Finally, the Oscar nominations were announced last Tuesday. Furthermore, three of the four big guilds — the Producers, the Director's and the Screen Actors — have given out their awards over the last couple of weekends, with only the Writers still to hand out any statuettes. So at last, months and months down the line, we can stop talking about what's going to be be nominated, and start talking about what's going to win. Or at least who's leading the field at this point.
It might seem at this stage that everything is wrapped up by now, but with the exception of a few categories (including, honestly, the big one), that's not really true as there's still plenty of potential for shocks on the night. We do still have a month to go, and a lot can happen in the next few weeks, so we'll be making our final predictions nearer the time. But how are things standing for now? Below, we've run down every category (bar the shorts: we haven't seen them yet, but we hope to cover them in the weeks running up to the awards), with the nominees listed in order of their likelihood of winning. Check it out below.
Best Visual Effects
1. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
2. "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Pt. 2"
3. "Transformers: The Dark of the Moon"
5. "Real Steel"
As the only real groundbreaker among the nominees, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" is the obvious frontrunner here. But it doesn't necessarily have the thing sewn up: will the revolutionary way it used motion capture on giant, outdoor sets chime with the membership at the large they way it did with the effects branch, especially with a few slightly shaky moments in among the great work? It's still the likely winner, but Potter or "Transformers" could well take over (bear in mind: neither series has an Oscar to their name so far).
Best Sound Editing
1. "War Horse"
3. "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"
4. "Transformers: The Dark Of The Moon"
Best Sound Mixing
1. "War Horse"
3. "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"
5. "Transformers: The Dark of The Moon"
Always tricky to predict, if these were given on merit alone (based on the nominees), it'd be the typically excellent work on 'Dragon Tattoo,' or the sole nomination for "Drive." In reality, despite the obnoxiously loud work on 'Transformers,' the general membership is likely to lean towards something more awards-worthy. The sound is a little showier in "War Horse" than in "Hugo," so we'll lean that way for now, even if it's likely to be the film's only awards.
Best Original Song
1. "Man Or Muppet" – "The Muppets"
2. "Real In Rio" – "Rio"
The most ridiculous line-up in a long history of ridiculous line-ups, the Academy might as well flip a coin if they're only going to nominate two songs. Should be "The Muppets," by a landslide, but bear in mind that this is a category that's been won by Three Six Mafia.
1. Ludovic Bource – "The Artist"
2. Howard Shore – "Hugo"
3. John williams – "War Horse"
4. Alberto Iglesias – "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
5. John Williams – "The Adventures Of Tintin"
With John Williams a double nominee, against expectations, we honestly can't see him winning — neither film is the obvious pick, so his vote should be split. "The Artist" is the real front-runner here, but depending on the extent to which it sweeps the technical categories, "Hugo," and Howard Shore, could theoretically beat it to the post. It's unlikely though. Iglesias, who's never won, will have to take the nomination as a victory.
1. "The Iron Lady"
2. "Albert Nobbs"
3. "Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Pt. 2"
Thanks to the showy old-age makeup, "The Iron Lady" shold have this sewn up, but, despite it being eerier than, well, Voldemort, "Albert Nobbs" could be in with a shout too. 'Potter' could figure in as a recognition of the achievements from across the series, but we doubt it.
Best Costume Design
1. Mark Bridges – "The Artist"
2. Sandy Powell – "Hugo"
3. Michael O'Connor – "Jane Eyre"
4. Lisy Christl – "Anonymous"
5. Arianne Philips – "W.E."
Going by the reasoning that the membership in general sometimes just vote for their favorite film in a category, rather than the greatest achievement in the category, we're going to lean towards "The Artist" here, particularly as it has the advantage of having a Hollywood-based nominee Mark Bridges (an Australian best known for his work with Paul Thomas Anderson). That being said, the period prettiness of "Jane Eyre" always does well in a category that can see otherwise-ignored period films honored (see "The Young Victoria," "The Duchess"), and Sandy Powell is a serious contender for "Hugo." Any of the three could well take it, the others are making up the numbers.
Best Art Direction
1. Dante Ferretti, Dorothee Baussan, Francesca Lo Schiavo – "Hugo"
2. Laurence Bennett, Robert Gould – "The Artist"
3. Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillan – "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2"
4. Rick Carter, Lee Sandales – "War Horse"
5. Anne Seibel, Helene Dubreuil – "Midnight In Paris"
This is one case where "Hugo" has a natural advantage over "The Artist" — there's no denying the impressive nature of those huge sets, among the biggest ever built. If the film wins any award, it'll be this one, but it will depend on "The Artist" — if it sweeps in other categories, this could follow. Again, the last chance to honor the 'Potter' franchise could factor in, but likely not in a year as competitive as this one.
