Oscar Nomination Predictions (2012)

brent johnson, bill bodkin, and daniel cohen predict who they think will make the Academy’s shortlist …

Predicting this year’s Academy Award hopefuls isn’t easy.

Best Picture alone is a doozy. For decades, only five films could vie for Oscar’s top prize. But the last two years, the category was expanded to 10 nominees. This year? A film needs five percent of first-place votes to make the list. That means anywhere from five to 10 movies could be nominated. And the system seems to favor love-it-or-hate-it films like The Tree Of Life over more universal flicks like War Horse, which some Academy voters might like — but not enough to pencil in at the top spot on their ballots.

Deciding the other races is just as daunting. Will Leonardo DiCaprio land his fourth career nod for film with a lukewarm reception? Will Melissa McCarthy break the Academy’s bias against broad comedies?

Allow Pop-Break’s Brent Johnson, Bill Bodkin and Daniel Cohen to take a stab at whose names will be called when the Oscar noms are announced tomorrow morning.

BEST PICTURE

Brent Johnson’s Picks

Locks: The Artist, The Descendants, The Help, Hugo, Midnight In Paris

Have A Chance: Bridesmaids, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Moneyball, The Tree Of Life

Long Shots: War Horse, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, My Week With Marilyn

Quick Thoughts: If there were still five nominees, it’s likely the five ‘locks’ listed above would get in. The wonderful Bridesmaids seems like a long shot on the surface, but there’s a lot of love for it, from fans, critics and Academy members alike. Ditto for the underrated Moneyball. Dragon Tattoo and The Tree Of Life drew mixed reactions from critics, but they could slip in thanks to the Academy’s new first-place system. And War Horse? It has an outside chance, but how many voters really will place it at No. 1?

Bill Bodkin’s Picks

Locks: The Artist, The Help, The Descendants, Midnight In Paris

Have A Chance: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Hugo, Moneyball, War Horse, The Ides Of March, Bridesmaids

Long Shots: Carnage, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, My Week With Marilyn, Drive, Shame, J. Edgar, Coriolanus

Quick Thoughts: Good thing I don’t place bets on Oscar nominations. If you had asked me in the fall the locks for Best Picture, I would have said The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, War Horse, J. Edgar and The Ides Of March. Now, they might not be nominated at all. But Bridesmaids, Hugo, Moneyball and Tinker Tailor — I think under the new voting system, all of these have the chance to receive a No. 1 vote. Bridesmaids was the biggest and most beloved comedy of the year. Moneyball and Hugo have this crazy momentum behind it. Tinker Tailor has emerged as a late-season juggernaut, and for good reason — it’s amazing.

Daniel Cohen’s Picks

Locks: The Artist, The Descendants, The Ides Of March, Hugo, Midnight In Paris, Moneyball

Have A Chance: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Help, My Week With Marilyn, War Horse

Long Shots: Bridesmaids, Drive, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Tree Of Life, Win Win, Big Momma’s House: Like Father, Like Son

Quick Thoughts: The Help and War Horse will probably join the other locks, and that’s it. If you can rely on the Academy for one thing, it’s never going outside their comfort zone. In other words, Bridesmaids will not get nominated.

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BEST ACTOR

Brent Johnson’s Picks

Locks: George Clooney (The Descendants), Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Brad Pitt (Moneyball)

Have A Chance: Michael Fassbender (Shame), Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar), Demian Bichir (A Better Life), Ryan Gosling (Drive)

Long Shots: Michael Shannon (Take Shelter), Woody Harrelson (Rampart)

Quick Thoughts: Oldman’s recent nomination at the British Academy Awards could give him the momentum to land his first Oscar nom. (The shocking fact that he has never been nominated before is another story.) That means Leo could miss the cut for his striking portrayal of J. Edgar Hoover — a role that once seemed like a lock.

Bill Bodkin’s Picks

Locks: George Clooney (The Descendants), Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Brad Pitt (Moneyball)

Have A Chance: Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar), Michael Fassbender (Shame), Demian Bichir (A Better Life), Ryan Gosling (Drive)

Long Shots: Owen Wilson (Midnight In Paris), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (50/50), Sean Penn (The Tree Of Life), Ryan Gosling (The Ides Of March), Ralph Fiennes (Coriolanus)

Quick Thoughts: Tinker Tailor could end the runs for a lot of Oscar faves. The film was amazing, and I believe it’s the stuff the older and the cinephile members of the Academy will be enamored with, so Oldman has much as much chance to capitalize on a potential split when it comes to Clooney and Dujardin as Brad Pitt does. Also, I think Gosling’s two roles are going to cancel each other out for a spot, while Fassie gets nudged for Leo. But for some reason, I’m not counting Owen Wilson out.

