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For Your Consideration: Early 2011 Oscar Predictions

For Your Consideration: Early 2011 Oscar Predictions

EDITORS NOTE: This story was written in March, 2010 forecasting the Oscars a year in advance. For an updated list of predictions as of January 2011, click here.

With the Oscars now a four 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 Olympics-delayed 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 about the somewhat expectedly mediocre ceremony (though Sandra Bullock’s speech, Tina Fey and Robert Downey Jr’s banter and about one third of Steve & Alec’s antics were certainly highlights), and the predictability of nearly every award winner (save most especially “Precious”‘s adapted screenplay win over “Up In The Air”), is there really any point anymore? The moment “The Hurt Locker” was thankfully read as this year’s best picture of the year, my awards season was over.

However, there is one final thing I’d like to do with this column before letting it rest in peace until September. It’s been an annual tradition for me (and most Oscar bloggers) 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 Mo’Nique was heading). Surprisingly, it’s not always a total crap shoot. While last year I might have been significantly off the mark with “Taking Woodstock,” “Nine” and “Invictus” (then “Mandela”), I did manage to properly predict 5 acting nominations. More over, the year before – if you include alternates – I nearly got half of the major nods right. So before this column lies dormant until the fall… let’s give it a shot, with everyone please 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 2010 looks to be a diverse and potentially quite fulfilling year for cinema.

We’ve got promising films from relative newcomers following up well-received first or second projects like “The American,” directed by “Control”‘s Anton Corbijn, written by Rowan Joffe and starring George Clooney as an assassin who hides out in Italy for one last assignment; “The King’s Speech,” directed by “The Damned United”‘s Tom Hooper and starring Colin Firth as King George VI as he tries to overcome his nervous stammer; “Never Let Me Go, Mark Romanek’s long-awaited follow up to “One Hour Photo,” and starring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Sally Hawkins; and “The Town,” Ben Affleck’s second directorial effort, starring Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall and Affleck himself.

We’ve got projects from (often or occasionally) Oscar-friendly filmmakers like Clint Eastwood and “Hereafter,” a supernatural thriller written by Peter Morgan and starring Matt Damon and Bryce Dallas Howard; David Fincher and “The Social Network,” an Aaron Sorkin-written drama chronicling the invention of Facebook; James L. Brooks’ romantic comedy (what else?) “How Do You Know?” starring Jack Nicholson and Reese Witherspoon; Joel & Ethan Coen’s remake “True Grit” starring this year’s Oscar winner Jeff Bridges; Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere,” where a hard-living Hollywood actor re-examines his life after his 11-year-old daughter surprises him with a visit; Terrance Malick’s delayed “The Tree of Life,” starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn; Edward Zwick’s Anne Hathaway-Jake Gyllenhaal Viagra-themed romance “Love and Other Drugs”; Peter Weir’s “The Way Back,” a fact-based story centered on soldiers who escaped from a Siberian gulag in 1940, and starring Colin Farrell; Woody Allen’s London-set “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,” starring Naomi Watts and Anthony Hopkins; and two already released (and well-recieved) films from Martin Scorsese (“Shutter Island”) and Roman Polanski (“The Ghost Writer”).

A scene from Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere.”

We’ve got interesting new works from filmmakers Oscar haven’t always totally embraced or newcomers that haven’t been tested yet, like Darren Aronofsky’s ballet thriller “Black Swan”; David O. Russell’s Christian Bale-Mark Wahlberg starrer “The Fighter”; Aaron Schneider’s “Get Low,” which got serious buzz at the Toronto Film Festival; Christopher Nolan’s ripe-with-potential sci-fi thriller “Inception,” starring Leonardo diCaprio; “The Departed” writer William Monahan’s directorial debut “London Boulevard,” starring Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley; Richard Loncraine’s Clinton-Blair exploration “The Special Relationship”; John Cameron Mitchell’s foray into directing someone else’s material, “Rabbit Hole,” which stars Nicole Kidman and is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play; and two well-received films to come out of Sundance: Lisa Cholodenko’s family drama “The Kids Are All Right” and Derek Cianfrance’s dark anti-romance “Blue Valentine.”

