Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dec. Oscar Buzz and Predictions - Actor and Actress

  Both of these races are tightening up to small groups of real contenders, but there is still room for some surprises.  As always, the buzz rankings come first (with previous rankings in parenthesis) and my predictions follow...

Best Actress
     This race looks on the surface to be down to six contenders, but I think eight is probably more accurate.
  1.(4) Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook
  2. Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty
  3.(3) Marion Cotillard - Rust and Bone
  4.(2) Quvenzhane Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild
  5.(8) Emmanuelle Riva - Amour

  6.(9) Naomi Watts - The Impossible
  7.(1) Keira Knightley - Anna Karenina
  8. Helen Mirren - Hitchcock
  9. Rachel Weisz - The Deep Blue Sea
  10. Helen Hunt - The Sessions
  Leaving the Rankings:  Laura Linney - Hyde Park On Hudson, Viola Davis - Won't Back Down, Meryl Streep - Hope Springs
    These are MOST of the strongest contenders.  Of course, Helen Hunt will probably be nominated in Best Supporting Actress but those pesky critic's groups don't always decide how to categorize a performance according to how it is being campaigned.  Oscar usually does.  I also think that Knightley's meteoric plummet in buzz is a strong indicator that she is out of the race even though she is largely responsible for what works in Anna Karenina.  Oh well, her day will come again one year.  As I see it now...
  1. Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty...I adore both of the ladies currently considered to be leading the pack in this category, but I'm going to go with a hunch (and the fact that I thought her performance in Tree of Life last year would have not only been nominated, but WON Best Supporting Actress in a perfect world) and put Ms. Chastain in pole position.
  2. Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook...However, I haven't seen either of these first two films yet and Ms. Lawrence's track record is just as impressive, and got that way ALMOST as quickly.
Both ladies picked up Globe, Critic's Choice, and SAG nominations.  Jess won the National Board of Review.  Jenn won Los Angeles Critics Circle.
  3. Quvenzhane Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild...Even though only the Critic's Choice have really recognized her thus far, the Globes are looking for stars, and she was ineligible for the Screen Actors Guild.  I still expect Oscar to name her this category's youngest ever contender.
  4. Marion Cotillard - Rust and Bone...Critic's Choice, Globes, and SAG nods and near universal praise should push Ms. Cotillard to her second nomination, once again in her native French.
  5. Naomi Watts - I just saw my first full trailer for The Impossible in the theater and my anticipation is now that much higher.  She also has the same trifecta of awards show nominations as most of my current predictions.

  6. Emmanuelle Riva - Amour...Like Ms. Wallis, she was only recognized by the Critic's Choice, but probably missed out on the other awards shows for similar reasons.  I'm a little skeptical about two French actresses making it in, so I'm leaving her in the alternate slot for now.
  7. Rachel Weisz - The Deep Blue Sea...The New York Film Critics plucked Ms. Weisz's performance from obscurity and the Globes were paying attention.  There is at least a chance that she slips in.
  8. Helen Mirren - Hitchcock...Globe and SAG nods almost seem like politeness just because she's Helen  Mirren with the Critic's Choice exclusion, but you never know.  Everyone loves her (guilty).
  9. Emayatzy Corinealdi - Middle of Nowhere...This young recipient of nods from the Gotham and Indie Spirit Awards has been gaining ground for months, but her exposure is likely still too limited to make it in with the Academy.
  10.  Judi Dench - So far she's only gotten a Globe comedy nod, but the Ensemble nod for the film at SAG indicates that the film likely has fans among the actor's branch of AMPAS.

Best Actor
     This category is really tightening up.  I think we're down to six..maybe seven real contenders.
  1.(1) Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln
  2.(2) John Hawkes - The Sessions
  3.(3) Joaquin Phoenix - The Master
  4.(8) Denzel Washington - Flight
  5.(5) Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables

  6.(7) Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook
  7. Anthony Hopkins - Hitchcock
  8. Richard Gere - Arbitrage
  9.(4) Bill Murray - Hyde Park On Hudson
  10. Jean-Louis Tritignant - Amour
  Leaving the Rankings:  Phillip Seymour Hoffman - The Master, Clint Eastwood - Trouble With The Curve, Jamie Foxx - Django Unchained
     Although Murray was great in Hyde, the film's failure to meet expectations overall has probably nixed his chances this year.  I also think that while Riva is pretty likely to get in for Amour, she would be the only acting nomination.  My list is...
  1. Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln...You can't argue with a runaway train.  Besides all the awards show nods and a host of smaller critics award wins, he's won the New York Film Critics and tops almost everybody's list.  No way he won't get nominated, unlikely he fails to win.
  2. John Hawkes - The Sessions...He's maintained buzz since Sundance (almost a year ago) without really missing a step along the way.  He's in.
  3. Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook...He's seemed to be on the outside looking in until recently, but nominations from all the televised awards and Independent Spirit and a win from the National Board of Review have made his nomination a probability.
  4. Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables...There has been a little bit of a critical backlash to this film, but none of it has been aimed at Mr. Jackman and he's gotten all the critical precursor nods.
  5. Denzel Washington - Flight...Like all of my other predicted nominees, Mr. Washington received nods from the Critics Choice Awards, the Golden Globes, and the Screen Actor's Guild.  For now, I'm going to let that edge out...

  6. Joaquin Phoenix - The Master...Phoenix missed out with SAG and since that is the only precursor whose voting members overlap with the Academy, I'm going to put him here for now, although he gives what is surely one of the best leading performances of the year.  We'll see.
  7. Richard Gere - Arbitrage...Gere was ignored by SAG and The Critics Choice, but his Globe nod certainly keeps the possibility of Oscar notice alive.
  8. Jack Black - Bernie...Yes, really.  He got an Indie Spirit nod, a NY Film Critics Citation, and Globe and Critics choice nominations for Best Actor in a Comedy.  Do I think he'll get in?  Not really.  But I do think he is probably the most likely candidate outside of my top seven.
  9. Jamie Foxx - Django Unchained...Django came in really late so it is possible that the AMPAS might embrace an element or two that earlier awards shows ignore.  It could be Mr. Foxx.
  10. Suraj Sharma - Life of Pi...Despite his Critics Choice citation for Best Young Actor/Actress, this is mostly my For Your Consideration slot.

Related articles:   Nov/Dec Oscar Buzz and Predictions: It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (preview), Musical Techs (Score and Song), Noisy Techs (Sound Editing and Sound Mixing), Pretty People Techs (Hairstyling and Make-up & Costume), Pretty Picture Techs (Production Design and Cinematography), Finishing Touch TechsToons of Any Length (Animated Short and Animated Feature), Docs of Any Length (Documentary Feature and Documentary Short), Screenplays (Adapted and Original), Supporting PerformancesBest That the Summer Wields? (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Deep Part of Safety (The Deep Blue Sea), Acting Master Classes in Private "Sessions"The Best Huntsman's Shadow (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Can You "Master" Your Nature?Bernie! On a Ledge of MisfitsFantasy Life of Pi?

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