

Jonah Hill Moneyball

Nick NolteWarrior

Alternates: Max von Sydow, Patton Oswalt, Armie Hammer

Legendary actor Christopher Plummer has been picking up awards left and right for his work in Beginners, and he’s as close to a lock as you’re gonna find come Oscar night. Albert Brooks was an early awards favorite for his brilliantly nasty performance in Drive, but he was inexplicably shut out of the SAG race. I still think he’ll land a nomination from the Academy, but the lack of SAG consideration is definitely a detriment to his chances of winning.

Kenneth Branagh should squeeze in for his portrayal of Sir Lawrence Olivier in My Week with Marilyn, and Jonah Hill (yes, that Jonah Hill) is poised to land a nod for his work in Moneyball. The field here is relatively open, so the final spot could be filled by a number of actors including Patton Oswalt for Young Adult and Max von Sydow for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close . However, I think Nick Nolte will be recognized for his work in the underseen Warrior.

bridesmaids-movie-poster-melissa-mccarthy-01BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Octavia SpencerThe Help

Melissa McCarthy Bridesmaids

Berenice BejoThe Artist

Janet McTeerAlbert Nobbs

Jessica ChastainThe Help

Alternates: Shailene Woodley, Carey Mulligan

Best Supporting Actress is another category that has fluctuated quite a bit over the past few months. Shailene Woodley began as a shoo-in for her nuanced work in The Descendants, but that film has lost considerable steam as of late and Woodley failed to land on the SAG shortlist. I don’t think she has the clout or recognition to overcome the snub (as I think Brooks will), so she’s been sidelined in favor of the new frontrunner Octavia Spencer.

Following closely behind Spencer is Melissa McCarthy. Though you may scoff at the notion of including her on this list, McCarthy has landed on nearly every single major critics list and awards nomination ballot thus far. Berenice Bejo should get in for Oscar favorite The Artist, as should Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs. Jessica Chastain is less of a sure-thing, but I think the Academy will want to recognize her for the incredible year she’s had. Though I think she’s more deserving for The Tree of Life, she was undeniably a stand-out in the ginormous ensemble of The Help and a nod for Chastain would make me incredibly happy.

midnight-in-paris-movie-poster-01BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:

Woody Allen Midnight in Paris

Michel HazanaviciusThe Artist

Kristen Wiig and Annie MumoloBridesmaids

Will Reiser50/50

Todd McCarthy Win Win

Alternates: Diablo Cody for Young Adult, Asghar Farhadi for A Separation

Woody Allen has been picking up numerous accolades for what many consider one of his best films in years, so he’s the slight frontrunner in the original screenplay race for Midnight in Paris. Close behind is Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist. Yes, silent films have screenplays too and the Academy will most likely want to recognize the difficult task of writing a movie that has no dialogue. I also think Kristen Wiig will become an Oscar nominee for she and Annie Mumolo’s Bridesmaids script. What could have easily become “The Hangover with women” was actually a fairly sweet and painfully funny ensemble comedy.

Will Reiser and Todd McCarthy aren’t exactly a surety, but I think Resier’s fantastic script for 50/50 will deservingly make the cut. I’m less sure about McCarthy, and I could definitely see Diablo Cody taking his spot, but my gut says the Academy will want to recognize Win Win in some way, and a screenplay nod would single out McCarthy’s comedy.

moneyball-posterBEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:

Steven Zaillian and Aaron SorkinMoneyball

Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash The Descendants

Tate TaylorThe Help

John LoganHugo

Steven ZaillianThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Alternates: Richard Curtis and Lee Hall for War Horse, George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon for The Ides of March

A batch of veterans and a newcomer are poised to make up the Best Adapted Screenplay field. Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin are the deserved frontrunners for their magnificent Moneyball script, and I have a feeling Sorkin will win his second Oscar in a row this year. Payne, Faxon and Rash’s script for The Descendants stands a decent shot at a win (how great would it be to see Community’s Dean Pelton onstage?), but they’ve got some stiff competition from Tate Taylor’s impressive adaptation of The Help.

John Logan is a contender for Hugo, though I seriously doubt he has a chance at a win. Zaillian may very well find himself a double nominee, as his Dragon Tattoo adaptation scored a WGA nod alongside Moneyball. War Horse would have a better shot had it not been nearly shut out by the guilds, and I think the script for The Ides of March is a serious dark horse candidate here. Ides has been sadly absent from many precursors, but if anything has a shot at knocking off Dragon Tattoo I think it’s Ides.

That about does it for the major categories. I won’t make a total fool of myself by trying to predict the technical nominees, so feel free to weigh in with your picks. Joins us back here on Tuesday when the nominations are announced.

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  • jymmymackiv

    Dude, I bet Scorsese is stoked to get two Best Director nominations out of one movie!

  • Dodge_hickey

    you have Martin Scorsese down twice under director!

  • Paul

    I don’t see what the big fucking deal about Melissa McCarthy has been? Yes, she allowed herself to be uglied up for Bridesmaids but she didn’t look any different from 10 people I saw sitting in the theater with me watching Bridesmaids.

    Oh well, the Oscars are a big heaping pile of bullshit.

