Oscar Nomination Predictions (2011)

Come Tuesday, we’ll know.

That morning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will reveal this year’s Oscar nominees. But until then, Pop Break’s founders Brent Johnson and Bill Bodkin predict who will find their name on the Academy’s shortlist.

BEST PICTURE

Brent Johnson: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, The Social Network, The Town, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter’s Bone
Possible Spoilers: Another Year, 127 Hours, Blue Valentine
Longshots: Get Low, Shutter Island
Note: I’m still in favor of the Oscars switching back to only five nominees in this category. And if there actually were only five this year, here’s what I think they’d be: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The King’s Speech, The Social Network.

Bill Bodkin: 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, The Social Network, The Town, True Grit, Winter’s Bone
Possible Spoilers: Toy Story 3, Blue Valentine
Longshots: Get Low, Shutter Island, Animal Kingdom
Note: It just struck me today that Toy Story 3, as much as I loved it, doesn’t deserve to be in this category. It’s got a strong message and it’s well written, but can it seriously beat any of the other films mentioned? Should it edge out a gritty and creative noir like Winter’s Bone or a one-man tour de force like 127 Hours, I don’t think it should.

BEST ACTOR

Brent Johnson: Jeff Bridges, True Grit; Robert Duvall, Get Low; Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network; Colin Firth, The King’s Speech; James Franco, 127 Hours
Possible Spoilers: Javier Bardem, Biutiful; Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine
Longshots: Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter; Michael Douglas, Solitary Man
Note: I wouldn’t be shocked if either Bardem or Gosling take a spot from Bridges or Duvall. But Bridges and Duvall are veteran actors. And the Academy LOVES veteran actors.

Bill Bodkin: Jeff Bridges, True Grit; Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network; Colin Firth, The King’s Speech; James Franco, 127 Hours; Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter
Possible Spoilers: Javier Bardem, Biutiful; Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine; Michael Douglas, Solitary Man; Robert Duvall, Get Low
Longshot: Aaron Eckhart, Rabbit Hole; Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception; Ben Affleck, The Town; Leonardo DiCaprio, Shutter Island
Note: What does DiCaprio have to do to get an Oscar nod? He was super-strong in Shutter Island and Inception. I really think Mark Wahlberg has a shot to earn a nod over Bardem, Goslin and Duvall — all of whom are getting high praise from critics.

BEST ACTRESS

Brent Johnson: Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right; Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole; Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone; Natalie Portman, Black Swan; Hailee Steinfield, True Grit
Possible Spoilers: Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine; Hillary Swank, Conviction
Longshots: Lesley Manville, Another Year; Halle Berry, Frankie And Alice; Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right
Note: There’s no denying Steinfeld is one of the year’s best actresses … or is she one of the year’s best SUPPORTING actresses? She’s been campaigning for a nomination in the latter category, but voters may say her role as a leading one — which it was. That’s what happened when the British Academy Awards announced their nominees last week. The same happened at the Oscars a few years ago when Kate Winslet was bumped up to the Best Actress category for The Reader. Then again, Steinfeld could split too many votes and get shut out altogether, leaving way for Michelle Williams to slip in.

Bill Bodkin: Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right; Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole; Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone; Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right; Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Possible Spoilers: Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine; Hillary Swank, Conviction, Halle Berry, Frankie & Alice; Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Longshots: Noomi Rapace, The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo; Lesley Manville, Another Year; Naomi Watts, Fair Game
Note: This is one of the more intriguing and complex categories of the year. Both Steinfeld and Moore could get slotted in for best actress or supporting actress. After a number of strong performances, Williams deserves another nod, and we all know Berry does crazy very well. I think Portman and Bening are locks, while Kidman and Lawrence are almost a sure thing — but not 100-percent sewn up.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Brent Johnson: Christian Bale, The Fighter; Andrew Garfield, The Social Network; Jeremy Renner, The Town, Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right; Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
Possible Spoilers: John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone; Sam Rockwell, Conviction
Longshots: Matt Damon, True Grit; Michael Douglas, Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps; Pete Postlethwaite, The Town
Note: My guess is the ever-affable Ruffalo will slip in and garner his first career nod. But don’t count out Hawkes — who scored an all-important nomination at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Bill Bodkin: Christian Bale; The Fighter Michael Douglas, Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps; Andrew Garfield, The Social Network; Jeremy Renner, The Town; Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
Possible Spoilers: John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone; Sam Rockwell, Conviction, Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Longshots: Matt Damon, True Grit; Justin Timberlake, The Social Network; Sean Penn, Fair Game
Note: I’m taking the long shot here, but I think Douglas gets in with his a reprise of his award-winning role of Gordon Gekko. He might be the choice if voters can’t decide between Hawkes and Ruffalo. Oh, and what does Sam Rockwell have to do to get nominated … ever?

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Brent Johnson: Amy Adams, The Fighter; Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech; Mila Kunis, Black Swan, Melissa Leo, The Fighter; Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
Possible Spoilers: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit; Barbara Hershey, Black Swan
Longshots: Miranda Richardson, Made In Dagenham; Diane Wiest, Rabbit Hole
Note: Again, this category could get a shakeup if Steinfeld scores a nom here instead of Best Actress. I could also see the Academy honoring a veteran actress like Hershey or Richardson.

Bill Bodkin: Amy Adams, The Fighter; Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech; Mila Kunis, Black Swan; Melissa Leo, The Fighter; Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Possible Spoilers: Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom; Barbara Hershey, Black Swan
Longshots: Miranda Richardson, Made In Dagenham; Diane Wiest, Rabbit Hole; Ruth Sheen, Another Year
Note: If Moore AND Steinfeld are slotted into Supporting Actress, it’s going to be a tough call. Frontrunner for the fifth nom, Jacki Weaver, would get bumped, and after that … Mila Kunis? She’s gotten great reviews, but honestly she was good not great in her role. Barbara Hershey was a million times better.

BEST DIRECTOR

Brent Johnson: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan; David Fincher, The Social Network; Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech; Christopher Nolan, Inception; David O. Russell, The Fighter
Possible Spoilers: Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit; Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
Longshots: Ben Affleck, The Town; Mike Leigh, Another Year
Note: Want to know who’s likely to be nominated in this category? Take a glance at the Directors Guild Awards, where the nominees tend to land on Oscar’s list, too. Russell nudged out the Coens at the DGAs, so he’s likely to land the Academy’s love, too. (By the way, it’s a shame Affleck doesn’t have a true shot. He’s proving to be a talented director — but I have a feeling he’ll be nominated sometime soon.)

Bill Bodkin: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan; David Fincher, The Social Network; Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech; Christopher Nolan, Inception; David O. Russell, The Fighter
Possible Spoilers: Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit; Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
Longshots: Ben Affleck, The Town; Mike Leigh, Another Year; Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right
Note: I believe the Academy is a lot like the Grammy Committee. Since Metallica got royally screwed over by losing to Jethro Tull in the Best Metal Album category back in the day, they have been nominated every year, and for some really weak stuff. I believe the Coens are the Academy’s Metallica. After passing over their best works, the Coens have been nominated and honored for everything under the sun including the not-so-great A Serious Man. Couple that with Russell’s lack of standing with some of Hollywood’s elite, the Brothers may be nominated for a third straight year.

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

1 COMMENT

  1. I agree with Brent that there s/be 5 but I’m absolutely sure I would not agree with some of the choices from either of you.