Sunday, April 11, 2010

Oscar Prediction Discussables, The Actors!

Immediately after I settled upon my Best Supporting Actor predictions...
  • Christian Bale, The Fighter
  • Ed Harris, The Way Back
  • Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech
  • Brad Pitt, Tree of Life
  • Justin Timberlake, The Social Network
I was like 'Nathaniel, MARK RUFFALO!???' Alas, I couldn't quite predict it. Sometimes wishful thinking is okay and other times it feels like jinxing something. I think Ruffalo is fab in The Kids Are All Right, but like most of his work there's something that I think reads too effortless about it for awards bodies. Voting bodies tend to prefer sweaty and effortful (one might say gimmicky and over the top) to easy nuanced naturalism.

The Timberlake thing is a wild card pic. I think the role sounds good and I like to take risks. Shut up. Read all about it. As a non fan of Geoffrey Rush (sorry!), I'm not excited about predicting him but it seems like a totally obvious call. Since he's already achieved showbiz's Triple Crown (if not the EGOT) I'm hoping we see some new blood in there like Ruffalo or Sam Rockwell or Vincent Cassel or Aaron Eckhart (who ostensibly has a leading role in Rabbit Hole but you never know with film versions and campaigns). That is, providing any of them are worthy of a nomination.

I'm sorry to be redundant but it's a point worth underlining. Oscar predictions are never preferences nor can they be. Until we see the films who knows which performances we should root for?

Over in Best Actor, I've ditched almost all the obvious Oscar Bait Names like Bridges, Depp, Clooney and Penn. I can't fully explain why. Maybe I'm thinking this year will be a little less redundant? I feel less confident in this category but sometimes you just type away about your foolish year-in-advance hunches and afterwards you're like "Self. You crazy!"
  • Robert Duvall, Get Low
  • Colin Farrell, The Way Back
  • Colin Firth, The King's Speech
  • Mel Gibson, The Beaver
  • Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter
Obviously you should click over to the Best Actor Page to see the madness behind the calls.

As for Robert Duvall in Get Low....

I'm seeing the film this week but I've been skeptical despite all the huzzahs over last year's festival season. I think what happened was that when publicists get over enthusiastic it raises too many alarms with me. I remember one press release claiming that not just Duvall but Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek gave "the performance of their careers" and I'm like 'huh, what now? Better than Lost in Translation? Better than Carrie or Badlands or Coal Miner's Daughter or... I mean ' Have you seen how great Sissy Spacek is in several movies? So I immediately became VERY suspicious of the hype surrounding this film. Which is why I think that I've only predicted it for this sole nomination. I hope the film is all they're saying it is because I'm actually seeing it with the ol' gang from the podcast very soon.

Incidentally if you're semi new to following the Oscars (as I know some newish readers are) you should know that Duvall, missing from the Oscar field for a little over a decade now, is one of their all time favorites. In fact, he's just outside their Top Ten Ever. When it comes to male actors it breaks down like so:

Oscar's Favorite Men
  1. Jack Nicholson (12 nominations, 3 wins)
  2. Sir Laurence Olivier (10 nominations, 1 win)
  3. Spencer Tracy (9 nominations, 2 wins)
  4. Paul Newman (9 nominations, 1 win)
  5. (tie) Marlon Brando and Jack Lemmon (8 nominations, 2 wins)
  6. Al Pacino (8 nominations, 1 win)
  7. Peter O'Toole (8 nominations, 0 wins)
  8. Dustin Hoffman (7 nominations, 2 wins)
  9. Richard Burton (7 nominations, 0 wins)
  10. (tie) Michael Caine and Robert DeNiro (6 nominations, 2 wins)
  11. Robert Duvall (6 nominations, 1 win)
Who are you excited about this year in the male acting categories?
And what do you think of this first batch of predictions? [complete prediction list thus far]


Anonymous said...