  • Mark

    Aww it’s cute that you think “the artist” is going to win best picture because it’s not. It’s just too obscure and out there to get the votes it needs to beat something like “The descendants” or “Hugo”. “The Help” doesn’t stand a chance of winning because it sticks to close to “the blindside” formula of “let’s see african american’s lives through the eyes of black people” and waters a lot of things down in attempt to be more family friendly. I think either Fassbender or Oldman is going to get bumped in favor of DiCaprio (whether he deserves it for the role or not). Viggo has a shot at Supporting for his work in Dangerous Method.

  • Armando

    They should just have a “Best Martin Scorsese” category.

  • Anthony

    Kind of surprised that McCarthy is your #2 for Best Supporting Actress. For the past three years a SAG nominee for supporting actress HASN’T received an Academy Award nomination (Mila Kunis, Diane Kruger, and Catherine Keener). I think that will be the case again with McCarthy, and Shailene Woodley will get the much deserved nomination. Well, at least I hope so, I thought she was fantastic in The Descendants (which surprised me, because I think that American Teenager show she’s in is terrible).

  • Rachel

    No nom for Dominic Cooper in Devil’s Double? He did an amazing job in that movie! If he doesn’t get a nom I’ll be sad :(

  • gerard kennelly

    best supporting actor

    stellan skarsgard

    dragon tattoo

    what a scary character

  • John_J

    No nominations for Alan Rickman for his masterly turn as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise???
    No nomination for Harry Potter in the Best Picture category after so many wonderful, and powerful movies? Not one recognition? These Oscars are full of Blue Blooded SNOBS !!!
    Harry Potter saga was such a thrilling dark and complex tale , but academy voters disregard it as ‘kids fantasy’. This is really sad that the Academy Voters are closed-minded people. Harry Potter deserves recognition for its legacy form the Oscars !!! Lord of the Rings always got recognized in some field or the other, why not Harry Potter???

  • t

    SOMEONE explain to me why Michael Shannon for ‘Take Shelter’ hasn’t been included in any of these awards shows.

    All festival season every single critic said “It would be a crime if Michael Shannon doesn’t get nominated for an Oscar” and yet, not even the critics give a sh&* about him anymore.

  • Quentin

    Bridesmaids was fun, but to get a f*ckload of Oscar nods is a little to much imo…

    Also, i think Tree of Life will get a best picture nod over Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

  • LB

    Bridesmaids? Seriously?!? It’s a good movie, but not Best Picture-worthy. Deathly Hallows Part 2 deserves some nominations.

  • Arnold

    “In my opinion, Tilda Swinton gave the best performance of the year in We Need to Talk About Kevin and I expect she’ll at least land a nomination here.”

    Thank you! I’m glad there’s someone else out there who appreciated the amazing performance that Tilda gave. I really would hope that she wins the award, but we all know it’s going to Meryl this year.

    Also, I doubt Moneyball and The Girl… will be nominated. Take both of those movies out and add War Horse. It’s Spielberg. It will be nominated, no matter how sentimental and dull it was.

  • Daniel Simolke

    Very smart choices. I hardly disagree with a thing on here. If anything at all. I like it when people can separate what they want to be nominated from what is most likely to be nominated. I just really want to see Oswalt get nominated for Young Adult. One question, Pi said you’re guessing there will be 8 best picture Nominees, but listed 7, as well as 3 alternates. Did I just misread something here?

    • Adam Chitwood

      Was a typo. Fixed now. Thanks!

  • joel

    “The girl with the dragon tattoo” is the best movie this year and deserving to win Oscars, especially in the best acting performance of Rooney Mara. She’s great and spectacular!

  • colin.

    i will be shocked if The Help gets nominated for best picture. i didn’t think that movie was very well done. Artist and Descendants are shoe ins, with Hugo being pretty close to a lock due to its subject matter and pedigree (also because its a very well crafted film).

    I forget exactly how the new Best Picture rules play out, but it was like: more than 5 movies can be nominated as long as one of the extra movies has at least 5% of the academy voters ranking it #1. Something like that. So, with those rules in mind i can’t imagine some movies getting that many votes for number 1. Stuff like “Dragon Tatoo” will probably be in some people’s top 5, but not enough #1′s to make it as a stand alone nominee. Tree of Life on the other hand, while very divisive, will be #1 for enough people to warrant a nomination, not to mention being in plenty of top 5′s. All in all, I agree with Adam’s list except I would switch out The Help, and make Tree of Life a lock.

    • ThundersauresRex

      tree of life seems to pop up everywhere the lovers of this film seem to be over the top haters of every one elses picks and be pretty sure of themselves that it’ll be nominated. you don’t sound like a Tree of Life Radical. but i mean looking back at the film the only thing peoplec an say was well doen about the movie is the art direction, direction and score. i’m sorry i didnt find the movie very engaging. i also didnt find the performances all that spectacular and prefer the MoneyBall Pitt over the Tree Pitt. but it saw lackluster noms from every other festival and i think it won best picture and driector for very small and miniscule festivals that look more at the artsy side of a piece rather than the FULL picture. art direction, music and direction dont make a good film. i agreea nom for best director adn score is needed but i dont think it would win.

  • Zach

    Not a single mention for The Smurfs? If you dont think the Academy will give it at least one nod, you’re smokn rock, bro.

  • Sean

    Correction: Win Win was written by Tom McCarthy, not Todd McCarthy.

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