Alright, so the more I think about this the more I can’t really knock anyone off at this point. They all have detractors, and yet they all have so much narrative that I can’t see anyone missing at this point. Yarp, they all feel so…right! Of course, there are some other strong possibilities, and it really all depends on what films have the strongest critical response come awards season. Everything could change overnight at this point. Remember last year, pre-Cannes. Who would have ever thought an unknown like DuJardin was going to come out of nowhere and win the Oscar? So, I fully expect half of these predictions to fade away much like my initial predictions last year (Craig got nothing, Fassbender and Gosling were noted for other performances and DiCaprio held on strong despite horrid reviews only to be snubbed in the end) but WHICH ones?
Right now, here is my thoughts on the race…
1) Hugh Jackman/Les Miserables
2) Daniel Day-Lewis/Lincoln
3) John Hawkes/The Surrogate
4) Bill Murray/Hyde Park on Hudson
5) Philip Seymour Hoffman/The Master
6) Leonardo DiCaprio/The Great Gatsby
7) Terence Stamp/A Song for Marion
8) Oscar Isaac/Inside Lwelyn Davis
9) Ryan Gosling/A Place Beyond the Pines
10) Sam Riley/The Road
As far as Jackman is concerned, I think that this is an easy nomination, and possible win if Les Miserables explodes on impact. I mean, the role is to die for and Jackman has the showmanship/musical talent needed to make the part come alive. Besides, he’s paid his dues and it is time for the Academy to embrace him, and what better than for a role that is really tailor-made for him. Tom Hooper has already been embraced (something tells me they jumped the gun with that one) so I think the Academy will be kind to him since they want to validate their foolishness (I still hate them for that), but really, this is going to be epic. Jackman will be front and center and unless Crowe’s villainous role is larger than life (think DDL in Gangs of New York) and he gets promoted from obvious Supporting Actor frontrunner to Lead Actor contender, I see this being a cakewalk to Jackman all the way to the podium.
Both DDL and Hoffman are loved and they are showy. They know how to chew up scenery, and they both have rather commanding roles here. Lincoln is, well, a beloved historical icon. I firmly believe that DDL has a very slim shot at winning, despite the fact that everyone assumes he will. He already has two Oscars, one of which he won a few short years ago (in 2007) and despite his track record, the team behind this film is less successful in THIS category. In fact, Spielberg has never directed an actor to an Oscar win; ever. I think this is a really easy nomination (like, seriously…this is happening), but he won’t win. Hoffman could win, if the role is undeniable. Hoffman’s detractor though is himself. I mean, he can be so abrasive, and this role could get hammy if he isn’t restrained when needed. He can’t chew too much otherwise he could become questionable. That said, Anderson is GREAT with his actors and has led many to a nomination and directed DDL to one of the more lauded Oscar WINS in recent history. So, yeah, this could be epic.
Hawkes has a lot of buzz right now. He’s coming off a nomination two years ago and great word of mouth thanks to his disturbing turn in Martha Marcy May Marlene last year. This is a different character all together for him, and it is really right up Oscar’s ally. I mean, he’s playing a quadropolegic seeking to lose his virginity. He could very well have his own DDL moment here, if the cards fall in his favor. But, he will have to sustain buzz amidst some bigger names. At the end of the day, he could Jenkins his way into a nomination, but he’ll really have to build on his buzz at the right moment to go all the way.
And that leaves me with Bill Murray. I want him to win an Oscar if only to compensate for Sean Penn stealing his deserved one. This is a great role and looks to be a great take on the role for him. The humor is apparent in the stills alone, but there is something so light about the photos (honestly, that is all we are judging this on right now) that scares me a little. Before the photos were released, I toted Murray as our eventual winner. It just seemed right. Now, I’m doubtful. Light films garner nominations quite a bit, but they rarely win (unless the love for the actor is too much to ignore…cough…Sandra Bullock). Murray could pull this off, but I feel that for him to beat out more dramatic fare (which, let’s face it, is the more favored genre with Oscar) then he’s going to have to have a little more bite than I expect.
As for the rest, time will tell. DiCaprio will win an Oscar someday, and I actually think that Supporting Actor this year is going to be a DiCaprio/Crowe battle to the end (seriously, I cannot wait to watch that unfold). He could pull a double nomination if Baz’s take on The Great Gatsby is loved. The 1974 film was kind of awful, so I’m more than happy to see it reimagined. Gosling is bound to land a second nomination soon as well, and he did great work with this director already, so maybe he’ll make it in this year. I also think that The Road may wind up being a really good movie that hits the right notes with Oscar. I know that the trailer looked a little hard to really pinpoint, but he’s talented and the source material is said to be strong (I haven’t read it), so I could see him getting wrapped into the discussion.
But seriously, what is going on with Twelve Years a Slave? I heard 2013 and then a poster was released that said 2012 and so I got excited. If that happens this year than I think that Chiwetel Ejiofor is in. He has been flying under the radar for far too long, and the role just screams OSCAR. I just don’t know when it’ll be released, and right now IMDB has it listed as 2013, so I’m leaving him off for now.
Oh, and Eastwood will probably win this for yet another ‘grouchy old man’ performance in Trouble the Curve; but for now I’m going to pretend that that isn’t possible.
That’s it for now. I’ll tackle another category tomorrow.