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For Your Consideration: Final 2011 Oscar Predictions

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire January 24, 2011 at 4:41AM

Tomorrow, Oscar prognosticators around the internet will see their months of ceaseless buzz-tracking and guesswork culminate in the announcement of the nominations for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. Though there's a lot of obvious choices suspected -- from the dominance of "The Social Network," "The King's Speech" and "Inception" to the heavily favored Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Melissa Leo and Christian Bale -- there's still some room for surprise.
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Tomorrow, Oscar prognosticators around the internet will see their months of ceaseless buzz-tracking and guesswork culminate in the announcement of the nominations for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. Though there's a lot of obvious choices suspected -- from the dominance of "The Social Network," "The King's Speech" and "Inception" to the heavily favored Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Melissa Leo and Christian Bale -- there's still some room for surprise.

indieWIRE is running down our predictions in 21 different categories, including full lists of all reasonable contenders in the six major categories (on the flipside, here's what a fantasy Oscar ballot would like). If our predictions were to somehow come true, "Inception," "The King's Speech" and "True Grit" would equally lead the nomination pack with 10 apiece, with "The Social Network" just behind with nine.

For your consideration:

Best Picture: Ten slots, 11 films. All signs point to "The Social Network," "The King's Speech," "Inception," "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "True Grit," "Toy Story 3," "The Kids Are All Right," "127 Hours," "Winter's Bone" and "The Town" as the only ones with reasonable shots at nominations. The big question is probably a matter of which of these three gets left out: "127 Hours," "Winter's Bone" or "The Town"? Arguments could be made for any of them (and perhaps also for "The Kids Are All Right"), but this gut is going with "The Town" as the odd one out (an opinion that has zigzagged between all three in the past few days). It would be a lovely breath of fresh awards season air, though, if something other than these 11 surprises us -- especially the deserving likes of "Blue Valentine," "Another Year" or "The Ghost Writer" made it in. Sadly, that's way too unlikely a scenario for this prognosticator to gamble on.

Locks:
1. The Social Network
2. The King's Speech
3. Inception
4. Black Swan
5. The Fighter
6. True Grit
7. Toy Story 3

Slightly Vulnerable:
8. The Kids Are All Right

Fighting It Out For The Last Two Slots:
9. 127 Hours
10. Winter's Bone
11. The Town

Dark Horses:
12. Blue Valentine
13. The Ghost Writer
14. Another Year


Best Director: Will the Oscars go entirely the way of the DGA (meaning: Fincher, Nolan, Aronofsky, Hooper and Russell), as they did last year? Or will they go four for five, which is generally how this plays out? If they did, the switch would almost definitely be Joel & Ethan Coen in, David O. Russell out (though something other than that would be a fun surprise). My suspicion is that while the Oscars might be the biggest "True Grit" fans of all the awards, Russell and "The Fighter" have too many fans and too much late-in-the-game momentum to miss out here.

Locks:
1. David Fincher, The Social Network
2. Christopher Nolan, Inception
3. Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan

Slightly Vulnerable:
4. Tom Hooper, The King's Speech

Fighting For The Last Slot:
5. David O. Russell, The Fighter
6. Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit

Dark Horses:
7. Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
8. Debra Granik, Winter's Bone
9. Ben Affleck, The Town
10. Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right


Best Actor: Like many of the acting races, there's a definite who-has-the-final slot drama to the best actor category. Assured winner Colin Firth and host James Franco have locked noms, while Jesse Eisenberg and Jeff Bridges are pretty safe bets. Beyond them, Ryan Gosling, Robert Duvall, Javier Bardem and Mark Wahlberg are all possible fifth-slot nominees. While Duvall has the SAG and is a sentimental favorite, a riskier bet sees Gosling riding some late momentum for "Blue Valentine" (and a likely larger batch of #1 votes on the preferential ballot).

Locks:
1. Colin Firth, The King's Speech
2. James Franco, 127 Hours

Slightly Vulnerable:
3. Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
4. Jeff Bridges, True Grit

Fighting For The Last Slot:
5. Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine
6. Robert Duvall, Get Low
7. Javier Bardem, Biutiful
8. Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter


Director Lisa Cholodenko (middle) on the set of "The Kids Are All Right with stars Annette Benning and Julianne Moore. Image courtesy of Focus Features

Best Actress: Natalie Portman and Annette Bening are the only sure things in his remarkably crowded category. Considering they have SAG, Globe and BFCA noms behind them, one would definitely expect Jennifer Lawrence and Nicole Kidman to join them, but both are vulnerable. Potential spoilers (in order of likelihood) include Michelle Williams, Lesley Manville, Tilda Swinton, Hilary Swank and Julianne Moore. And then there's Hailee Steinfeld, whose campaign positions her as supporting but some organizations (including the BAFTAs) have been nominating her in lead, anyway. Steinfeld could easily pull a Keisha Castle-Hughes and end up here; it's just a question of who gets left out as a result. For now, though, let's say she stays in supporting, leaving these five women as a shaky best actress category prediction:

Locks:
1. Natalie Portman, Black Swan
2. Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right

Slightly Vulnerable:
3. Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone

Very Vulnerable:
4. Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole

Fighting For The Last Slot:
5. Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
6. Lesley Manville, Another Year
7. Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit

Dark Horses:
8. Tilda Swinton, I Am Love
9. Hilary Swank, Conviction
10. Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right

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Best Supporting Actor: Like best actress, this category has two locks (Christian Bale and Geoffrey Rush) and three questionable slots. Mark Ruffalo (SAG, BFCA, BAFTA), Jeremy Renner (SAG, Globe, BFCA), Andrew Garfield (Globes, BFCA, BAFTA), John Hawkes (SAG), Michael Douglas (Globe), Sam Rockwell (BFCA) each found varying degrees of recognition among Oscar's most trusty predicting precursors. Add in Matt Damon's late-in-the-game buzz for "True Grit" and there's a pretty heated battle of seven men vying for three slots. The never-nominated and well-liked Ruffalo is probably the safest bet, but beyond that it should be quite interesting. The following prediction finds Garfield and Renner making the cut, but watch out for Hawkes and Damon, especially.

