For Your Consideration: The Acting Categories

This week many of the top awards societies and associations are giving out awards and nominations, making some Oscar predictions more obvious and others much more murky territory. Here’s how the scorecard is shaping up:

  • The Best Actor race has the least leeway. The top six choices are Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), John Hawkes (The Sessions), Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) and Denzel Washington (Flight). I expect Cooper, Day-Lewis and Hawkes to get Oscar nominations, but Jackman, Phoenix and Washington will all be fighting for fourth and fifth place among the nominees.
  • Best Actress will be a bit more confusing. Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) did not receive a Golden Globe nomination; additionally, she could not receive a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination because the film did not qualify. She’s still on track to receive an Oscar nomination, though. Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) and Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) are sure bets for their critically acclaimed work. After those three ladies, however, the field remains open. 85-year-old French film legend Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) has received a lot of attention for her portrayal of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease, but I don’t know if she can sustain the buzz through to the Oscars. Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone) is a strong contender but she may face opposition from the other possibilities: Naomi Watts (The Impossible), Helen Mirren (Hitchcock) and Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue Sea).
  • The Best Supporting Actor category is equally uncertain. The surest choices will be Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master). Otherwise, I’m not sure about which other men will get the nominations: Alan Arkin (Argo), Javier Bardem (Skyfall), Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook), Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained) and Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) all have good chances. If the field were less crowded, I might also float Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike) and Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) as possibilities.
  • Finally we come to the Best Supporting Actress category. The critics seem to have reached the general conclusion that Anne Hathaway will win for Les Misérables, so I guess that’s what’s going to happen. Her main competition will come from Amy Adams (The Master), Sally Field (Lincoln) and Helen Hunt (The Sessions). The fifth spot is up for grabs; character actress Ann Dowd (Compliance) has been noticed by the National Board of Review and the Critics’ Choice Awards among others, while there are also opportunities for Judi Dench (Skyfall) and Maggie Smith (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel). I’d also like to mention that Emma Watson has been singled out by a few critics’ societies for her work in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, even though I don’t think she has a chance at getting an Oscar nomination.
  • Question: I know that Nicole Kidman got nominations from the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards for her supporting work in The Paperboy but does anyone really expect her to get an Oscar nomination?
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