Seems like a few too many previous nominees/famous people to me. There are usually more newcomers and unrewarded veterans in play at the end of the year.

Simon said...

Timberlake and Ruffalo seem a bit of a stretch, but everyone else is very possible.

Lev Lewis said...

"Get Low" is awful. Bland to an excruciating degree. Duvall does little other than totter around and grumble and cry a little towards the end. Be wary.

Of course, that doesn't mean he won't get a nomination, but anybody who says this is career best work from him is off their rocker.

adri said...

For Supporting Actor, the complete list of possibles seems really good. I'd like to see Ruffalo in the final five, too. My pick for surest bet would be Dustin Hoffman in "Barney's Version". I loved the Mordecai Richler book it's based on.

While I'm skeptical about Paul Giamatti playing the 60ish Jewish literary enfant-terrible-grown-old hero, Hoffman's part as the hero's dad, a sly old fox, is the kind of part Alan Arkin plays (and could have been cast here). And doesn't Hoffman have a record of being nominated in every decade?

Danielle said...

I don't think there's any way Farrell will be lead in The Way Back. The reviews all point to this being Sturgess' movie. And Farrell is also the definitive lead in London Boulevard. I think they'll push him supporting in this.

NoNo said...

I'm really happy that you went to Sundance and saw a good majority of the films that's being buzzed about. I think the most aggrevating thing about last season was that in spite of all the buzz Precious and An Education received, it seemed that very few on the internet saw it. Yet, the few that did really said nothing more than hyperboles like "Monique will win the Oscar!" and "Carey Mulligan is the new Audrey Hepburn!"

Nel said...

No, Sam Rockwell? No, Sam Rockwell? - Geesh, what's a guy gotta to do get a predix around here.

I agree with Simon - Timberlake would have to be aweinspring.

Alex Constantin said...

uh, I thought CHRISTIAN BALE might also go leading, considering the story is about the 2 brothers, right? And Bale obviously has the more Oscarish role!

Danielle said...

I really love your Supporting Actor predictions.. they all make perfect sense and seem to fit just right.

In Best Actor, aside from the Farrell mention (as discussed earlier), I like those also, albeit not as much. I don't see Wahlberg getting in; early screenings (which, I know, don't amount to much) haven't been shining for him.

And, this deserves it's own paragraph, this HAS to be McAvoy's year! After barely missing out for Atonement and delivering a very strong performance in The Last King of Scotland, The Conspirator has to be his ticket to a first nomination. He's been steadily building, and I think The Conspirator will be a big player in the Oscars this year (picture, director, actor, + actress).

Here are my predictions for actor:
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Johnny Depp, The Rum Diary
Colin Farrell, London Boulevard
Robert Duvall, Get Low
James McAvoy, The Conspirator

Probably too famous, but I have two newbies, one coming off a win, one overdue for a win, and one long-standing veteran.

And supporting actor;:
Sam Rockwell, Betty Anne Waters
Ed Harris, The Way Back
Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech
Bill Murray, Get Low
Christian Bale, The Fighter

Cinesnatch said...
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Cinesnatch said...
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James T said...

So, if duVall gets nominated, (which is almost inevitable) DeNiro will be out of the top 10? He's going to be furious! :p

I hope Ed Harris is great and wins.

Nathaniel, that Bale pic is scaring meeee :p

Cinesnatch said...


my friend's take on Sandra Bullock's last month

Robert Hamer said...

Wait a minute, so who is the lead in The Way Back? 'Cause I always thought it was Harris and Farrell who were the lead players, especially since it's Harris who is the American inmate.

And even though category fraud is a major thing with Oscar, I just don't see how Christian Bale wouldn't be considered a lead in The Fighter.

None of this really matters as far as Best Supporting Actor, though, since I still believe that Bill Murray has already won it.

rubi-kun said...

What about Sam Jackson for Mother and Child? I remember him getting festival raves.

Danielle said...

