Oscar Nominations: Who Will Make The Cut?

OscarStatuesIt’s that time of year again. Thursday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the nominees for the 85th Annual Academy Awards.

Every year there are snubs and surprises, thrills and controversies. There is no way of knowing who will be nominated, especially in a year when the Best Picture nominees could be 5 films, or ten films, or any number in between.  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, in the most non-committal way possible, 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.

Best Actor:

lincoln-220Almost Certain:

Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln; Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables

Definite Maybe:

Joaquin Phoenix, The Master; Denzel Washington, Flight

Outside Shot:

John Hawkes, The Sessions; Richard Gere, Arbitrage; Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook; Bill Murray, Hyde Park on the Hudson; Ben Affleck, Argo; Ewan McGregor, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen or The Impossible; Jamie Foxx, Django Unchained

This might be sacrilege, but I don’t like Daniel Day-Lewis as an actor. I prefer actors who you say how good a job they did after the film is over, than ones that force you to say that while the film is going on. With Day-Lewis, you get the feeling its more about the process with him that creating characters. I, of course, am in the minority, and he should get a nomination, if not win it all. Personally, I’m rooting for Hugh Jackman, who should definitely get a nomination, if only so the ads for The Wolverine can say “Starring Academy Award-Winner Hugh Jackman.”

Phoenix and Washington both did a great job in what could be considered underwhelming films. Both should be nominated, by that fact could throw them out of the mix. Phoenix is especially in danger is older Hollywood still hold his “wacky performance artist” phase of of a couple years ago against him.

The other spot ( or two, if Phoenix and/or Washington falter) should go to either Hawkes (who has the “playing a man overcoming adversity” card for his role as a polio victim seeking to lose his virginity or Gere (who has the “older actor with a lot of quality work behind him yet never was nominated for the Oscar” card). The rest of the pack are long shots at best.

Best Actress

amour-emmanuelle-rivaAlmost Certain:

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty Emmanuelle Riva, Amour; Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Definite Maybe:

Jennifer Lawrence , Silver Linings Playbook; Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Outside Shot:

Maggie Smith, Quartet; Judi Dench, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea; Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone; Meryl Streep, Hope Springs

Some might say Riva and Wallis are long shots to get nominated. I say they have not only a great chance of being nominated, but also one of them could very well take home the award (although I think Chastain is the favorite)

On the other hand, a lot of people think that Lawrence will win it all, and it think there is a slight, very slight chance she will not even get nominated. I think Watts’ harrowing role is almost certain to get nominated, although it might be too grim for some voters tastes.

That being said, I think the five ladies above will all be nominated. If there a shocking omission among those candidates, I believe Maggie Smith is the long shot with the best shot.

Best Supporting Actor:

argo-alan-arkin-300Almost Certain:

Alan Arkin, Argo; Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master; Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Definite Maybe:

Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Outside Shot:

John Goodman, Flight or Argo; Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained; Robert DeNiro, Silver Linings Playbook; Javier Bardem, Skyfall; Samuel L. Jackson, Django Unchained; Mark Ruffalo; The Avengers

I can’t begin to tell you how much I wanted to add a middle name to Alan Arkin, just so he fits in better. A lot of people think him to be a long shot  but I think he’ll definitely be nominated. May not win it, but should be nominated. Hoffman and Jones should be in line to win the statute, so will be nominated.

After that, the only quasi-sure thing is Waltz getting a nomination. I am rooting for John Goodman to get a nod because, damn it, he deserves it. But likely it will be DeNiro getting the nomination. I threw Ruffalo in there as a wishful thinking choice, but I think that he did a great job and, in a perfect world, he would be nominated.

Best Supporting Actress

Anne-hathawayAlmost Certain:

Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables or The Dark Knight Rises

Definite Maybe:

Sally Field, Lincoln; Helen Hunt, The Sessions

Outside Shot:

Judi Dench, Skyfall; Amy Adams, The Master; Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy; Samantha Barks, Les Miserables, Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; Ann Dowd, Compliance

Hathaway is probably going to win her first Oscar two years after hosting the ceremony. I don’t think that has ever happened.

Of course, it’s not a lead pipe cinch, because Sally Field will be nominated, and, well, the Academy likes her. They really like her. Helen Hunt should add to her list of nominations this year with another one here.

After that, pick ’em. Watch out for Samantha Barks. She’s the real wild card here. I kinda hope that Dench and Smith get nominated both here and for Best Actress. That would make for a fun night.

Best Director:

ben affleck set 151111Almost Certain:

Ben Affleck, Argo; Ang Lee, Life of Pi; Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty

Definite Maybe:

Steven Spielberg, Lincoln;  Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

Outside Shot:

Tom Hooper, Les Miserables; Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises; Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom; David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook; Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master; Joss Whedon, The Avengers

I can’t imagine any way that Affleck, Lee and Bigelow will not be nominated. They helmed three of the most talked about films of the year.

After that, it’s likely that Spielberg and Tarantino will fill out the ballot, but I don’t have them as being a lock. As a matter of fact, I think one of them will have to make way for Tom Hooper, because I cannot see him being shut out of this process by these voters.

And I added Whedon as a purely selfish choice. I think he’s deserving. The Academy, snobs that they are, probably don’t. A screenplay nod might be too much to ask for but more likely.

Best Picture:

Almost Certain:

Argo, Life of Pi, Les Miserables, Zero Dark Thirty

Definite Maybe:

Lincoln; Django Unchained

Outside Chance:

Silver Linings Playbook; Amour; Moonrise Kingdom; The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; The Dark Knight Rises; The Avengers; Brave; The Sessions;Beasts of the Southern Wild; The Master; Skyfall  or just about any other film out there that has a minuscule amount of buzz.

One thing I am almost sure of is that this year, we will definitely have more than five nominees. I think we have a good chance of having ten. There are a lot of Oscar caliber films in 2012, and this is the type of year the expanded nominee list was made for.

So, what do you think? Am I on to something, or totally wrong? I guess we’ll find out Thursday.

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About William Gatevackes 1945 Articles
William is cursed with the shared love of comic books and of films. Luckily, this is a great time for him to be alive. His writing has been featured on Broken Frontier.com, PopMatters.com and in Comics Foundry magazine.
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William Gatevackes
January 8, 2013 9:00 am

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