|2012's Best Actress winner Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)|
We are in an exciting time for Oscar enthusiasts. We are officially one week away from the announcement of this year's nominees. In order to contribute some thoughts, I will be going down the major categories (Acting, Directing, and Best Picture) and predicting who will be the most likely to get nominated, as well as a few tidbits on why I agree with these decisions. Be warned that every story that I am going to write in relation to predictions will not actually feature any bias towards who should win. However, I will be detailing why I think each should be nominated. Also stay tuned for post-coverage in which I will actually be sharing my thoughts on the nominations and solidify who I believe should win in each category.
We're inching closer to the big announcement on Thursday, and I doubt that anyone reading this will not be curious and excited to see just what waits in stores. I have already shared my picks for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress with some difficulty in the latter. However, we are entering the crowded territory. That's right, the lead acting categories are jam packed with possible nominees, and with exception to a few front runners, there isn't any way to gauge who will get nominated. As usual, I have divided this post into two sections, the definitive Front-Runners and the Possible Upsets.
WHO: Jennifer Lawrence
WHAT: Silver Linings Playbook
WHY: Because of all of the nominees for this otherwise mediocre film, Jennifer Lawrence is the only one who has done anything interesting. Also, with her recent clout skyrocketing thanks to The Hunger Games, this is Lawrence's second time at Best Actress (last time was Winter's Bone) and it looks to be her year. She is an engaging performer and saves this film from being a total waste. However, it doesn't justify Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro's nomination chances being so high.
WHO: Marion Cotillard
WHAT: Rust and Bone
WHY: While the film failed to make the Best Foreign Film category finals, it is probably one of the most gorgeous films of the year. Despite my lack of coverage, I have been enthusiastic about Rust and Bone since first discovering it, and Marion Cotillard is easily my favorite of the possible Best Actress nominees just because of her somber performance. She has won before for La Vie En Rose and I am almost sure that she will get nominated again. Her Golden Globe slot suggests that she is in high contention, despite the film getting robbed of most other Oscar chances.
WHO: Jessica Chastain
WHAT: Zero Dark Thirty
WHY: If Argo isn't the front runner, then Zero Dark Thirty is going to win Best Picture, and that is sight unseen. Word has it that Jessica Chastain's performance is really strong and if the film becomes a runaway success on Oscar Night, then I am almost certain that Chastain will pull an upset, or at very least keep Jennifer Lawrence from ever seeming like the front runner for too long. Of course, Chastain has long been a respected actress and has just needed the right movie to get a nomination. This very well could be it.
WHO: Quvenzhane Wallis
WHAT: Beasts of the Southern Wild
WHY: I acknowledge that this film's traction has died way too much to guarantee Quvenzhane Wallis a nomination, but the Academy has been known to pull a few upsets. Wallis has been praised since the film debuted and I kind of agree. She doesn't stand a chance of winning, but I feel like this will be one of the few surprise nominations, and one of a few for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Her performance may have since become overshadowed by high caliber actresses, but her raw energy is undeniable and may just be the recipe necessary for Oscar bait.
WHO: Keira Knightley
WHAT: Anna Karenina
WHY: Because director Joe Wright lead Keira Knightley to a Best Actress nomination with Pride & Prejudice. Also, with the film being a critical darling, there is a chance that the film's lack of success will not interfere with its Oscar chances. While the film may be overshadowed in majority of categories, I believe that Knightley will pull through despite not landing a Golden Globe nomination or any considerable acclamation before this.
WHO: Emmanuel Riva
WHY: One of the front runners in the Best Foreign Film category is Amour. Of course, the film's success cannot be done without the help of fine performers. Emmanuel Riva may be one of the most heart wrenching, tragic examples of love this year. Also, with the Academy having a small love affair with tragedy, she seems almost sure to get a nomination. I cannot comment on how good or bad she is, but Amour has become a big part of Oscar Buzz in the past month, so I am sure that it will be taking quite a few nominations.
WHO: Naomi Watts
WHAT: The Impossible
WHY: I am honestly surprised by the amount of attention that The Impossible has been getting. I initially conceived it as an emotional cash grab. Cue Naomi Watts' Golden Globe nomination, and we're looking at a different picture. Somehow The Impossible is one of the underdogs of Oscar Buzz this year, and with the Academy's love of tragedy, it is easy to see a story about a hurricane tearing apart a family coming into high consideration in the nominations. However, I am unsure of her chances, as I know little about the film, but apparently it is good.
WHO: Helen Mirren
WHY: With a Golden Globe nomination for the same role, anything is possible for this legendary actress. Also, as proven with My Week with Marilyn, playing a famous celebrity is almost a guarantee nomination. However, Hitchcock has gotten lukewarm reviews and the initial Oscar Buzz around Anthony Hopkins has diminished. While Helen Mirren stands a better chance at getting nominated, the film needs to make a more positive impression on voters than just another pandering Hitchcock biography.
WHO: Mary Elizabeth Winstead
WHY: Of all films that I want to see pull an upset, I want Smashed to be it. I love this film so much, and I feel that its lack of flashiness will keep it from being more than a little indie film. However, Mary Elizabeth Winstead's performance is excellent and it is a shame that it will for the most part go ignored, save for a Spirit Award nomination. Also, the film has almost no Oscar Buzz despite how much I champion this film. Still, I hope that Winstead somehow gets an Oscar nomination in the future if she keeps up work like this. She deserves it.
Is Jennifer Lawrence capable of beating Jessica Chastain? Can Quvenzhane Wallis make it to a nomination? Is Amour going to have a few surprise nominations besides Best Foreign Film? How soon until Mary Elizabeth Winstead gets an Oscar nomination?