Oscar Picks: 24 November 2011

Another month has come and gone, but there are still plenty of variables: How much of an impact will Shame make, given its NC-17 rating? Will Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy be as big of a hit stateside as it was in its native UK? And will Spielberg have two Best Picture contenders or one, or zero (*gasp*)? We’ll have a better grasp on all that next time, when I start updating my picks more often.

The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The Help
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
War Horse

Falling off: J. Edgar
Rising star: Drive
The skinny: Less-than-enthusiastic reviews may have claimed another victim. Clint Eastwood’s seemingly surefire biopic now looks assured of only some acting nominations and possibly makeup (though critics are still split on its effectiveness). But Drive seems to be making a comeback. I’ve been thinking about the voting process, and while it may not be many Academy members’ favorite movie, it’s sure to land on just about everyone’s top 10, and that could be good enough for this year’s magical five percent.

Stephen Daldry, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Michel Haznavicius, The Artist
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Steven Spielberg, War Horse

Falling off: Clint Eastwood
Rising star: Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive
The skinny: Again, lukewarm reviews are killing J. Edgar’s chances. But keep an eye out for Refn, who certainly has plenty of visual style and terrific execution. He won at Cannes, and a nomination here might not be that hard to get.

George Clooney, The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Ryan Gosling, Drive
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Falling off: Michael Shannon
Rising star: Woody Harrelson, Rampart
The skinny: Take Shelter will need some more box office punch to keep it in the voters’ minds. Harrelson, who’s been nominated twice before, is currently playing the qualifying circuit right now, which is the only shot at the tiny, well-received cop drama making an impression.

Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Charlize Theron, Young Adult

Falling off: No one
Rising star: Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
The skinny: So far, reviews have been pretty bleh for the featherweight comedy. But obviously Michelle Williams is great, and coupled with her acclaimed performance in Meek’s Cutoff, she could end up in the final five.

Albert Brooks, Drive
Armie Hammer, J. Edgar
John Hawkes, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Falling off: No one
Rising star: Patton Oswalt, Young Adult
The skinny: Will there be room for two old dudes in this category? For now, and especially considering how well respected they both are, yes. But I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea of the guy from Best Week Ever (and author of Zombie Spaceship Wasteland) getting nominated for an Oscar.

Sandra Bullock, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Judi Dench, J. Edgar
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Falling off: Jessica Chastain
Rising star: Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
The skinny: Judi Dench is the most in danger of losing her spot, which is surprising given how much the Academy loves her. Jessica Chastain is out for now, simply due to overexposure. A nomination for a meatier role in the future is starting to seem more likely. That allows Woodley to step in. She’ll be one of Oscar’s youngest nominees. Also gaining steam is Janet McTeer (a nominee for Tumbleweeds), who may steal Glenn Close’s thunder as a fellow drag king in Albert Nobbs.

The Descendants
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The Ides of March
War Horse

Falling off: No one
Rising star: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The skinny: Dragon Tattoo must get extremely glowing reviews to even hope of slipping in.

The Artist
Midnight in Paris
Young Adult

Falling off: J. Edgar
Rising star: Martha Marcy May Marlene
The skinny: I feel pretty comfortable with this slate, but when Fox Searchlight starts campaigning hardcore for its films (including MMMM), Beginners will start to look vulnerable.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
Arthur Christmas
Puss in Boots

Falling off: Happy Feet Two
Rising star: Wrinkles
The skinny: Aardman Animation has its disciples, and it won for Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit in 2005. But does anyone think Arthur Christmas looks any good? Some critics, who are more susceptible to its Britishness, have claimed so. Happy Feet Two opened to middling reviews and even sadder box office returns—especially given the 3-D surcharges, so it’s out. Wrinkles is the serious contender here. No one seems to know much about it, but it could easily sneak in much like 2009’s The Secret of Kells. As much as I like Puss in Boots, I’d love to see this category filled only with first films–no sequels, no spin-offs.

This entry was posted in Awards, Film, Oscars, Previews. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.