Daniel Cohen’s Picks

Locks: George Clooney (The Descendants), Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar), Jean Dujardin (The Artist)

Have A Chance: Brad Pitt (Moneyball), Michael Fassbender (Shame), Ryan Gosling (The Ides Of March)

Long Shots: Demian Bichir (A Better Life), Ryan Gosling (Drive), Owen Wilson (Midnight In Paris), Nick Swardson (Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star)

Quick Thoughts: Even with two great performances this year, Gosling could get shut out. Between Fassbender, Pitt, and Gosling, one has to lose out. Unfortunately, I think it’s Gosling.

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BEST ACTRESS

Brent Johnson’s Picks

Locks: Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Viola Davis (The Help), Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn)

Have A Chance: Tilda Swinton (We Ned To Talk About Kevin), Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)

Long Shots: Charlize Theron (Young Adult) Elizabeth Olsen (Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene), Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia), Olivia Colman (Tyrannosaur)

Quick Thoughts: Only Swinton’s spot seems questionable. Mara’s daring role could sneak in if Dragon Tattoo lands enough support in other categories. The biggest question is if Davis can hold off Streep for the win.

Bill Bodkin’s Picks

Locks: Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Viola Davis (The Help)

Have A Chance: Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn), Tilda Swinton (We Need To Talk About Kevin), Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia), Charlize Theron (Young Adult), Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)

Long Shots: Elizabeth Olsen (Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene), Helen Mirren (The Debt), Olivia Colman, (Tyrannosaur), Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids)

Quick Thoughts: Williams should be a lock, but my big question is: How will Carnage‘s Kate Winslet and Jody Foster be categorized? Will they be support actresses or lead actresses? If they are lead actresses, then you could slot one of them into this category. I really think Mara’s momentum has all but died out, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Williams, Swinton or Theron round the field. Also don’t discount Dunst’s return to dramatic form.

Daniel Cohen’s Picks

Locks: Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn)

Have A Chance: Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Viola Davis (The Help), Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Tilda Swinton (We Need To Talk About Kevin), Charlize Theron (Young Adult)

Long Shots: Jodie Foster (Carnage), Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids), Kate Winslet (Carnage), Adam Sandler (Jack & Jill)

Quick Thoughts: I’ve never been so lost on an Oscar category before. I have no read on this award. I think Streep and Williams are in a dead heat, though.

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Brent Johnson’s Picks

Locks: Kenneth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn), Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Christopher Plummer (Beginners)

Have A Chance: Albert Brooks (Drive), Nick Nolte (Warrior), Max Von Sydow (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close), Armie Hammer (J. Edgar)

Long Shots: Jim Broadbent (The Iron Lady), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Ides Of March), George Clooney (The Ides Of March)

The supporting categories are often the most unpredictable, and this year appears no different. The final two slots seem up for grabs, though Brooks and Nolte are past nominees who could draw veteran support. The same goes for Von Sydow, though Extremely Loud’s poor awards-season performance could hurt his chances. Broadbent and Hoffman shook the race up a bit last week when they were both nominated by the British Academy, but they’re unlikely to do the same here.

Bill Bodkin’s Picks

Locks: Kenneth Brannagh (My Week With Marilyn), Christopher Plummer (Beginners)

Have A Chance: Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Max Von Sydow (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close), Albert Brooks (Drive)

Long Shots: Viggo Mortensen (A Dangerous Method), Patton Oswalt (Young Adult), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (The Ides Of March), George Clooney (The Ides Of March), Paul Giamatti (The Ides Of March), James Cromwell (The Artist), John Hawkes (Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene), Nick Nolte (Warrior)

Quick Thoughts: This is basically Plummer’s category, so everyone else is just getting the honor of a nomination. It’d be fun and deserving to see Hill get in, he did a fantastic job in Moneyball. However, I could see the Academy going for tried and true past nominees like Hoffman or Viggo instead. As much as I’d love to see Warrior get some love, I think even Nolte’s acclaimed performance will get shut out.

Daniel Cohen’s Predictions

Locks: Kenneth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn), Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Christopher Plummer (Beginners)

Have A Chance: Albert Brooks (Drive), Armie Hammer (J. Edgar), Viggo Mortensen (A Dangerous Method), Nick Nolte (Warrior)

Long Shots: Alan Rickman (Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2), Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2), George Clooney (The Ides Of March), Ben Kingsley (Hugo), Thor’s Hammer (Thor)

Quick Thoughts: Plummer is old and has never gotten it. He wins.

