Oscar Predictions: Any Surprise Predictions Before Tomorrow’s Nominations?

It’s hard to believe the Oscar nominations are finally upon us, but what’s even harder to believe is we are still over a month away from the actual award show. I don’t know about you, but having the Oscar awards a month and a half after the final major awards show (SAG Awards on January 23) seems a bit excessive — almost making them obsolete in their tardiness — but that’s the way it goes. I know I’m certainly still paying attention.

So, before tomorrow’s nominations I decided to give my predictions one last look-see, and while my over the bubble line predictions didn’t change, this was more about jockeying for position. On top of having what I believe to be the correct nominations above the bubble line, I also want to be sure to have the most likely of possible replacement nominees as close to that line as I can get them.

I’m going to start with the category that’s been giving me fits, the Best Picture category and its ten nominations have started bothering more and more with every other article I read and conversation I have regarding the final three to four slots. I think most of us will agree The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Avatar, Precious, Up in the Air and An Education will be nominated, and if you ask me I think Clint Eastwood’s Invictus is also a lock despite the minor grumblings to the contrary. This leaves me with three spots to fill and a bunch of movies to consider. Let’s have a look starting with the three I currently have occupying those final three slots:

  • The Messenger: I believe this is my darkest horse, but it also feels like the most “Oscary” film in my final three as it is more serious fare with an emphasis on acting and solid filmmaking. However, the one thing this one has working against it is whether or not Academy members made an effort to even see it.
  • 500 Days of Summer: This is my populist pick. It’s a feel good movie and it’s a movie many people are remembering from 2009. There are a couple of other populist films that could take this slot, I’m going with the one with the best collection of acting, filmmaking, script, directing, etc.
  • Up: Pixar gets its nomination. I feel confident about this one, but have it placed at #10 because I think of the ten I have on my list it is the least likely to actually win.

  • A Serious Man: Here is your critical pick. If online critics listed the Best Picture nominees this would be in there. However, they don’t, but are Academy members listening and reading online opinion? If A Serious Man gets a nomination next year’s Oscar race will rely HEAVILY on online opinion.
  • District 9: One of three remaining populist films I think has a chance. It’s genre trappings are what have me doubting its chances to make the top ten, especially with Avatar already filling the sci-fi/alien quota.
  • Star Trek: Ditto
  • Crazy Heart: Great acting and great music, otherwise this one would have been forgotten due to its cliche script. That’s why Crazy Heart will win Best Actor and Song, but won’t be nominated for Picture.
  • A Single Man: This one should be in there. If I had a say this would replace The Messenger. But I’m not making the list… or am I? Scary thought.
  • Julie and Julia: This one is buzzy, but good Lord, if it gets a nomination it is one of two films that will have me looking at this ten nominees thing as a complete sham (I’ll mention the other film in a second). Julie and Julia was NOT a good movie, it had two EXCELLENT performances (Tucci and Streep), but as a movie it is a bust.
  • Nine: I’ll tell you one thing, I gave Nine a B- and it has a 37% Rotten Tomatoes and a 49 at MetaCritic, but I wouldn’t be as upset if this film was nominated over the likes of Julie and Julia and the one I’m about to mention next…

One film I refuse to add to my Best Picture charts or mention by name in the above contenders is The Blind Side. This isn’t because I think it is bad film. In fact, quite the contrary, I quite enjoyed it, but as a Best Picture contender you really have to be kidding me. I don’t care if it’s nearing $250 million at the box-office. I don’t care if it has Sandra Bullock’s one performance out

of three that isn’t stomach-churning. The fact a film surprisingly rises above its genre’s average trappings doesn’t mean it’s worthy of “best of the year” recognition. It means you should make sure to give it a watch, at least on DVD if nothing else.

[poll id = “93”]

However, I mention The Blind Side because I’m not a fool. I know it stands a chance, I just simply choose to not recognize that chance outside of a few comments here. I would, though, like to get your thoughts on that chance by asking you in the poll to the right. Do you think The Blind Side will be nominated? I’m giving you a simple “yes” or “no”. Don’t be shy, it’s okay, voting is completely anonymous.

Moving on…

The Best Actor race appears to be sewn up as far as who is going to win, but I’m not so sure about that final slot. Yup, I’m saying Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) is a lock, but I’m a little wary about Morgan Freeman (Invictus). I think Matt Damon is going to get at least one nomination this year, but will it be for Invictus or The Informant!? Right now I’m counting on Invictus, but could see him bumping out his Invictus co-star here just as I could see Viggo Mortensen (The Road) sliding into that fifth slot. How about you, you see anyone that could slide in and surprise us in the Best Actor slot?

Best Actress, too, seems to be all figured out as far as the nominations go and it appears many believe Bullock is primed to be the winner, while Sony Classics is counting on Streep and Bullock splitting the popular vote making room for Carey Mulligan (An Education) to sweep in and take it all. Crazier things have happened. However, I’m looking at that fifth slot I currently have occupied by the undeserving Helen Mirren (The Last Station) — it’s not a lead performance for starters, and it’s rather generic beyond that — and wondering if one of many actresses couldn’t slide in and take that fifth and final spot. Abbie Cornish? Penelope Cruz? Saoirse Ronan? Emily Blunt?

Best Supporting Actor is a category I’m anxiously awaiting to hear the nominations on as I think it is highly volatile. I do believe Christian McKay (Me and Orson Welles) will actually earn a nomination and I’m upset Stanley Tucci will earn one for The Lovely Bones as opposed to Julie and Julia, but whatever. However, here we have Matt Damon again, and will he be able to hold off the likes of Christopher Plummer, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina and Anthony Mackie?

I didn’t change a thing in my Best Supporting Actress or Best Director predictions. Wins to Mo’Nique and Kathryn Bigelow. The only nomination out of the combined ten in those categories I’m not entirely sure of is Clint Eastwood (Invictus) as the fifth and final director to be nominated. I have a feeling that final slot will go to Lee Daniels (Precious), but I’m sticking with my gut on this one.

So that about does it. Oscar nominations take place at 5:30 AM (PST) tomorrow morning and right now I’m not sure if I will be getting any sleep whatsoever as I will be here to bring you the nominations followed by reactionary commentary and be looking to hear your thoughts. However, for now, weigh in with your predictions and any surprises you see down the line in the comments below.

You can check out my complete prediction charts by visiting The Contenders or clicking on any one of the following links to get started. Each opens in a new window so just close the window to return to this post.

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