Oscar Picks: 13 Dec 2010

It’s really heating up now. The critics’ awards are coming in by the droves, and a lot of love is being thrown toward The Social Network and for good reason. Black Swan opened to mostly glowing reviews, but is it going to be enough for a Best Picture nomination?

127 Hours
The Fighter
The Kids are All Right
The King’s Speech
Shutter Island
The Social Network
The Town
Toy Story 3
True Grit

Falling off: How to Train Your Dragon

The skinny: As critically acclaimed and wonderful as How to Train Your Dragon was, I just don’t see the Academy nominating not one but two animated features for its top prize, even if it’s deserving. In every possible way, Toy Story 3 is the superior film, but I still think both deserve some love outside their other categories. Shutter Island is picking up steam, despite dividing critics upon its initial release. Which brings us to Black Swan. It got some pretty nice reviews, but few raves. Also, both its disciples and detractors seem to agree on one word to describe it, at least in part. That word is “campy,” which can win over the Hollywood Foreign Press, but not the Academy. We’ll see how its campaign helps it in the weeks to come.

Ben Affleck, The Town
Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
David Fincher, The Social Network
Christopher Nolan, Inception
David O. Russell, The Fighter

Falling off: Tom Hooper

The skinny: Maybe it’s just me who is put off by the likely stuffiness of The King’s Speech, but I think the Academy may go with someone else for that fifth slot. If it does, it’ll either be the Coens or, as I’m predicting, Ben Affleck. I know you’re shocked. But The Town has been mounting a major campaign push, and according to several insiders, it’s a big a hit with Oscar voters. That could be enough to give a nomination to the Comeback Kid.

Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Robert Duvall, Get Low
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours

Falling off: Mark Wahlberg

The skinny: The Fighter just opened in limited release, so it’s got plenty of time to stake its claim. The Social Network on the other hand has been out since October and is racking up award after award, which only helps a deserving Jesse Eisenberg score a nomination in a tremendously crowded field. The one who seems to be in the most trouble is Robert Duvall, though I’m sure some well-timed screeners will rectify that. There’s no reason a great performance from a respected performer and Oscar winner should get a snub.

Annette Bening, The Kids are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Julianne Moore, The Kids are All Right
Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Falling off: No one

The skinny: This is pretty much a done deal. The only question mark is if both leading ladies from The Kids are All Right make it in here. If not, we’ve got two scenarios: Moore gets relegated to supporting or gets snubbed. It would be a shame to see her not get nominated since she’s 0-4 at the Big Show. In that case, expect “the Girl” from all those movies (Noomi Rapace) or critics’ darling Lesley Manville fill her slot.

Christian Bale, The Fighter
Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids are All Right
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

Falling off: No one

The skinny: It’s a little terrifying to know that Bale’s the only lock. All the others seem likely, but there’s really no telling. Garfield seems fairly safe, but he’ll face competition from co-star Justin Timberlake. I doubt both will get nominations, but if it’s one or other, it’s Garfield in a walk.

Amy Adams, The Fighter
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
Dianne Wiest, Rabbit Hole

Falling off: No one

The skinny: Mila Kunis got a Broadcast Film Critics’ nomination but she faces an uphill battle. 1. She’s young but not a kid. 2. She has a background in very mainstream fare (including long stints on TV shows like That ’70s Show and Family Guy). 3. It’s not quite exactly a jaw-dropping performance. (I haven’t seen it. I’m only speculating here.) But then again, supporting roles don’t really require something like that. Stealing a few scenes, or at least holding their own against the major star might be enough.

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