I’m just going to post these as I get them done and hope to have them all done by the end of the month so I can officially call these my ‘August Predictions’.
This is kind of a one man show at this point. DiCaprio is going to win. With that usually comes a surprise (which I’ve predicted). When one actor is hogging the bulk of the votes then you usually have a surprise or two sneak in on nomination morning (just look at Bardem last year…which wouldn’t have happened had Firth not been the obvious winner since Jan. 2010).
Here are my thoughts at the moment:
1) Leonardo DiCaprio/J. Edgar:
WHY? Leonardo is going to win an Oscar one day, and what better role to take him there than playing a real person who lived a very controversial life in a film by Clint Eastwood? Seriously, the stars are all aligned for DiCaprio to finally win gold. He’s beloved; his on-screen romantic partner just won HER Oscar and this role is baity as hell. He’ll be showboating for sure, and Oscar loved theatrics. Plus, he ages decades here, and that is usually a good thing (Oscar loves it when you act through makeup). Seriously, there is no con here. Unless the film is a total bust (which I’m counting it NOT to be) then he’s in it to win it. Besides, he may be young but he’s overdue.
2) Ryan Gosling/The Ides of March:
WHY? He’s supremely talented and has made a name for himself since his Oscar nominated performance in ‘Half Nelson’. Coming off of that horrendous snub last year (he should have won the damn thing), I think he’s in a great place for his second nomination. He’s having a huge year, staring in three diverse films and so his name and face are everywhere. That, and this is a political drama that looks uber baity directed by Oscar’s newfound crush George Clooney. It’s a plum role that allows Gosling to charm the pants off of voters and so this will be an easier pill to swallow than the bitterly honest husband he played last year. If it weren’t for the overdue factor of DiCaprio’s career, I’d say that Gosling posed more of a threat for the win.
3) Gary Oldman/Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy:
WHY? He’s Gary Oldman and he’s never been nominated. Oh, and the film looks AMAZING. The role looks very reserved and quiet, but it may be just the right kind of brooding performance that lands him recognition. He’s buzzed right now, I mean…everyone is talking up his chances. It would obviously come from a ‘career nod’ type angle, which I NEVER can get behind (judge the work at hand, not the work you snubbed) but he genuinely looks great here and if the film is a success then his name will be called on nomination morning.
4) Jean Dujardin/The Artist:
WHY? The praise surrounding this performance is unbelievable. Every critic praises him up and down, and it looks to be a delightfully charming and well-rounded display of actorly talent. I’d place him higher, and I probably should, but while I think the film is going to get swallowed up in nominations, I just think that Dujardin has no shot at a win. This isn’t the type of performance that Oscar awards gold to; at least not as of late. It’s silent, he’s foreign, it’s fun and charming. Oscar likes English language performances that force emotions through sprained facial expressions. Besides; this isn’t Best Actress. They aren’t going to award the ‘hot young new guy’ over also-rans like DiCaprio or veterans like Oldman.
5) Thomas Horn/Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close:
WHY? The role, in a nutshell, is baity as fuck. I mean, in all honesty, this is like the greatest child character handed out in decades. If Horn nails this then I can’t see him NOT being nominated. I know that Oscar NEVER does this (they like their ACTRESSES young, not the other way around) but I just have this feeling…I mean, this is a boy who lost his father in 9/11, wanders the streets seeking that special connection while harboring a dark secret that will devastate the hell out of you. All he has to do is nail the ONE scene where he uncovers his secret and the whole world will be putty in his hands.
6) Michael Fassbender/A Dangerous Method:
WHY? He’s making a great name for himself, and like Gosling, he’s having one hell of a year. The only difference is that Gosling is a former nominee and he’s starring in a political drama directed by Clooney. Fassbender may be in a biopic, but it’s a kinky one directed by Cronenberg. There is a big difference. I don’t have the highest of expectations for him, and judging from early word it is Mortensen and Knightley who steal the show, so he may get lost in the shuffle. There is still a chance for him if the film is received well. If nothing else, it puts his name out there or another year.
7) Brad Pitt/Moneyball:
WHY? I think the film looks dreadfully boring, but it is written by last years Oscar winner and directed by a former nominee so you never know. It looks very Disney or whatever, but Sandra Bullock just won an Oscar for basically doing a Disney movie so yay for Brad Pitt. He’s having a good year, and many will certainly remember him from Tree of Life too. Besides, people love him and I’m sure some really want him to have an Oscar. He won’t win this year, not unless J. Edgar bombs to epic proportions, but if Moneyball is a big crowd pleaser and not another ‘For the Love of the Game’ then it could land him in the top five.
8) Michael Shannon/Take Shelter:
WHY? Supposedly, he’s amazing in this. The film is small and not really Oscar’s cup-o-tea (supernatural thriller of sorts) but he got raves for his performance and he is a previous (surprise) nominee, so he could surprise again. In fact, if he’s nominated I kind of see it being one of those Javier Bardem moments from last year. He probably won’t be sited anywhere else but he will have lots of loud supporters rising up in the Actors branch that will push to have him WIN and he’ll wind up coming in 5th because of it.
9) Joseph Gordon-Levitt/50 50:
WHY? I love him and he’s going to be nominated one day, and he’s been working his way towards that with interested projects that show his range. He’s a very good actor who can handle drama and comedy, and he’s one that can blend them effortlessly, which is why 50/50 seems like an ideal money ticket for him. The trailer looks great (and he looks great in it) and while it’s a Seth Rogan film, those usually have noted performances (Franco, Mann, Rudd etc.) so Gordon-Levitt is pretty primed to win the Globe and, if he can pull this off (can he make cancer funny…I think so) then he could really go the extra mile, especially if Oscar thinks Brad is boring and Oldman is too quiet and Fassbender is too hot.
10) Daniel Craig/The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo:
WHY? I said this at the beginning of the year and I’ll say it again; Daniel Craig is a talented actor who just needs the right role to land on the Oscar shortlist. I think this could be that role. It’s a great one, but it does take a backseat to the showier and memorable one, so it will still be an uphill climb to get nominated. That said, if the film is as huge as I (and many others) project then he’ll be on the radar. In fact, I think it’s silly that no one else is calling this. I kind of hope he gets nominated so I can say that I was the ONLY PERSON predicting him all year.