It’s that time of year again. This Thursday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the nominees for the 81st Annual Academy Awards.
Every year there are snubs and surprises, thrills and controversies. There is no way of knowing who will be nominated, but we here at FilmBuffOnLine, who believe the day nominations are announced should be a National holiday, are going to try and handicap the process for you.
We will try to tell you who we think are Almost Certain to get a nomination, who Definite May Be nominated, and whose nomination is a Outside Shot in the major categories (the four acting categories, Best Director, and Best Picture). We are trying to cover all bases, but don’t come to us if you lose money on your Oscar Nomination pool.
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler; Sean Penn, Milk
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon; Leonardo DiCaprio, Revolutionary Road; Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Colin Farrell, In Bruges; Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
It seems that this year, if Mickey Rourke didn’t win a Best Actor award, Sean Penn won it. Both men seem to be all but a lock for a nomination. Benjamin Button seems to be role that screams “nominate me,” so Pitt has a good chance. Langella won a Tony for originating the role of Nixon on Broadway, so it seem logical that he’d at least get a nod. The Academy might have something against DiCaprio, since he has been snubbed more than once in the past. That could work against him here. Farrell won the Golden Globe for this role, which gives him a chance. And the Academy might want to reward Eastwood for what could be his last acting role with a nomination.
Kate Winslet, Revolution Road; Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married; Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky; Meryl Streep, Doubt
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Rebecca Hall, Vicky Christina Barcelona; Michelle Williams. Wendy and Lucy
Winslet probably should be nominated in the category for The Reader, but she is getting pushed for Best Supporting for that role. Oscar buzz for Hathaway began before her film was even released. There is enough still around that she should be nominated. The success of Happy-Go-Lucky is mostly due to Hawkins’ performance, so she’s worthy. And Meryl Streep is, well, Meryl Streep. Jolie might be too temping to resist if Pitt gets the Best Actor nod. Hall made a statement with Vicky Christina Barcelona and Williams received the Best Actress award from the Toronto Critics for her role in this film.
Best Supporting Actor:
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Josh Brolin, Milk; Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder; Brad Pitt, Burn After Reading; Michael Sheen, Frost/Nixon, Kevin Bacon, Frost/Nixon
Hard to believe, but it appears that Ledger is almost a lock for a nomination. And if he’s nominated, he’s the favorite to win it all. After Ledger, it’s anybody’s ball game, nomination-wise. Brolin was strong in Milk, as was Hoffman in Doubt. Downey Jr. was nominated for a Golden Globe, but his role in Tropic Thunder might be too controversial for an Oscar nod. Pitt was the best part of Burn After Reading, so he could join Kate Winslet in being doubly nominated this year. Sheen was arguably the co-lead of Frost/Nixon, but that’s never stopped actors from being nominated in the Supporting categories before. Although buzz is strong with his castmate Bacon.
Best Supporting Actress
Kate Winslet, The Reader; Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler; Penelope Cruz, Vicky Christina Barcelona
Amy Adams, Doubt; Viola Davis, Doubt
Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married
Like I said, Winslet’s role in The Reader is a lead role, but Academy rules prohibit any actor from being nominated twice in the same category. So, this role gets pushed for Supporting. Tomei once again proves that her win for My Cousin Vinny wasn’t a fluke. Cruz seems a lock for her showy role in Vicky Christina Barcelona. Adams and Davis were great in two very different roles in Doubt. Logic dictates that one or the other will get nominated, leaving the other one in the lurch, but they both were nominated for Golden Globes. If one of them doesn’t get nominated, it could open a spot for DeWitt, who won a couple critics awards.
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire; Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon; David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Sam Mendes, Revolutionary Road
Gus Van Sant, Milk; Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight; Jonathan Demme, Rachel Getting Married; Stephen Daldry, The Reader
Boyle won the Golden Globe and a number of critics prizes, so he is almost assured a nomination. Leigh was slighted for a Golden Globe and by the Director’s Guild, but has been a popular choice in the past. Howard, Fincher, and Mendes could follow the fate of the films being nominated. Van Sant and Nolan got Director’s Guild nods, with Nolan also winning the Austin Critics award. Demme and Daldry are longshots.
Milk: Frost/ Nixon; Revolutionary Road; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight; Wall-E
Slumdog Millionaire has dominated awards season up to this point, so if it doesn’t get nominated, something is seriously wrong. Milk was ignored by the Golden Globes, but was nominated by the Producer’s Guild and won a few critics awards. That should be enough to get a nod. Frost/Nixon, Revolutionary Road, and Benjamin Button have the Oscar DNA, but are vulnerable. The Dark Knight was nominated by the Producer’s Guild, but its unlikely that a comic book movie will ever be nominated Best Picture. Ditto Wall-E, which will probably be ignored because it has the Best Animated Film category all but locked up.
So, there you have it. Barring any wild card, out of nowhere choices, your nominees should be from these selection listed. Of course, there are always wild card, out of nowhere nominees.