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For Your Consideration: Early 2012 Oscar Predictions

For Your Consideration: Early 2012 Oscar Predictions

With the Oscars now a three day-old memory, the time has come for the final edition of this column. I can’t say I’m particularly saddened. From the Toronto International Film Festival’s unofficial awards season kick-off in September to last weekend’s mediocre ceremony, it’s been six long months of speculation and anticipation, and I’m ready to move on (as I’m sure many of you are as well). While I’m sure I could rant on more about the ceremony (I already did here), and the predictability of nearly every major winner (though the tech categories screwed over my prognosticatory bragging rights with a few surprises), is there really any point anymore? The moment “The King’s Speech” solidified its status as this year’s surefire choice for best picture of the year, my awards season was over.

There is one final column before letting awards talk rest in peace until September. It’s been an annual tradition for me to take an ignorant stab at the following year well before there’s any substantial evidence in its regard (Sundance aside, that is.. at this point last year we did already know where “The Kids Are All Right” and “Winter’s Bone” were heading, though this year’s crop is much less promising). Surprisingly, it’s not always a total crap shoot. While last year I might have been significantly off the mark with “Love & Other Drugs,” “Miral,” “Somewhere” and “Hereafter” making the best picture lineup, I did manage to properly predict 4 of the 10 nominations (6 if you count the alternates). More over, I managed to get 4 of the 5 best actress nominees, missing only Jennifer Lawrence (despite, oddly enough, having seen “Winter’s Bone” at that point). So before this column lies dormant until the fall… let’s give it a shot, keeping in mind that this is more or less a fun little game and not one that I would take too seriously.

There’s certainly plenty to choose from, as 2011 looks to be a diverse and potentially quite fulfilling year for cinema.

A scene from “We Need To Talk About Kevin.”

We’ve got some of the greatest working filmmakers out there all giving us new projects, some of them perhaps the most ambitious of their careers. There’s Martin Scorsese’s extremely expensive 3-D adaptation of family friendly “Hugo Cabret;” Steven Spielberg’s double-whammy of “War Horse” and “The Adventures of Tin-Tin,” the former the most likely to give him his eighth career best picture nomination; David Cronenberg’s Carl Jung-Sigmund Freud biopic “A Dangerous Method,” starring a dreamy duo in Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender; Terrence Malick’s ridiculously anticipated “The Tree of Life,” which was actually predicted last year; and “Life” star Brad Pitt’s other big 2012 play for Oscar, Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball.”

There’s also Alexander Payne’s long-awaited follow-up to “Sideways,” George Clooney starrer “The Descendents”; Clooney’s own directorial effort, “The Ides of March,” a juicy sounding political drama starring Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Marisa Tomei; Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar Hoover biopic, starring Leonardo diCaprio; Steven Soderbergh’s intensely all-star thriller “Contagion,” with a cast that includes 7 Oscar nominees and 4 winners; David Fincher’s adaptation of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”; Lynne Ramsay’s adaptation of the acclaimed novel “We Need To Talk About Kevin,” starring Tilda Swinton; Jason Reitman re-teaming with Diablo Cody for “Young Adult'” and three-time best director nominee (for just as many projects) Stephen Daldry giving us “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” starring Oscar favorites Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock.

And that’s honestly just scratching the surface. With the expanded ten nominees, it’s certain less expected films (or films we haven’t even heard of yet) could make the cut. And I mean, who knows, maybe Jodie Foster’s Mel Gibson dramedy “The Beaver” will go over in a way opposite to that which many expect. At this point, we kind of know nothing. So with that in mind, I present my major category 2012 Oscar predictions, one year in advance:

Best Picture:
A Dangerous Method
The Descendents
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Hugo Cabret
The Ides of March
J. Edgar
The Tree of Life
War Horse
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Young Adult

(Alternates: Contagion; We Bought a Zoo; Moneyball; The Help; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy)