And that’s honestly just scratching the surface. With the expanded ten nominees, “Toy Story 3” stands a pretty reasonable chance at a best picture nod. And I mean, who knows, maybe Jodie Foster’s Mel Gibson dramedy “The Beaver” will go over in a way opposite to that which I expect.

One interesting thing to note before getting into the flat out predictions: Best actor could actually be a near total re-do of this year. There’s Jeff Bridges in “True Grit,” George Clooney in “The American,” Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech” and Jeremy Renner in “The Town.” All of which at this point seem like performances that could very well go way of the Oscar. But again, at this point, we kind of know nothing. And with that in mind, I present my major category 2011 Oscar predictions, one year in advance:

EDITORS NOTE: This story was written in March, 2010 forecasting the Oscars a year in advance. For an updated list of predictions as of January 2011, click here.

Best Picture:
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
Love & Other Drugs
Toy Story 3
The Tree of Life
The Way Back

(alternates: Rabbit Hole; True Grit; The Social Network; Fair Game; London Boulevard)

Best Director:
Sofia Coppola, Somewhere
Terrance Malick, The Tree of Life
Christopher Nolan, Inception
Julian Schabel, Miral
Peter Weir, The Way Back

(alternates: David Fincher, The Social Network; Clint Eastwood, Hereafter)

Best Actor:
Colin Farrell, The Way Back
Matt Damon, Hereafter
Stephen Dorff, Somewhere
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine

(alternates: Robert Duvall, Get Low; Jeff Bridges, True Grit)

A scene from John Cameron Mitchell’s “Rabbit Hole.”

Best Actress:
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Anne Hathaway, Love and Other Drugs
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

(alternates: Naomi Watts, Fair Game; Keira Knightley, London Boulevard)

Best Supporting Actor:
Josh Brolin, True Grit
Ed Harris, The Way Back
Brad Pitt, The Tree of Life
Oliver Platt, Love & Other Drugs
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

(alternates: Bill Murray, Get Low; Aaron Eckhart, Rabbit Hole)

Best Supporting Actress:
Rebecca Hall, The Town
Bryce Dallas Howard, Hereafter
Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right
Saoirse Ronan, The Way Back
Naomi Watts, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

(alternates: Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech; Elle Fanning, Somewhere)

Best Original Screenplay:
Another Year
The Kids Are All Right
Toy Story 3
The Tree of Life

(alternates: Hereafter; You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger)

Best Adapted Screenplay:
The King’s Speech
Love and Other Drugs
The Social Network
True Grit
The Way Back

(alternates: London Boulevard; Rabbit Hole)

“For Your Consideration” was a weekly column written by Peter Knegt, indieWIRE’s Associate Editor. Follow him on Twitter and on his blog. Check out all the previous editions of the column below. See you next awards season!
For Your Consideration: Predicting All The Oscar Winners
For Your Consideration: Predicting The Animated, Foreign & Doc Feature Winners
For Your Consideration: Predicting The Animated, Foreign & Doc Feature Winners
For Your Consideration: Predicting The Acting Winners
For Your Consideration: Predicting The Directing and Screenwriting Winners
For Your Consideration: Sundance and Next Year’s Oscars
For Your Consideration: The 10 Biggest Surprises of the Oscar Nominations
For Your Consideration: Final Oscar Predictions
For Your Consideration: Guessing The Golden Globes
For Your Consideration: Is Kathryn Bigelow a Female Director?
For Your Consideration: Re-Assessing The Major Categories
For Your Consideration: How Much Does Oscar Love a Musical?
For Your Consideration: 10 Surprises From The Spirit Award Nominations
For Your Consideration: A Guide To The Oscar Precursors
For Your Consideration: 25 Things The Academy Got Right In The 2000s
For Your Consideration: The 50 Most Despicable Oscar Snubs of the 2000s
For Your Consideration: Assessing The Major Oscar Categories
For Your Consideration: Oscar’s Gay Tendencies
For Your Consideration: 11 Underdog Performances
For Your Consideration: History Repeats as Major Foreign Films Left Off Academy List
For Your Consideration: 10 Things The Fall Fests Told Us About Awards Season

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