Robert, all the test screenings have indicated that Sturgess has the most lead time and will probably be campaigned lead. I've also read that Farrell has the least amount out of the four principle characters.

Carl said...


On the subject of hunch bets, I get warm fuzzies when thinking about "Secretariat" at this early date, and I suspect the John Malkovich role will be among his most accessible in years - and he is yet another in the 'long overdue' semi-pantheon of un-honored actors. Slide him into the Harris spot, and I would go with your Supporting list. (And when is Barry Pepper going to have a chance to give one of his phenomenal turns in a movie that people will actually see? Oh yeah, "True Grit"...)

On the lead page - I get no heat off of "The Way Back", as you might have guessed, and I suspect Colin Farrell is going to draw Supporting consideration, as you noted, if the movie gets any awards traction at all. That provides a space for Johnny Depp to get recognition for revisiting the Hunter S. Thompson catalog in "Rum Diary", for which I get a stronger vibe than "The Way Back". Bruce Robinson has the writing chops to deliver a great, can he direct Depp to an unignorable performance?

rubi-kun said...

Also, what about Andy Serkis in Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll? No official US release yet but he did get a BAFTA.

monkey101 said...

You know sometime I really wish the oscars were not a popularity contest sometimes I wish they only give newcomer's (Bale, Rockwell, Farrell, etc) nominations and maybe one two veterans (Clooney, Pitt, Penn, Bridges, etc)

badmotherfucker said...

This may be a bit off-topic but someone needs to tell the makers of Get Low that Robert Duvall and Lil' Jon do not belong in the same sentence, let alone the same thought processes.

Unknown said...

oh come on... I wanna see the best actress predictions!

rosengje said...

I actually think Colin Farrell's part in "London Boulevard" is fantastic. He has been riding a wave of goodwill over the past few years, and I would love to see that turn into a nomination.

No Bad Movies said...

The way I heard it, and the synopsis, is that Colin Farrell is the third actor in The Way Back with Jim Sturgess getting the most lines of all the actors. Ed Harris getting the second most.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

My gf caught me looking at these April predix and said, "Oh, calm the fuck down, it's not even August." Does she not understand?!?

I'm not sure about that Gibson nod. It's really a little too loopy for Oscar, isn't it? As for supporting, Bale, Harris and Rush all make sense...unless they push Rush as a co-lead or something. Who knows after that?

dbm said...

After seeing all these names and movies, this looks to be a great year. I think Leo is a lock if he is half way good in Inception because you know the film is going to be seen by many.
I don't know about Jeff Bridges getting two nods two yeaers in a row. Could the newcomer actually outshine him ? Because it's basically her ( Mattie ) movie.
If 127 Hours comes out in 2010 I think Franco will be in the discussion. It's a true story. An incredible story at that. And it's a very similar role to Cast Away just this time a climber is stuck on a mountain and has to amputate his own arm to save himself from dying. Then make it down the mountain safely.
Even though Bale may be a co-lead in The Fighter, it's most likey if he gets a Oscar nod, it will be in support, because the story isn't about his comeback. It's about Mickey's.
Sam Rockwell as the unjustly imprisoned brother of Batty Anne will get to toss in some theatrics. Talk about being due a nod. In all his supporting roles he's been good. I thought he should have been nominated for Matchstick Men. He was good in The Green Mile. In Jesse James as well. Then Choke and Moon ? He's done some real solid work over the years.
I'm also with the person about Malkovich. He's playing the great Lucien Laurin. Secretariat's trainer.
Put it this way, for the first time in many years, every category is going to be tough to pick just 5people for each category.

evermoon said...

Here's mine:

Robert Duvall (Get Low)
James Franco (127 Hours)
Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine)
Stephen Dorff (Somewhere)
Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter)

Christian Bale (The Fighter)
Zach Galifianakis (It's Kind of a Funny Story)
Jack Nicholson (How Do You Know)
Sam Rockwell (Betty Anne Waters)
Mark Ruffalo (The Kids are All Right)

Alex said...