-For predictions in the rest of the main categories, continue to the next page-

Best Director:
George Clooney, The Ides of March
David Cronenberg, A Dangerous Method
Stephen Daldry, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Steven Spielberg, War Horse

(Alternates: Martin Scorsese, Hugo Cabret; Alexander Payne, The Descendents; Clint Eastwood, J. Edgar; Lynne Ramsay, We Need To Talk About Kevin)

Best Actor:
Leonardo diCaprio, J. Edgar
Michael Fassender, A Dangerous Method
Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March
Tom Hanks, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Brad Pitt, The Tree of Life (or Moneyball)

(Alternates: George Clooney, The Descendents; Gary Oldman, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Antonio Banderas, The Skin That I Inhabit; Michael Shannon, Take Shelter; )

Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady.”

Best Actress:
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn (or Take This Waltz)

(Alternates: Sandra Bullock, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; Anne Hathaway, One Day; Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene; Emma Stone, The Help)

Best Supporting Actor:
Jim Broadbent, The Iron Lady
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Ides of March (or Moneyball)
Viggo Mortenson, A Dangerous Method
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
John C. Reilly, We Need To Talk About Kevin

(Alternates: Ben Kingsley, Hugo Cabret; Matt Damon, Contagion; Sean Penn, The Tree of Life; Armie Hammer, J. Edgar)

Best Supporting Actress:
Jessica Chastain, The Tree of Life (or The Help, or Take Shelter)
Viola Davis, The Help (or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
Judi Dench, My Week With Marilyn
Keira Knightley, A Dangerous Method
Naomi Watts, J. Edgar

(Alternates: Marisa Tomei, The Ides of March; Marion Cotillard, Midnight in Paris; Octavia Spencer, The Help; Shailene Woodley, The Descendants)

Best Original Screenplay:
J. Edgar
Take This Waltz
The Tree of Life
Young Adult

(Alternates: Beginners; Martha Marcy May Marlene; Butter; Midnight in Paris)

Best Adapted Screenplay:
A Dangerous Method
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The Ides of March
War Horse
We Need To Talk About Kevin

(Alternates: The Descendents; Hugo Cabret; The Help; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy)

Peter Knegt is indieWIRE’s Associate Editor. Follow him on Twitter and on his blog.

Previous editions of this column:
For Your Consideration: Final Oscar Winner Predictions, Part III
For Your Consideration: Final Oscar Winner Predictions, Part II
For Your Consideration: Final Oscar Winner Predictions, Part I
For Your Consideration: Sundance and Next Year’s Oscars
For Your Consideration: Final 2011 Oscar Nomination Predictions
For Your Consideration: Guessing The Golden Globes
For Your Consideration: If I Had An Oscar Ballot…
For Your Consideration: 60 Women That Defined “The Year of the Actress”
For Your Consideration: A Mid-December Stab at Oscar Predictions
For Your Consideration: A Guide To The Oscar Precursors
For Your Consideration: The 10 Biggest Surprises of the Spirit Award Nominations
For Your Consideration: The 10 Worst Original Song Oscar Snubs of the Past 10 Years
For Your Consideration: A Mid-November Stab at Oscar Predictions
For Your Consideration: Gauging a Crowded and Female-Friendly Spirit Award Field
For Your Consideration: Could a Documentary Be Nominated For Best Picture?
For Your Consideration: Assessing Those Gotham Award Nominations
For Your Consideration: 10 Underdog Actors
For Your Consideration: 10 Underdog Actresses
For Your Consideration: Save For “Love” Snub, Foreign Language Submissions Uncontroversial
For Your Consideration: Post-Toronto Oscar Predictions
For Your Consideration: Updating Oscar Contenders In The Eye of The Storm
For Your Consideration: 10 Things The Fall Fests Should Say About Awards Season
For Your Consideration: Assessing Oscar In The Calm Before The Storm

