Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Everyone's an Awards Body

...is everyone done nominating yet?

The past three days or so have been an absolute whirlwind of nominations and awards from critics groups, chiefly the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. This morning, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced their nominations for the primary Oscar forerunner, the Golden Globes. While the dust settles around all these nominations, it's time to update the predictions.

(Adapting a color scheme idea from Nathaniel Rogers over at The Film Experience, green is a sure-thing nomination, blue is a strong possibility but not locked just yet, and red indicates that the potential nominee's position in the category is incredibly shaky.)

Best Adapted Screenplay
(1) The Social Network
(2) Toy Story 3
(3) Winter's Bone
(4) Rabbit Hole
(5) 127 Hours

This is not the last place you'll see my faith in True Grit disappearing. The critical reaction to the film has been solid if not wonderful, but that blanking at the Golden Globes was devastating, if not unexpected (a Western is a little too American for this foreign voting body). The Coens have been on something of a streak lately, and I think they might've been a bit too cocky with Grit. It'll still probably get Picture and Supporting Actress nods, but Actor and Director might be a little further out of reach. And Adapted Screenplay might be impossible--depends on how Rabbit Hole is received. The 127 Hours screenplay seems to be, along with Franco's performance, the only thing consistently attracting attention from awards bodies (the Picture and Director snubs from the Globes really stings). However, never forget that in a category so completely dominated by one choice, some strange things can happen. (How to Train Your Dragon's screenplay, maybe?)

Best Original Screenplay
(1) The Kids Are All Right
(2) The King's Speech
(3) Inception
(4) Black Swan
(5) The Fighter

Nothing's really changed here since I last posted these predictions, just a slot swap here and there, but I do believe that the Black Swan screenplay is showing some major strength I certainly didn't know was possible. Not only that, but The Kids are All Right's screenplay is the only one to defeat Aaron Sorkin's (superior) screenplay for The Social Network in any early contest. I'd give it best odds to get nominated, despite my personal apathy towards the script and the movie on the whole.

Best Supporting Actor
(1) Christian Bale, The Fighter
(2) Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech
(3) Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
(4) Jeremy Renner, The Town
(5) Mark Ruffalo, The Kids are All Right

This category just gets more and more confusing. There just isn't enough consistency in the preliminary awards to have a solid five yet. I will say that Bale and Rush are locked, with Garfield approaching lock as well. Ruffalo is being recognized here and there, but the snub from the Globes stings and he's not really making much of an overall impact. I see him getting snubbed if another serious challenger emerges. (Who that challenger is, I have no idea.) I'm betting on Renner to get a "we awarded you last year, we're going to keep loving you" nod, but I'm certainly not confident about it. Maybe the last two spots will go to The Social Network's Justin Timberlake and Armie Hammer in a major bit of TSN love. I'm not sure. I have no idea what to think here.

Best Supporting Actress
(1) Melissa Leo, The Fighter
(2) Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
(3) Helena Bonham-Carter, The King's Speech
(4) Mila Kunis, Black Swan
(5) Hailee Stanfield, True Grit

Weaver and Leo keep racking up the hardware, while Dianne Wiest hasn't managed to show up much (the Globes nod really hurts), so I'm temporarily giving her spot to Kunis for Black Swan. Others don't seem to think she's got a chance but she's had just enough early recognition for a nomination to be entirely plausible, so she gets the spot. Stanfield's positioning worries me due to the overall lack of True Grit love, but she's probably the likeliest nominee of all (outside of Best Picture). And Bonham-Carter was supposedly the "lock" here, but she hasn't managed much early recognition at all--is she not as secure as we expected?

Best Actress
(1) Natalie Portman, Black Swan
(2) Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
(3) Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
(4) Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
(5) Lesley Manville, Another Year

What the hell is going on with Manville? It seems like one day, she wins an award, the next she's not even nominated! She missed the Globe, for crying out loud! They love Mike Leigh's starring actresses! I'm at a loss. I think she might be overtaken by Frankie and Alice's Halle Berry or, more likely, Blue Valentine's Michelle Williams. But we'll see. She's on the list...for now.

Best Actor
(1) Colin Firth, The King's Speech
(2) Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
(3) James Franco, 127 Hours
(4) Jeff Bridges, True Grit
(5) Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine

I took off Robert Duvall because the Globes confirmed what I've thought all along: no one is going to remember Get Low. It just won't happen. Firth, Franco and Eisenberg all appear to be locked, but it's fascinating how each one is picking up plenty of hardware. Are we not looking at a slam dunk for Firth anymore? Bridges is still here, but not by much--Gosling would beat him in any contest if it came down to "win" potential, but Bridges is more nominatable.

Best Director
(1) David Fincher, The Social Network
(2) Christopher Nolan, Inception
(3) Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
(4) Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
(5) David O. Russell, The Fighter

I'm glad it's looking like my Aronofsky call is paying off. The man is such a visionary that he absolutely deserves the nomination. O. Russell is temperamental but the response to his film has been pretty overwhelming, so he looks like a better bet than the Globes-ignored Danny Boyle, especially with 127 Hours on the wane.

Best Picture
(1) The Social Network
(2) The King's Speech
(3) Inception
(4) The Fighter
(5) Black Swan
(6) Toy Story 3
(7) True Grit
(8) The Town
(9) Winter's Bone
(10) 127 Hours

The Kids are All Right is showing just as much weakness as I was expecting--New York liked it, but not much else (the BFCA borderline hated it). But it's difficult not to put it on the list when 127 Hours is showing such weakness. I'm not confident in True Grit, The Town or Winter's Bone, but I think they're far more likely to make it than the former frontrunners are. And this has truly turned into last year, with the Tier 1 and Tier 2 nominees distinctly separated. Just like the true Best Picture field last year was The Hurt Locker, Avatar, Up in the Air, Precious and Inglourious Basterds, this year it is The Social Network, The King's Speech, Inception, The Fighter and Black Swan. Two years in a row, the top tier is pretty damn phenomenal.

Well, what do you guys think? Any mistakes I'm making? Underestimating The Kids are All Right or Get Low? Putting too much faith in Black Swan or The Town? Any other oversights? Leave them in the comments!

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