I haven’t updated my predictions for almost a month, but following the Golden Globes and a month’s worth of box-office business there are plenty of changes to be made as we make our way toward the Screen Actors Guild Awards this coming Saturday, January 23 and the announcement of the Oscar nominations almost a month later on Tuesday, February 2nd. Yeah, perhaps that’s the most interesting part of this whole race. Following the SAGs this Saturday, we will be waiting over a month for the Academy to weigh in with its awards. However, on the bright side this gives Academy members more time to see all the potential nominees as nomination ballots are due on Saturday, January 23 and final voting ballots are due on March 2.
But enough of all that, let’s try and sort out those potential Oscar nominees as I have made significant movement on four of my six prediction charts and will be curious to hear your thoughts.
BEST ACTRESS (get the full chart here)
I’ve decided to begin with one of the more interesting races as it appears Carey Mulligan (An Education) and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) are battling for third and fourth place with Meryl Streep (Julie and Julia) and Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) facing off for the top prize. Currently I have Streep in the #1 slot, and the only thing that could possibly make me change my mind would be a Bullock win at the SAGs.
One thing I have to ask, however, is how much does an actor donning an accent for a role help their award chances? Had Streep and Bullock used their normal voices for their roles would they be looked at in the same way? Personally I think an accent changes voters’ perspectives way more than it should and people begin looking more at the mimicry rather than the performance. Both Mulligan and Sidibe gave powerful, emotionally charged performances that didn’t require them to change their voice, but the fact they were offering more of a performance rather than an imitation seems to be a non-factor. I guess my question is when does imitation end and performance begin? Or is there even a difference and the two are one-in-the-same?
EDIT: A couple of commenters have challenged my assertion that Sidibe did not “change her voice” for Precious and in hindsight I think they are absolutely right, she not only changed her voice, but overhauled her entire being to become Precious. Perhaps I just respected it more than what Bullock and Streep were doing and the fact I didn’t necessarily see it as an “imitation”, which is why I didn’t think of it in that way. Either way, I think the question is still valid, when does imitation end and performance begin? Do you think of Sidibe’s performance as imitation in the same way Streep and Bullock were imitating their true life personas?
Now don’t run off to the comments all upset, I think both Streep and Bullock did a fine job. Personally I would hand the award to Sidibe with the likes of Mulligan and probably Zoe Saldana as my runners-up, but that isn’t to say I didn’t find both Streep and Bullock to be very impressive.
BEST ACTOR (get the full chart here)
The Best Actor race has boiled down to three contenders with Jeff Bridges currently in the driver’s seat for his outstanding performance as down-on-his-luck country singer Bad Blake in Crazy Heart. Bridges just won the Golden Globe and should he come out on top at the Screen Actors Guild Awards this weekend there is no doubt in my mind he will take home the Oscar. There is very little doubt in my mind right now he will take home the Oscar, but the likes of George Clooney (Up In the Air) and the most-deserving Colin Firth (A Single Man) still loom and a change in the winds thanks to SAG could throw a real monkey wrench in the works.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS AND ACTOR (get the full charts here: supporting actress | supporting actor)
No sense in doing these two separately as these are the two top line awards that are pretty much all sewn up. Mo’Nique will sweep the major awards following her Globe win on Sunday with a SAG win this Saturday and an Oscar win on March 7. The same goes for Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) and I wonder if there will be anyone in the audience cheering for anyone else.
Woody Harrelson (The Messenger) is coming on strong in this category and I am still holding out faith Christian McKay (Me and Orson Welles) will get a nomination. On the ladies side I would love to see Marion Cotillard (Public Enemies) get a nom and I think Harrelson’s Messenger co-star Samantha Morton is assured a nod. However, we are talking nominations here as the wins are pretty much already in the bag.