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i also feel like this list has changed since last week. Woody Allen was on here. Young Adult Best Picture?! This is a crazy list right here.


michelle williams doesnt really deserve an oscar or really a nomination for that movie.


did anyone ever got a chance to see a film called Hitle's Grave?
i did, and i also saw all the major 20 contenders with big financial back ups that make them repeatedly show all over the magazines and………………
hey, just check this unbelievable movie and you would agree
best film
best directing for Shokof
best original script
no offend all the rest are just business as usual
this one freaks you out from intellect to intelligence to an amazing fresh idea that dries you numb to the last second
great filming achievement


Unfortunately, I don't get out to the movies like I used to; went today to see"Hugo", and would be surprised if it didn't win the Oscar: a movie about the early days of film, and the importance of our appreciation of/preservation of said films? The Academy will eat it up.

Lack of Screen Presence

Michelle Williams would not be considered for a nomination if it were not for Eddie
Redmayne. He is the attractive actor that gives Michelle some attention. Just like Heath Ledger
did for her in Brokeback Mountain. She can't carry a movie without an appealing actor as her
love interest. So why does she receive accolades that should go to Eddie Redmayne.


many of these are way off the mark. for the record viola davis can't be in the supporting actress category. she's the main actor. from that movie it will definitely be ocatvia spencer. viola will get a best actress nod. i also think kristin wig has a good shot at a nod.


how is woody allen not on here for midnight in paris? directiong and writing

Stolen Accolades

Michelle Williams CHEATED HER WAY TO FAME acquired through HEATH LEDGER.

Meaningless Nomination

Please Anne Hathaway will NEVER become a Julia Roberts. She is best at shedding her clothing
for a sex scene. There is no heartfelt emotion with her acting. She has very limited acting skill
considering the roles she has already received and couldn't do much with them.
So why nominate her for anything?


The best perdition I have ever seen. I sure hope The Help gets nominated for best film and wins. If not The Help then I'll go with The Tree of Life. I actually stayed awake for it.


TOM COURTENAY “Quartet” absolutely the winner;
NICK NOLTE “The warriors”

Albert Finney “Quartet”
RYAN GOSLING “The Ides of March”
SEAN PENN “This must be the place”
GARY OLDMAN “Tinkor, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
THE WINNER Albert Finney

Peter Knegt

PLEASE NOTE: These predictions were made in March and have not been updated. Current predictions can be found here:


These are all amazing super-eary predictions and I agree with them all, but I’m just curious, I feel that Super 8 could get something, it was actually a great film, for the most part! What do you think?


Haha you give The Tree of life way too much credit. I’ll bet it gets nothing.


I really hope Leonardo DiCaprio finally gets the credit he’s do! Lets be honest he should have taken home the Oscar for The Aviator. Yes Jamie Foxx was good but Leonardo was great. Can’t wait to see J Edgar


I’m shocked nobody has talked about “Harry Potter”. It’s been critically acclaimed to be the overall best film of the year with the highest reviews. It will be a massive upset if it isn’t nominated for Best Picture, since there are ten nominations, and it’s without question one of the best movies of the year (not being a suckup). Sometimes the Academy, however very rare, gives Oscars and recognition to these big/epic films such as “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.” The Academy hasn’t really recognized the big action or epic films since “The Lord of the Rings” and “Gladiator.” I’m not saying it will win, but it has a huge opportunity to really make an impact at the Oscars in 2012. I’m also not a “Harry Potter” suckup, and a huge fan. I just have a funky feeling, since “Avatar” didn’t quite deliver in 2010, that “Harry Potter” might be that epic film to really steal some Oscars from the regular “Oscar Pictures.”


i would love if you guys would check my choices

Ronnie D.

Unless I’m missing something, I can’t believe there’s no mention of Take Shelter.

J. Allen

Good point K! I have Kirsten in my nods as well. Here are a few early hopefuls. Some are incomplete because I have yet to see the films most likely to be nominated.