1. Thelma Schoonmaker – "Hugo"
2. Anne-Sophie Bion & Michel Hazavanicius – "The Artist"
3. Christopher Tellefsen – "Moneyball"
4. Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall – "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"
5. Kevin Tent – "The Descendants"
A tricky one here: four worthy winners, and "The Descendants." In the latter case, Fox Searchlight needed a technical nod to be seen as staying in the Best Picture race, so that's their victory here. Otherwise, we reckon that Baxter & Wall having won last year probably rules them out, but any of the others are feasible. For now, we're putting our chips on Schoonmaker, a beloved figure and three-time winner, but it's equally possible that "The Artist" wins.
1. Robert Richardson – "Hugo"
2. Emmanuel Lubezki – "The Tree of Life"
3. Guillaume Shiffman – "The Artist"
4. Janusz Kaminski – "War Horse"
5. Jeff Cronenweth – "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"
Another tough one. Emmanuel Lubezki has never won, and could finally convert, but he's got serious competition; everyone except Cronenweth is feasible (even though he lost out last year). The black and white look of "The Artist" is very likely, but our gut right now says that Robert Richardson's 3D work on "Hugo" will end up winning the day. It'll be interesting to see who the ASC go for when they announce their guild winner on February 12th.
1. "Hell And Back Again"
3. "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory"
5. "If A Tree Falls: A Story Of The Earth Liberation Front"
As "Project Nim" was snubbed, this is more open than it had been before. Unlike most categories, voters have to prove that they've attended screenings of all five to cast their ballots, so you tend to get a dedicated core, who love nothing more than an issues-driven picture, ideally about Iraq or Afghanistan, to win. As such, we've got to pick "Hell and Back Again" as our frontrunner, although "Pina" and "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory" might have the right stuff too, for different reasons.
2. "Chico & Rita"
3. "A Cat In Paris"
4. "Puss In Boots"
5. "Kung Fu Panda 2"
If 'Tintin' had made the cut, it might have managed to unseat "Rango," but as it is, Gore Verbinski's film is the front-runner by a mile, with no chance of either DreamWorks sequel unseating it. Maybe we'll see a surprise victory for one of the the independent upstarts, but they're likely to divide the vote, and no non-studio picture has won the prize since the category was first introduced.
Best Foreign Language Film
1. "A Separation"
3. "In Darkness"
4. "Monsieur Lazhar"
Always a nightmare to predict, a screenplay nod and a sweep of pretty much every major award up until now would seem to point the way to "A Separation," and it's obviously the front-runner. But if it loses to a less well-known picture, it wouldn't be the first — think "Amelie" to "No Man's Land," or "Biutiful last year. As such, almost anything goes, although we can't really see the very dark "Bullhead" making much headway.
Best Original Screenplay
1. Woody Allen – "Midnight in Paris"
2. Michel Hazanavicius – "The Artist"
3. Asghar Farhadi – "A Separation"
4. Kristin Wiig & Annie Mumulo – "Bridesmaids"
5. J.C. Chandor – "Margin Call"
Woody has a whopping 23 nominations, and three Oscars, but hasn't won since "Hannah and Her Sisters" in 1987, and that fact, and the sheer virtue of having dialogue, which closest competitor "The Artist" doesn't have, clearly puts him in the lead here. But again, if the latter sweeps, it could upset. The WGA won't be an indicator ("The Artist" was ineligible there). Everything else should be happy to settle for the nomination and now voting stretches beyond the writer's branch, "A Separation" will probably struggle, while we can't see many voters going for "Bridesmaids" when "classier" alternatives exist.
Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Steve Zaillian & Aaron Sorkin – "Moneyball"
2. Jim Rash, Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne – "The Descendants"
3. Peter Straughan & Bridget O'Connor – "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
4. John Logan – "Hugo"
5. George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon – "The Ides Of March"
For all intents and purposes, it's a two-horse race between "Moneyball" and "The Descendants," and we're going to give the edge to the former for the moment, despite Sorkin being the defending champion (no writer has won twice in a row in the category since Robert Bolt in 1965 and 1966 for "Doctor Zhivago" and "A Man For All Seasons") because it's a trickier adaptation, and a zingier film. But "The Descendants" is firmly within the category's wheelhouse — family, jokes, hugging — and Payne's also a previous victor. "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" is the dark horse to watch, particularly as we don't see either "Hugo" or "The Ides of March" being real contenders.
Best Supporting Actor
1. Christopher Plummer – "Beginners"
2. Max Von Sydow – "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"
3. Kenneth Branagh – "My Week With Marilyn"
4. Nick Nolte – "Warrior"
5. Jonah Hill – "Moneyball"
Let's face it, this one has been wrapped up for months, with Plummer winning basically everything (as snubbed hopeful Albert Brooks tweeted, Oscar nomination morning was when he'd find out if he "got to go to any more events that Christopher Plummer wins"), including the SAG last night. That being said, the SAG match up less often in the category with the Oscars, and Max Von Sydow's nomination makes things a little more interesting — a veteran actor (six months older that Plummer; if either wins, they'd be the oldest ever Oscar-winning actor/actress) who's never won a statue, the same narrative that's seen Plummer rise to the top (interesting to note: Plummer replaced von Sydow in "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" when the latter dropped out to do 'Extremely Loud'). Plummer's film is much better liked, and he's still 98% certain to win, but Von Sydow's film is a Best Picture nominee, so for the first time, he could be real competition.
