Thursday, January 26, 2012

Always Bet On Streep and Clooney

Every year on the day after the Oscar ceremony, I send out an e-mail to my friends with my year in advance Oscar predictions in the four acting categories. It's definitely crazy to think ahead to the next year when that year's Oscar winners are probably still out partying with their Oscar in their hand. But, there's definitely a science to coming up with it. There are certain people (ahem, Meryl Streep) that are almost guaranteed a nomination no matter what the film. With a record 17 nominations, it's a pretty good guess that she'll be in the mix. And add the fact that she's playing a real person and you can practically send her nomination certificate in the mail already. You have to think about who is having a moment. What actors have been gaining momentum and seem like it's their time. And then there's the legends who have never been nominated or won. I usually get a couple right in each category, so let's see how I did this year:

Best Actor
George Clooney The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio J. Edgar
Ryan Gosling The Ides of March
Viggo Mortensen A Dangerous Method
 Gary Oldman Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

You're In, Oldman!
Who I got right: Clooney and Oldman. 
Clooney is another one like Streep, someone who's respected in Hollywood so it's pretty easy to go with him. And add the fact that he was working in an Alexander Payne film, who's no stranger to Oscar, and it's a safe bet. 
People were actually predicting, while the film was still shooting, that Leo was actually going to win because he's never won before. But, his performance in J. Edgar was weighed down by all that age make-up. And the movie was a snore. Nevertheless, it was looking like DiCaprio was gonna be in for the simple fact that he's DiCaprio. But, Oscar is always full of surprises and his snub was one of them on Tuesday morning. As much as I like being right, I'm glad he didn't make the cut this time. 
Many thought Gosling should have been nominated last year for Blue Valentine. And this year was definitely a big year for him. But, Ides of March just wasn't the film it should have been and Gosling seemed bored as well. He just kinda gave up. He'll be back soon though.
Viggo will get a second nomination one day. And playing Frued in a film by Cronenberg seemed like a good bet. But, the film never really gained any buzz and Viggo was more of a supporting role. 
The overdue Oldman finally received his first Oscar nomination. I was counting on it being his time to be honored. And his nomination just barely made it in. 

Best Actress
Felicity Jones Like Crazy
Rooney Mara The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep The Iron Lady
Charlize Theron Young Adult
Michelle Williams My Week With Marilyn

Don't look so sad. i correctly guessed you would be nominated a year in advance!

Who I got right: Mara, Steep, and Williams. This was my best category this year. I really debated about putting on Glenn Close, but I couldn't decide who to drop. If only I could go back and drop Jones...
Felicity Jones had just won an acting award at Sundance for this movie and Sundance buzz worked in previous years for Carey Mulligan and Jennifer Lawrence (both whom I correctly predicted in their respective years). Unfortunately, Felicity wasn't able to use that momentum to her advantage. And after seeing the film, her performance seems a little slight. I'm surprised she won over Elizabeth Olsen, who came closer to a nom than Felicity.
Poeple love that Lisbeth Salander. Noomi Rapace had Oscar buzz for the Swedish versions of the films, so it seemed natural that Rooney would actually get a nom for David Fincher's English language adaption. Her nom was another surprise on Tuesday morning (sorry, Tilda), but you should never underestimate The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo phenomenon. 
Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher. A cloistered monk could have guessed this nomination. 
Charlize! It should have happened. Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody were both nominated for their last collaboration and Charlize is a two-time nominee (and winner). Too bad people never really responded to the film. Charlize really did deserve this nom. I'm just glad she's working again.
This was another no brainer. Michelle Williams has two previous nominations and playing a real person, especially a well-known one like Marilyn Monroe, is classic Oscar bait. 

Supporting Categories after the break...

Best Supporting Actor
Michael Fassbender A Dangerous Method
Armie Hammer J. Edgar
Garrett Hedlund On the Road
Brad Pitt Tree of Life
Christopher Plummer Beginners

Who I got right: Plummer. Although, Brad Pitt was nominated this Lead...and for Moneyball. So, does that count?
Fassbender is one of those actors that's having a moment and has arrived as an actor. I felt that this year would have been his year for a nomination. I wasn't sure who's role was bigger. I figured Viggo would be campaigned in Lead and Fassy in Supporting, so both would get nominated. But, all the buzz was on his lead performance in Shame . And it looked like he was on his way to his first nomination...and then it didn't happen. Was the NC-17 rating to blame? He'll be getting a nom in the upcoming years. 
Thanks to The Social Network, Armie Hammer became a name to watch. Teaming up with DiCaprio, director Clint Eastwood, and Oscar winning screenwriter, Dustin Lance Black, in one of those biopics made to win Oscars, seemed like he was on his way to a nomination. And he was playing gay- how edgy! Hammer, in the scenes where he isn't hidden in old age latex, is the best part of the film. But, being the best in show in an awful movie isn't gonna cut it.
What even happened to the release of On the Road? Did I imagine it? I know people aren't expecting much from Garrett Hedlund. But he's never actually been asked to act before and the character of Dean is one of those roles that was made to win awards- regardless of who plays it. Perhaps if it ever comes out, Hedlund could be in the running again. It's looking unlikely though.
I'm a little surprised that Pitt's work in The Tree of Life didn't gain more traction. I thought he was great in the film, but the movie was a little too cerebral for the casual moviegoer. And why nominate him for playing a mean dad in a movie that also has dinosaurs when you can nominate him for looking handsome in a movie about America's favorite past time! 
Christopher Plummer is one of those actors who is respected and has never won. He only got his first nom a couple years ago for playing Tolstoy in The Last Station, but that movie wasn't gonna win anyone any awards. Not to say he isn't good in Beginners, but this nomination (and predicted win) is really a lifetime achievement award.

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis The Help
Judi Dench J. Edgar
Keira Knightley A Dangerous Method
Vanessa Redgrave Coriolanus
Naomi Watts J. Edgar

Who I got right: Um, no one. Viola Davis did get nominated for The Help, but in Lead. That's gotta count for a half point. I could not come up with anyone for this category. All of the actresses were previous nominees. Rarely is an acting category made up entirely of previous nominees. Oscar likes it's newbies. And it didn't happen this year.
Before The Help came out, no one was really sure who would go in what category. Emma Stone was the lead, but many were predicting Viola in supporting. Either way, she was getting nominated. I just picked the wrong category.
Man, I really overestimated the awards possibilities of J. Edgar. It should be included on that blog This Had Oscar Buzz. Both Judi and Naomi are given thankless roles in this movie. Judi fares a little better (probably because she's Judi Dench), but neither of them ever had a chance.
I keep predicting that Keira Knightley will get a second nomination. It'll happen one day. It just didn't happen this year. Her performance here got mixed reviews. Some thought she went all out and brought an intensity to the role that surprised, but some just saw it as over-the-top scenery chewing. Also, they decided to campaign in Lead. She never stood a chance.
When I was putting this list together, Coriolanus had just shown at the Berlin Film Festival and Guy Lodge over at In Contention predicted that Vanessa Redgrave would get an Oscar nomination for it. That was good enough reason for me. After all, Redgrave is a living legend who still does great work. Honoring her with another nomination just seems right. But all the buzz never took off and the nomination just didn't happen. 

On February 27th, come back to see my predictions for next year! Hopefully I can get at least one right in each category...

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