Brad Pitt – The Tree of Life

Leonardo DiCaprio – J. Edgar

Jon Foster – Brotherhood **

Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Hesher **

George Clooney – The Ides of March


Emma Stone – The Help **

Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Kirsten Dunst – Melancholia

Tilda Swinton – We Need To Talk About Kevin

Marisa Tomei – The Ides of March


Trevor Morgan – Brotherhood **

Armie Hammer – J. Edgar

Sean Penn – The Tree of Life


Viola Davis – The Help

Octavia Spencer – The Help **

Liana Liberato – Trust **

** indicate hopeful nods; the unreleased films are based off of word-of-mouth and the film’s status.


I don’t understand how Melancholia and the virtuoso performance of Kirsten Dunst isn’t even recognized on this list! If the Tree of Life is being considered when it won at Cannes, why isn’t the Best Actress at Cannes? This makes no sense!


margaret should deffinetly be nominated


why didn’t write about rum diary?

Hannah Torres

Director Ewing Miles Brown says Sam Botta has lost 74 lbs (now 150 lbs.) for Movie Tech Studios pre-production of “Live Fearless” Sam Botta Hosts the upcoming reality TV show. :) in Pre-Production now with guests like Betty White, who says “Appreciate life while it’s happening!” Also “get over it” (referring to aging) and “I’m swimming as fast as I can” in reference to her work.


No mention of Carnage……..I would think that there would be multiple acting noms. coming out of that movie. Jodie Foster has the juciest role, the one Marsha Gay Harden won her Tony for.

Ross Martin

I would put money down right for Rooney Mara WINNING Best Actress next year, and she’s not even listed as an alternate. Not necessarily because she’s a great, proven actress, but because of the complexity and depth of the character she’s playing, as well as the fact that David Fincher is directing, a man who always pulls great performances out of his actors and pushes them to do their best work. A nomination at the very least.

Christopher Plummer web site

Prematurely, Predicts Best Supporting Actor At The 2012 Oscars:
Christopher Plummer—“Beginners”
We’re absolutely dying to see Mike Mills’ film, “Beginners” Incredibly, Christopher Plummer has only been nominated once, for 2009’s “The Last Station.” But here, as a man who comes out in the twilight of his life, he seems to have a killer role, and from the glimpses of the film we’ve seen so far, the performance looks like a joy. Plus, there are hints of terminal illness in the film’s plotline, which can’t exactly hurt. With Focus Features behind the film, we’ve got a hunch that this could finally be Plummer’s year.


Best Picture:
A Dangerous Method
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Tree of Life
J. Edgar
The Descendents
The Ides of March
War Horse
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
We Bought a Zoo

Best Director:
*David Cronenberg: A Dangerous Method
David Fincher: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Terrence Malick: The Tree of Life
Clint Eastwood: J. Edgar
George Clooney: The Ides of March

Best Actor:
*Leonardo Dicaprio: J. Edgar
Michael Fassbender: A Dangerous Method
Ryan Gosling: The Ides of March
Brad Pitt: The Tree of Life (or Moneyball)
Gary Oldman: Tinkor, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Best Actress:
*Meryl Streep: The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams: My Week with Marilyn
Rooney Mara: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Tilda Swinton: We Need to Talk about Kevin
Sandra Bullock: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Best Supporting Actor:
*Viggo Mortensen: A Dangerous Method
Sean Penn: The Tree of Life
Phillip Seymour Hoffman: Moneyball (or The Ides of March)
John C. Reilly: We Need to Talk About Kevin (or God of Carnage)
Armie Hammer: J. Edgar

Best Supporting Actress:
*Jessica Chastain: The Tree of Life
Naomi Watts: J. Edgar
Keira Knightley: A Dangerous Method
Scarlett Johansson: We Bought a Zoo
Viola Davis: The Help

Malcolm Murray

I’m very excited about We Need to Talk About Kevin and have faith that Lynne Ramsey and Tilda Swinton can do the remarkable novel justice… I’d maybe consider Ezra Miller ahead of John C. Reilly for supporting actor, certainly if they remain faithful to the book. The one-on-one scenes between Eva and the older Kevin should gvie an opportunity for some seriously intense thesping.