Best Supporting Actress
1. Octavia Spencer – "The Help"
2. Berenice Bejo – "The Artist"
3. Jessica Chastain – "The Help"
4. Melissa McCarthy – "Bridesmaids"
5. Janet McTeer – "Albert Nobbs"
Our mantra from the last few weeks remains true here: Spencer's got the advantage, but it's entirely possible that the votes for "The Help" gets split (don't forget, early in the season, Chastain looked like the frontrunner), and Bejo steps in as a result. Had Bejo (or even Chastain) won with the guild last night, this could have become much more interesting but as it is, Spencer's cemented as the runaway front-runner.
1. Jean Dujardin – "The Artist"
2. George Clooney – "The Descendants"
3. Gary Oldman – "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
4. Brad Pitt – "Moneyball"
5. Demian Bichir – "A Better Life"
In one of the few races that remains open at this point, Clooney had the advantage for a long time, but Dujardin's Globes speech saw his arrival as a presence, and we'd say his SAG win makes him the best bet right now. After all, Oscar have followed the guild nine times out of the last ten (Johnny Depp for the original "Pirates of the Caribbean" being the last deviation). But Clooney has never won at the SAG, and the Academy are bigger fans, so things could still be in play. It's certainly only between the two of them at this point; some have Pitt still in contention, but we'd actually argue that Oldman might take precedence. While neither have won, there's a feeling that the Brit is overdue, while Pitt likely has his best work ahead of him. But it's all moot, because neither stand much chance of beating Clooney or Dujardin to the big prize.
1. Viola Davis – "The Help"
2. Meryl Streep – "The Iron Lady"
3. Michelle Williams – "My Week With Marilyn"
4. Glenn Close – "Albert Nobbs"
5. Rooney Mara – "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"
First things first: neither Close or Mara have a hope. Other than that, it's a three horse race, but one that Davis is leading (and we're puzzled by those who thought before the SAGs that Streep was leading; Davis has been front-runner for weeks now) as her film is a Best Picture nominee, while "The Iron Lady" and "My Week With Marilyn" only have one other nomination each, and aren't particularly beloved by anyone. Plus, they split the Weinstein Company's attention between them. Maybe the fact that Streep hasn't won for thirty years, despite thirteen nods in the meantime, wins her a sympathy vote, but we suspect she'll be the bridesmaid again this time round.
1. Michel Hazanavicius – "The Artist"
2. Terrence Malick – "The Tree of Life"
3. Martin Scorsese – "Hugo"
4. Alexander Payne – "The Descendants"
5. Woody Allen – "Midnight In Paris"
Before the weekend, this was still wide-open: Hazanavicius was the smart bet, but Scorsese and even Malick could have conceivably cut in, even as "The Artist" swept towards Best Picture. But with the DGA win, we can't see anyone but the Frenchman taking Best Director; only six times in history has the DGA winner failed to win with the Academy (although it's worth noting that two of those are in the last decade). Honoring Scorsese is no longer the priority it once was, thanks to his "The Departed." The only wild card is the non-DGA nominated Malick, who's never won an Oscar, and a Best Picture nomination makes a win that much more feasible. But it would be virtually unprecedented, and with the film being so divisive, we still think he'll probably have to wait for another year.
1. "The Artist"
2. "The Help"
5. "The Descendants"
6. "The Tree of Life"
7. "Midnight In Paris"
8. "War Horse"
9. "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"
As we've discussed before — this is going to be "The Artist," barring some disaster. The PGA victory set the scene, and a DGA win for Hazanavicius over the weekend (plus Dujardin's acting win) pretty much sealed it. But we guess an upset isn't totally out of the question. The eleven nominations for "Hugo" make it the most obvious threat: while a lack of acting nods makes that trickier, "Slumdog Millionaire" managed it with the same disadvantage only three years back. More crucially, however, it's failed to win anything at any guilds, so a picture win is unlikely. "The Help" has come up in some discussions, particularly after its SAG ensemble win, with some suggesting that it might be the "Crash" to "Brokeback Mountain" (on in this case "The Artist") — an issue driven picture triumphing by surprise over a relatively little seen indie flick. But we think this is misjudged. "The Artist" is a true crowd pleaser, not a button pushing gay drama, and "The Hurt Locker" demonstrated only a few years ago that box office isn't necessarily the crucial factor anymore. Furthermore, let's not forget that "The Help" failed to pick up anything outside its picture and acting nominations — no costume, not even original song. The others should probably all just be happy to be there. Besides that, and maybe we're crazy, but we think "Moneyball" has a better chance than most — six nominations, the third most, from both above and below the line. That being said, in one of the least talked about injustices of the nominations, Bennett Miller missed out on a director nomination (so what, the film directed itself?), and nothing since "Driving Miss Daisy" has won without a director nomination. The others should probably all just be happy to be there; Clooney's SAG loss shows that "The Descendants" doesn't stand a chance in the face of the silent French juggernaut.