I really don't get good vibes from THE BEAVER. They're like AUSTRALIA vibes. That's how bad. Yeesh. I still shudder when I think about AUSTRALIA.

Are we sure Rush and Firth are in the right places for THE KING'S SPEECH? I feel like Rush as lead would be more interesting.

I was thinking about MORNING GLORY the other day and thought Harrison Ford could maybe get a DEVIL WEARS PRADA nod if he's good enough. It seems like that type of role...

Jordan Ruimy said...

I know Timberlake is a competent actor but still Timberlake??

Cinesnatch said...

Saving "Best Actress" for last, huh?

Haha. How you tease.

Glenn said...

It all sounds acceptable at this stage of the game, although I don't reckon Pitt will be getting there again.

I've sorta been thinking that Ed Harris would win whatever category he inevitably gets nominated for since I read about The Way Back. I kinda think that movie will hit really big anyway since it's Peter Weir who is as criminally under-rewarded as people like Harris.

Chris Na Taraja said...

it always amazes me that you are able to make Oscar Predictions for next year! I mean, it's not even December yet!!

Bill the Butcher said...

@ Chris... well 1) It's fun and people have been doing this for ages 2) it gives you, the movie goer, a platform to throw your two cents in who you think or want to get nominated. And we are almost in May now, time flies and as each day goes by, people are going to get a better idea who are really going to be heavily in the discussion for Oscar nominations.

John T said...

James T-maybe that means that de Niro will actually make a watchable film again? Let's hope so!

Timberlake would have to be Jennifer Hudson level amazing in order to get in here-they tend to reward singers who cross over, but they are usually women.

And Ed Harris seems the most likely to win this year-this would be his fifth nomination, he's been the frontrunner for that win twice (1995 and 1998), and probably was in second or third place in 2000. The Academy likes to repeat successful models year-after-year, and they may want the warm fuzzies we got when Bridges won to repeat with Harris.

kyle said...

interesting choices but here's my predictions
Robert Duval: Get Low
Leonardo DiCaprio:Shutter Island
Johnny Depp:The Rum Diary
Kevin Spacey:Casino Jack
James Franco:Howl

Ben Kingsly: Shutter Island
Bill Murray: Get Low
Christian Bale:The Fighter
Richard Jenkins:Eat Pray Love
Josh Brolin: True Grit

W.C. said...

Every other sentence you're apologizing for doing these early picks b/c no one's seen anything. We get it. Stop apologizing. We wouldn't be here if we weren't eagerly awaiting your thoughts. We know the score. The constant apologizing is annoying.

And Justin Timberlake for Best Supporting Actor? In the words of the dearly departed Angie Tempura, "Bitchhhh, pleeeeaseeee!"

Janice said...

No Aaron Eckhardt? Everyone's predicting (hoping?) that Rabbit Hole gets Nicole and dir. Cameron their next nods - but no love for Eckhardt here? To be at her best, Nicole needs: 1) a great director who is willing to push her, and 2) a great co-star. I'm not sure if Eckhardt is "great" but he's very good, and underrated. Which could be the problem - Oscars likes scenery chewing, understatement just isn't there style.

Also, if Oscar notices Nicole, they tend not to notice her costar (see: McGregor, Ewan. See also: Dillane, Stephen.) On the other hand, Nicole has gotten no love from AMPAS in nearly 10 years (despite excellent work in Dogville, Birth, etc.), so that might not be so much of a problem if Eckhardt does really good work here.

Janice said...

BTW - THAT'S Christian Bale? I didn't even recognize him without the caption.

John T said...

Janice-I'd tend to disagree. All things being equal, the Academy would love to welcome Kidman back (movie star glamour, ratings galore, and they do like to have a legend-in-the-making around every once in a while) more than Eckhart (not necessarily marquee just yet, and has been on the verge for so long that this may be as big as it gets for him).

