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2012 Oscar Predictions: The Acting Categories

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire December 13, 2011 at 11:15AM

indieWIRE will provide regular updates of our predictions for the 84th Academy Award nominations through late January, when the nominations are announced.
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Viola Davis in The Help
Viola Davis in The Help

indieWIRE will provide regular updates of our predictions for the 84th Academy Award nominations through late January, when the nominations are announced.

Here's our take on the acting categories, which are becoming increasingly clear in the wake of recent precursor announcements (particularly the Golden Globes, SAG and Critics Choice nods). Though that said, there is still a lot of room for surprise, with roughly 7 or 8 viable contenders in each category, and only 5 slots a piece.

It seems George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Jean Dujardin, Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Octavia Spencer and Berenice Bejo can all start saving the date, but beyond that no one is a certainty.

Despite multiple nods from critics groups, Michael Fassbender, Albert Brooks and Shailene Woodley all got snubbed at the SAG awards, for example, which may or may not bode well (though they all got Globe nods).

Demian Bichir and Armie Hammer did make their way with SAG, but not really with anyone else. Last year, 17 of the 20 Oscar nominees were also SAG nominees. Who will be this year's Hilary Swank, Robert Duvall and Mila Kunis? Likely those two.

And then there's of course the curious case of Jessica Chastain, who has been receiving endless kudos - but they are being split between three different films ("The Help," "Take Shelter" and "The Tree of Life"). Will she cancel herself out?

One this is certain though, Christopher Plummer is going home with an Oscar come February. All the others are in for a bit more of a battle.

Acting category predictions below, with more commentary to come in the next week or so. Check out all predictions in all the categories here.

Best Actor
Locks:
1. George Clooney, The Descendants
2. Jean Dujardin, The Artist
3. Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Meryl Streep Gears Up for Awards Season in "The Iron Lady" Teaser
Meryl Streep in her Oscar-Winning Role as Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady"

Looking Good:
4. Leonardo diCaprio, J. Edgar
5. Michael Fassbender, Shame

Dark Horses (Impossibilities?):
6. Demian Bichir, A Better Life
7. Gary Oldman, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
8. Michael Shannon, Take Shelter
9. Ryan Gosling, Drive
10. Woody Harrelson, Rampart
11. Matt Damon, We Bought a Zoo
12. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50


Best Actress
Locks:
1. Viola Davis, The Help
2. Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
3. Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Looking Good:
4. Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin

Fighting For The Last Slot:
5. Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
6. Charlize Theron, Young Adult
7. Rooney Mara, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Dark Horses (Impossibilities?):
8. Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
9. Keira Knightley, A Dangerous Method
10. Olivia Colman, Tyrannosaur
11. Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia
12. Michelle Yeoh, The Lady

Best Supporting Actor
Locks:
1. Christopher Plummer, Beginners
2. Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn

Looking Good:
3. Albert Brooks, Drive
4. Jonah Hill, Moneyball

Fighting For The Last Slot:
5. Max Von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
6. Nick Nolte, Warrior
7. Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method
8. Armie Hammer, J. Edgar

Dark Horses (Impossibilities?):
9. Patton Oswalt, Young Adult
10. Andy Serkis, Rise of the Planet of the Apes
11. Corey Stoll, Midnight in Paris
12. Kevin Spacey, Margin Call


Best Supporting Actress
Locks:
1. Octavia Spencer, The Help
2. Bérénice Bejo, The Artist

Looking Good:
3. Jessica Chastain, The Help

Fighting For The Last Two Slots:
4. Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
5. Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
6. Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
7. Carey Mulligan, Shame
8. Vanessa Redgrave, Corionalus

Dark Horses (Impossibilities?):
9. Sandra Bullock, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
10. Jodie Foster, Carnage
11. Jessica Chastain, The Tree of Life
12. Jessica Chastain, Take Shelter

This article is related to: Academy Awards