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SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Brent Johnson’s Picks

Locks: Berenice Bejo (The Artist), Octavia Spencer (The Help)

Have A Chance: Jessica Chastain (The Help), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs)

Long Shots: Vanessa Redgrave (Coriolanus), Carey Mulligan (Shame), Judi Dench (My Week With Marilyn)

Quick Thoughts: Only Bejo and Spencer seem safe here. The illuminating Chastain could get support for doing stellar work in a few films this year. The sharp Woodley could benefit from a wave of Descendants support. And Melissa McCarthy could become a rarity: a nominee from a true comedy (think Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda or Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny). But don’t count out McTeer, a past nominee who gender-bends in a serious film.

Bill Bodkin’s Picks

Locks: Berenice Bejo (The Artist, Octavia Spencer (The Help)

Have A Chance: Kate Winslet (Carnage), Jodie Foster (Carnage), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs), Shailene Woodley (The Descendants)

Long Shots: Judi Dench (J. Edgar), Jessica Chastain (The Help)

Quick Thoughts: Carnage is going to be the Tinker Tailor of this category. It’s highly unlikely that the Academy will deny both Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet nominations for a Roman Polanski film. This is a prime Oscar-bait film. And as I said above, both the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress noms, in my opinion, hinge on where the ladies of Carnage are nominated. I sincerely believe if McCarthy gets the nod, if she doesn’t it would be a massive snub. I also believe Janet McTeer, who was dynamite in Albert Nobbs, squeaks in if the Academy decides to move the Carnage crew to Best Actresses or snub them altogether.

Daniel Cohen’s Picks:

Locks: Berenice Bejo (The Artist), Octavia Spencer (The Help), Janet McTear (Albert Nobbs)

Have A Chance: Jessica Chastain (The Help), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Shailene Woodley (The Descendants)

Long Shots: Rachael McAdams (Midnight In Paris), Marion Cotillard (Midnight In Paris), Barbie Prime (Transformers: Dark Of The Moon)

Quick Thoughts: While Bridesmaids won’t get a Best Picture nomination, they’ll probably throw a bone to McCarthy. This is a solid race between Bejo and Spencer, though.

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BEST DIRECTOR

Brent Johnson’s Picks

Locks: Woody Allen (Midnight In Paris), Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), Alexander Payne (The Descendants), Martin Scorcese (Hugo)

Have A Chance: Tate Taylor (The Help), David Fincher (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Terrence Malick (The Tree Of Life), Steven Spielberg (War Horse)

Long Shots: Bennett Miller (Moneyball), Tomas Alfredson (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Lynne Ramsay (We Need To Talk About Kevin), George Clooney (The Ides Of March), Stephen Daldry (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)

Quick Thoughts: The last spot is really the only question. The Directors Guild — often a fine Oscar prognosticator — picked Fincher. Malick, a well-respected vet, could draw support from the Academy’s powerful directors’ branch for his off-kilter work. Spielberg and Clooney’s films have waned this awards season. Alfredson and Ramsay scored shocking noms from the British Academy. But don’t be surprised if Taylor ekes in for The Help, a widely loved picture, even if the direction is less showy than the rest of the contenders.

Bill Bodkin’s Picks

Locks: Woody Allen (Midnight In Paris), Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), Alexander Payne (The Descendants), Martin Scorsese (Hugo)

Have A Chance: Terrence Malik (The Tree Of Life), Steven Spielberg (War Horse), George Clooney (The Ides Of March)

Long Shot: Bennett Miller (Moneyball), Tomas Alfredson (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Lynne Ramsay (We Need To Talk About Kevin), Roman Polanski (Carnage), Clint Eastwood (J. Edgar)

Quick Thoughts: The locks are a mixture of the film standard (Allen, Scorsese), the independent (Payne) and the outrageous (Hazanavicius). There are a lot of contenders for the fifth spot, and I honestly think they’re putting Spielberg in for the epic scope and grandeur of War Horse.

Daniel Cohen’s Picks

Locks: Woody Allen (Midnight In Paris), Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), Alexander Payne (The Descendants), Martin Scorsese (Hugo)

Have A Chance: George Clooney (The Ides Of March), David Fincher (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Bennett Miller (Moneyball), Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive), Steven Spielberg (War Horse), Terrence Malick (The Tree Of Life)

Long Shots: Tate Taylor (The Help), David Yates (Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2), Tim Tebow (Denver Broncos)

Quick Thoughts: I have a lot of people competing for that last spot. At the end of the day, it will be Clooney.

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