Marcos Celesia said...
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Marcos Celesia said...

Just yesterday I saw the preview for Michael Caine's thriller Harry Brown. As far as his performance goes (at least what they showed) had Oscar Nomination written all over.
The Academy loves him and, if they remember this performance come voting time, I'm sure he could be a contender.

Dominik said...

Nathaniel, I don't see Farrell or how a man with a puppet is Oscar worthy, and I don't dig Timberlake.
But as you say we know nothing by now (apart from that: Ed Harris wins ;-) ), and I also feel like posting my lists. Of course, little do I know… Other than me, you’ve been doing that for years. All I’ve done before is comparing Globe nominees to Oscar nominees in early February/late January, and being repulsed by most coincidences and puzzled by all differences... Here we go…

Best Actor
Matt Damon - Hereafter - because last year Eastwood + Damon was = Oscar nod
Johnny Depp - Rum Diary - because I miss their love for him
Robert Duvall - Get Low - just because
Ryan Gosling - All Good Things - because didn't you post "Blue Valentine" is released on December 31st?
Brad Pitt - The Tree of Life - because big star and also half-way respected actor = due for another nod

if Brad is supporting, as you suggest, the fifth spot belongs to:
James Franco - 127 Hours

if that movie doesn't come out before 2011 my next pick is:
Colin Firth - The King's Speech

the next two closest spots being:
Javier Bardem - Biutiful (I say: Gonzalez Innaritu will be in Best Director)
Michael Sheen - The Special Relationship (the obligatory newbie if Franco is moved to 2011)

Best Supporting Actor
Ed Harris - The Way Back
Dennis Quaid - The Special Relationship
John C. Reilly - Cyrus (do you call that a wild card?)
Mark Ruffalo - The Kids Are All Right
Michael Shannon - The Runaways

If Brad is supporting as you suggest, Dennis is out!

If he is in, the two closest runners-up are:
Christian Bale - The Fighter - well, after I saw that pic on your predictions page... I guess I have to move him up to the first spot *lol*
Bill Murray - Get Low

Can't wait to see your list of Best Lead and Supporting Actresses, and how far your lists are away from mine. Your picking of Timberlake for Supporting Actor and your appearent love for Burlesque makes me fear Christina Aguilera wasn't an April's fool joke after all...

Anonymous said...

My predictions:

-Colin Firth, The King's Speech
-Jim Sturgess, The Way Back
-James Franco, The 127th Hour
-Jake Gyllenhaal, Love and Other Drugs
-Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception
Alt: Stephen Dorff, Somewhere

-Ed Harris, The Way Back
-Andrew Garfield, Never Let Me Go/The Social Network
-Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Inception
-Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech
-Justin Timberlake, The Social Network
Alt: Zach Galifianakis, It's a Kind of Funny Story

Dominik said...

By the way... is "Shutter Island" out of the game? Yes, I've learned by reading your blog: its early release is like an antidote against Oscar... but it's not ineligible, or is it? I kinda see Michelle Williams as supporting actress, and Scorsese as director, and I c o u l d imagine DiCapiro as lead actor (though the Oscars love him way less than the Globes do) and Ruffalo or Kingsley as supporting actor (though not really).

FrenchGirl said...

Colin Farrell is "lost" for me since "miami vice"(but another side, i see nothing with him since 3 years except "crazy heart" and "in brudges")and i dislike Timberlake as actor(if he's great in "facebook" movie,Fincher is "lost" for me)

dbm said...

