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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Place Your Bets Now: The Oscar Race Heads For The Final Turn

Many entertainment writers are bemoaning the fact that the Oscar nominations haven't even been announced yet, but yet we already know who is going to win the coveted golden trophies next month. And while, yes, it's true that there aren't any surprises anymore in the Oscar race, it's not because of the dearth of pre-Oscar awards which are handed out, but because most awards voters are afraid to defy popular opinion. In other words, once momentum starts to build for a particular actor or movie, then, instead of deciding for themselves which movies and performances are the year's best, too many voters simply succumb to peer pressure and just agree with everyone else.
.(above- jennifer lawrence in "winter's bone")
.Take this year's Oscar race for instance. Is "The Social Network" really the masterpiece of cinema that one would believe it to be? After all, the movie has won 24 out of 29 of the critics groups movie awards and has now won the Golden Globe. Many respected critics have said that no, it isn't a "great" movie, yet for some reason, most of those same critics voted for it as the year's best movie. So don't blame the lack of suspense in the Oscar race on the number of awards, instead blame the lack of suspense on the fact that so many critics and awards voters are afraid to voice their own opinion. If fifteen different movies had won the 29 critics groups awards so far, we'd all be guessing like crazy who would win the Oscar this year instead of haven already engraved the title "The Social Network" on the naked golden man for Best Picture..So with the wins already decided for Oscar 2011, (Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo), the only guessing game is who will get the nominations? The nominations will be announced in a just a few days, on January 25, but until then, here's who we think will get the coveted spots.
(melissa leo in "the fighter")
.Best Actor - Colin Firth, Jesse Eisenberg, James Franco are locks. But who will get the final two spots? Mark Wahlberg is a good bet to claim a nod, but that final spot is wide open. Jeff Bridges? Javier Bardem?

Best Actress - This is the category that is probably the most set in stone. We'd be shocked if anyone but these five women got a nomination: Natalie Portman, Annette Bening, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Jennifer Lawrence. Halle Berry could sneak in, except that we can't imagine who would get pushed aside for her to do that. You can almost take this one to the bank.

. Best Supporting Actor - Christian Bale and Geoffrey Rush are locks, and then it gets iffy. We're guessing that Mark Ruffalo and John Hawkes will take the next two spots, but as with the Best Actor category, that last spot could go to anyone. Best bets are Andrew Garfield, Jeremy Renner or Robert Duvall. And then, of course, there's Michael Douglas, who just beat cancer, so don't count him out for sentimental reasons.
(jeremy renner in "the town")
Best Supporting Actress - Melissa Leo, Hailee Steinfeld and Jackie Weaver are the locks for nominations, and this is also the only category which might actually surprise on Oscar night, although we think the path is becoming clearer for a Melissa Leo win. Amy Adams, a perennial Oscar favorite will probably sneak in, which would then leave one spot open. Possibilities to grab that last nomination are Mila Kunis, Lesley Manville and after that it could be anyone. Barbara Hershey? Sissy Spacek? Thandie Newton? Dianne Wiest?

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