It’s unlikely The Tree of Life will win Best Picture. The film has been delayed for two years now. That is never a good sign. Terrence Malick, though a legendary director, missed with his last film The New World. Prior to that. The Thin Red Line wasn’t a serious contender to win Best Picture. For 2012 Oscar Predictions, check out…

Eric Michael

We mustn’t leave out “Carnage” – Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Kristoph Waltz, and John C. Reilly. Althought IMDb has a 2012 release date, it could be a January release. Sure fire acting nominations for all four.


I am very excited about your predictions. It sounds like a wonderful year for cinema. With big movie stars like Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, Leonardo DeCaprio, Tom Hanks etc.,etc., all doing Oscar worthy projects, the 2012 Oscar broadcast could be a fun watch.
I am so happy Sandra Bullock is stepping up her game and taking on rich material.


As far as critics freaking, “The Social Network”s huge stack of critics awards’ may have been more deleterious than beneficial. The other consideration is that Malick’s movies don’t often get as much breadth of support as they do depth. “The Thin Red Line” got 78 and “New World” was under 70. That’s not a problem per se, but in terms of garnering strong critical support, most movies with big critics prizes tend to have wider support. Here are critics prizes for the past decade and a little further back with metascores to get an idea what an uphill fight that would be

1997: LAFCA, NYFCC, and NSFC went to “LA Confidential.” 90

1998: Out of Sight from NSFC, but Saving Private Ryan from LAFCA and NYFCC. 85 and 90, respectively.

1999: LAFCA, “The Insider,” 84
NYFCC: Topsy-Turvey,90
NSFC: Topsy-Turvy, 90

Traffic, NYFCC: 86
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 93
Yi Yi: A One and A Two, 92

NYFCC and NSFC: Mulholland Drive, 81
LAFCA: In the Bedroom, 86

NSFC: The Pianist, 85
LAFCA: About Schmidt, 85
NYFCC: Far From Heaven, 84

2003: American Spleandor, 90, LAFCA and NSFC
NYFCC, 94, Return of the King

2004: Million Dollaby, NSFC, 86
Sideways, NYFCC and LAFCA, 94

2005: Brokeback Mountain, LAFCA and NYFCC, 87
Capote, NSFC, 88

2006: Letters from Iwo Jima, LAFCA, high 80s
United 93, NYFCC, 90
Pan’s Labyrinth, NSFC, 98

2007: No Country for Old Men, NYFCC, 91
There Will Be Blood, LAFCA and NSFC, 92

NYFCC, Milk, 84
NSFC: Waltz with Bashir, 91

2009: all 3 going for “Hurt Locker”, 94

2010: all 3 going to “Social Network”, 95

(metascores above)

The overall picture suggests that if there are a fair number of detractors, then it might not get the support needed to get prizes. Though, maybe, some can give it an edge.

I still hope it does well!


Hey on the idea that there were no surprises in the major category, GoldDerby and Gurus of Gold projected Fincher. It might not have been a surprise that you totally didn’t see coming, but it wasn’t predicted.

You know what is needed: An end to the culture of coalescence around the Awards Circuit. We need fewer sweeps and more disagreement.

Ken A

And I can’t believe everyone is ignoring William Friedkin’s Killer Joe!

Sam E.

Interesting almost all the picks are ‘bait films’ if the Academy follows a similar pattern to what we have seen there will likely be one or two more blockbusters that will get nominated. I’m thinking maybe Super 8, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Larry Crowne, or the last HP film.