Locks:
1. Christian Bale, The Fighter
2. Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech

Fighting For The Last Three Slots:
3. Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
4. Jeremy Renner, The Town
5. Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
6. John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
7. Matt Damon, True Grit

Dark Horses:
8. Sam Rockwell, Conviction
9. Michael Douglas, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
10. Pete Postlethwaite, The Town


A scene from Tom Hooper's "The King's Speech."

Best Supporting Actress: Will Hailee Steinfeld end up in lead? Will Lesley Manville end up here? This category has been dominated by six women - Melissa Leo, Amy Adams, Helena Bonham Carter, Mila Kunis, Jacki Weaver and Hailee Steinfeld - across all precursors. If Steinfeld goes lead, it seems clear who the five would be. If she doesn't, it seems like it would be Weaver vs. Kunis for the final slot, and one has got to imagine Weaver getting more no. 1 votes. And then what if Lesley Manville, a BAFTA nominee, sneaks in? This category is definitely still one of the biggest mysteries leading into nomination morning.

Locks:
1. Melissa Leo, The Fighter
2. Amy Adams, The Fighter

Slightly Vulnerable:
3. Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech

Very Vulnerable:
4. Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit

Fighting For The Last Slot:
5. Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
6. Mila Kunis, Black Swan

Dark Horses:
7. Lesley Manville, Another Year
8. Barbara Hershey, Black Swan
9. Olivia Williams, The Ghost Writer

The rest, sans commentary:

Best Original Screenplay:

1. David Speidler, The King's Speech
2. Christopher Nolan, Inception
3. Stuart Blumberg and Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right
4. Paul Attanasio, Lewis Colich, Eric Johnson, Scott Silver & Paul Tamasy, The Fighter
5. Mike Leigh, Another Year

Spoilers:
6. Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz & John J. McLaughlin, Black Swan
7. Derek Cianfrance, Joey Curtis & Cami Delavigne, Blue Valentine


A scene from Joel & Ethan Coen's "True Grit."

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
2. Michael Arndt, Toy Story 3
3. Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, True Grit
4. Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini, Winter's Bone
5. Robert Harris & Roman Polanski, The Ghost Writer

Spoilers:
6. Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
7. Ben Affleck, Peter Craig & Aaron Stockard, The Town


Best Animated Film
1. Toy Story 3
2. How To Train Your Dragon
3. The Illusionist

Spoilers:
4. Despicable Me
5. Tangled


Best Foreign-Language Film
1. In a Better World (Denmark)
2. Incendies (Canada)
3. Life Above All (South Africa)
4. Biutiful (Mexico)
5. Confessions (Japan)

Spoilers
6. Outside The Law (Algeria)
7. Dogtooth (Greece)


Best Documentary Feature
1. Inside Job
2. Waiting For "Superman"
3. The Tillman Story
4. Exit Through the Gift Shop
5. Restrepo

Spoilers:
6. Waste Land
7. Client 9

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A scene from Christopher Nolan's "Inception."

Best Film Editing
1. Inception
2. The Social Network
3. Black Swan
4. 127 Hours
5. The Fighter

Spoilers:
6. The King's Speech
7. The Town


Best Cinematography
1. True Grit
2. Inception
3. Black Swan
4. The Social Network
5. The King's Speech

Spoilers:
6. 127 Hours
7. Shutter Island


Best Art Direction
1. The King's Speech
2. Alice in Wonderland
3. Inception
4. True Grit
5. Shutter Island

Spoilers:
6. Black Swan
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1


Best Costume Design
1. The King's Speech
2. Alice in Wonderland
3. True Grit
4. Burlesque
5. Black Swan

Spoilers:
6. Made in Dagenham
7. The Tempest


Best Original Score
1. Inception
2. The King's Speech
3. The Social Network
4. 127 Hours
5. How To Train Your Dragon

Spoilers:
6. The Ghost Writer
7. Alice in Wonderland


Best Original Song
1. "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3
2. "I See The Light" from Tangled
3. "Shine" from Waiting For Superman
4. "You Haven't Seen The Last of Me" from Burlesque
5. "Chanson Illusionist" from The Illusionist

Spoilers:
6. "If I Rise" from 127 Hours
7. "Coming Home" from Country Strong

Darren Aronofsky’s "Black Swan"

Best Makeup
1. Alice in Wonderland
2. The Wolfman
3. The Fighter

Spoilers:
4. The Way Back
5. Barney's Version


Best Sound Editing
1. Inception
2. Toy Story 3
3. True Grit
4. 127 Hours
5. TRON Legacy

Spoilers:
6. Iron Man 2
7. Black Swan


Best Sound Mixing
1. Inception
2. True Grit
3. Black Swan
4. The Social Network
5. Unstoppable

Spoilers:
6. TRON Legacy
7. Shutter Island


Best Visual Effects
1. Inception
2. Alice in Wonderland
3. TRON Legacy
4. Iron Man 2
5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I

Spoilers:
6. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
7. Hereafter

Peter Knegt is indieWIRE's Associate Editor. Follow him on Twitter and on his blog. Check out his weekly Oscar prediction chart here.

Previous editions of this column:
For Your Consideration: Predicting 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

This article is related to: Features, Academy Awards





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