@ Dominik... You will be surprised at how The Beaver will turn out. 1) It was one of the most sought after scripts to be made into a movie when it was being shopped 2) Jodie Foster is a very capable person to be handling the directing chores 3) Don't let " the Puppet factor " sway your thinking in the premise not being good or well acted. Mel can do comedy. He's a natural. And this premise is so quirky if done right ( which most likely it will be ) it will be one of the films that word of mouth will spread. I'm sure 60 years ago people scoffed at James Stewart playing a man who's best friend was a 6 foot tall invisible rabbit. That sounds silly now, could you imagine what people thought in 1950 ? Yet it score Stewart an Oscar nomination.
It certainly could happen for Mel just because the performance will no doubt cause word of mouth as I said before.
He also has never been nominated as an actor yet. Don't underestimate the power of quirky, but well written material.

Dominik said...

@dbm: Okay, I don't mind being surprised. I haven't heard of the story before (it's - what is the academy term - "based on material previously written or published" I understand, right), so if I knew it my opinion would probably be completely different. I'm getting a little curious to see it.
But I'm still betting against its Oscar chances - if only because everything that could be in can't be in after all.


@W.C. -- point taken but you'd be surprised how few people understand that predictions are meant to be a fun game rather than a THIS WILL HAPPEN matter of utmost seriousness.

@Dominick -- i've seen Cyrus. John C Reilly is the unquestionable lead. It's a pretty good movie but not really Oscary. all three of the stars are good though. Marisa Tomei is just so damn dependable, isn't she?

as for shutter island. Maybe i'm wrong but i just can't imagine it sustaining its buzz for a year. that said, i am not opposed to the notion that some films can. Just not that one, i think. But i literally can't imagine Michelle Williams making it in. It just isn't an impactful enough role once the bait starts arriving.

@Janice and John T -- i'm still debating Kidman. I wish i had more time to finish this stuff. argh. as you know i think she's brill. But even if this is her best performance ever, oscar is no slam dunk. Oscar requires some degree of love and "love" is not something people have been feeling for her unfortunately.

@DBM -- i totally agree about Franco. I was just assuming 2011.

jawz said...

As of April 2010, I'm holding out for Gibson as a dark horse nod for The Beaver. Like the other person said, it will have the Harvey factor going for it. Also, this could be seen as somewhat of an acting comeback for Mel, and if he's good, which the role will allow him to chew scenery, maybe the Academy might think he's due an acting nomination.

Janice said...

@ Nathaniel: What do you MEAN, it's not serious? Lives are hanging in the balance, man! *inserts tongue in cheek*

That sentence "Marisa Tomei is just so damn dependable, isn't she?" is for me perhaps one of the biggest "turnarounds" in terms of the way an actor is perceived this decade, right up there with "Penelope Cruz is a great actress" and "RDJ is box-office gold". Not saying she wasn't always good, but the way she disappeared for ten years....'nuff said. I'm glad she's back and getting the respect she deserves.

And I didn't mean to go off-track into actress-land (again) but they are more interesting, aren't they? (Can you imagine anyone calling themselves an "actorsexual"?) In regards Eckhardt/Kidman it seems to me that at this point either you or John T might be right. She does have a lot of respect within the industry, if what I read is correct (not that I have any inside dope, alas); but respect and "love" are not the same things. Also, she's less aggressive, less hungry about her career right now - baby, family, nothing to prove at this point. (Except that she can open a film and have it be a BO hit a la Sandra Bullock, and I don't see that happening - ever.) So she's not likely to campaign hard for herself, IMO.

I can imagine her campaigning on Eckhardt's behalf however, even if behind the scenes. How interested he is in campaigning for himself however, I have no idea. He doesn't seem to put himself out there publicly all that much? I have no concept of him as a person or "celebrity", which I guess confirms John T's post right there.

sp said...

I'm rooting for James McAvoy & Mark Ruffalo- two splendid actors who previously deserved Oscar nominations.

I here Brad Pitt is very good in the "Tree Of Life" . He portrays a mean- spirited abusive husband & father. The Academy love villian roles if it is done with justice.

Anonymous said...

Sturgess is the most central character in The Way Back...Harris and Ronan are supposedly ahead of Farrell in screentime and his character is definately NOT in the book, Weir wrote the role in for him.