I would be so ecstatic if Leonardo DiCaprio took home a best actor award. He is one of the most deserving actors in film- LOVE everything he is in!!

Kevin Thomas,

There’s a movie I love and have written about many times. I hope it gets a “qualifying” release this year to qualify for award season next year. The movie is “Baby Jane?” a drag remake of the Bette Davis/Joan Crawford classic. Actor Matthew Martin makes you think Bette Davis has come back to life. Check it out at


From what I remember of the novel ‘Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close’, neither Hanks nor Bullock’s characters really classify as leads, so it might be more likely that one or both could appear in Supporting.


Dogs Lie….definitely a contender for 2012.


Armie Hammar also has an excellent shot.


Rooney Mara has an excellent shot.


When the Academy discovers a character actor, they sometimes return to them over and over again. I think Hawkes has another shot with Martha Marcy May Marlene…


Here is my prediction about the 2012 Academy Awards Show. ‘Against all odds’ – the telecast will be worse than the 2011 show. The Academy will target an even younger audience next year…’toddlers”.
The show will be hosted by precious child stars Sammyi Hanratty ( MacDonalds commercial and over 200 red carpet appearances.) And Zachary Gordon ( MacDonalds commercial and a walk on part in ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’.)
Mary Kate and Ashley Olson will be presented the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.
Randy Newman will fart out another Academy Award winning song for Toy Story 4.
Kirk Douglas (who will be only 3 months dead by air time) will hand out the Award for Best supporting actress.
Oprah will present the Academy Award in Documentary film for some reason…I’m just not sure what the possible reason could be ?
The ‘c’ word will be used by the Best actress award winner in her acceptance speech.

Will see ?

Ken A

How dare you leave out The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo!!

Tim G

The Telluride Film Festival actually kicks off awards season. Look at the festival’s recent track record… they’ve had North American premieres of a lot of high-profile films and award winners. Toronto generates more press, but Telluride is the place to be for film lovers every fall.


what about Best Documentary? I call NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT, so perfect for the Academy’s older, more serious-minded voters…

Peter Knegt

We did a piece on “Kevin” a bit back while it was shooting and the producers gave us a still. Theres some good info on there too:

After two years of snubbing Tilda, I feel like if she continues to hit every single performance out of the park, they can’t just keep ignoring (and the source material has sooo much potential).

And, yeah, “Tree” is totally risky. “War Horse,” “The Ides of March” and “Extremely Close” all seem like much more Oscar friendly fare. But Malick’s had a 40 year career that needs rewarding, so if critics freak out over the film, it seems reasonable enough. Who knows…

James T

Oh, sorry, I forgot one more thing: How the hell did you get that still form “Kevin”? I’m daily checking at imdb’s discussion board for any news about the film but nothing!

James T

I love super-early predictions!

I like your confidence in “Kevin” and I do hope it’s great AND provide Tilda with one more nod.

I don’t think Contagion’s script has a real shot.

I can see why you would think “Tree of Life” could be huge: Malick at last get his due with a Benjamin Button-like spectacle that might have more heart than Button did. But it’s certainly a very risky prediction. Which is, like Dianne Wiest would say, fine, given the chaotic possibilities of this early stage and the fact that a very safe movie just won, making us hope for something more interesting to happen next year.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a good bet.

Maybe Carnage will be released this year so I think it should be included at least in the PIcture and Ad. Screenplay categories.

Closing, I think Rachel Weisz has a shot for The Deep Blue Sea.

Peter Knegt

Word on the street is Daldry wants it out to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11 (which would happen during the Toronto International Film Festival). It’s already shooting, so I think it’s reasonable to suggest he can do it (“The Reader” shot into July and was out by December.. though that of course was not Daldry’s wish).

Erik Anderson

I think Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close isn’t coming out until 2012. But, there’s a lot that doesn’t have a release date yet so you never know.Y

Your predictions though look very close to what mine are (as soon as I post them on my site, lol).

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