This year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 10th. I’ll be offering detailed predictions in most of the major categories, saving some of the biggest categories for last.
Last year’s nominees: Kenneth Branagh, Jonah Hill, Nick Nolte, Christopher Plummer, Max von Sydow
This year’s locks: Tommy Lee Jones
Very likely: Philip Seymour Hoffman
Possible: Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Alan Arkin, Dwight Henry, Javier Bardem
Unlikely: Eddie Redmayne, Matthew McConaughey
The rundown: The way I see it, there are six contenders vying for five slots. Count out SAG nominee Javier Bardem (Skyfall) since Oscar doesn’t historically love Bond, and I’d be truly shocked if he got nominated. Assume that SAG voters didn’t have a chance to see “Django Unchained,” and also consider that, if either Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained) and Christoph Waltz (Djangou Unchained) get in, both probably will. I was surprised that SAG nominee Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook) didn’t earn a Golden Globe nod, and I feel like his first actually solid role in years will earn him acclaim from Oscar once again. Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln) is the frontrunner, and Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master) will be in as long as voters don’t dislike his film. The problem that arises as a result is that there’s no space for Alan Arkin (Argo), who, unlike DiCaprio, Waltz, and De Niro, earned both Golden Globe and SAG nods. His role is less meaty and serious than the others though, so it makes sense that he might get left out. Vying for a surprise appearance is Dwight Henry (Beasts of the Southern Wild), whose film will likely be nominated for Best Picture but will have to work hard to get the first-time actor recognized too. Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables) could ride a wave of popularity for his film, and I think that Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike) doesn’t have a chance since his film has scored so few mentions to this point (it’s also the only performance in this race that I haven’t seen).
One possible crazy scenario: It wouldn’t be so wild since Samuel L. Jackson has already been nominated for an Oscar for a Quentin Tarantino film, but three nods in this category for “Django Unchained” would. He could also displace one of his costars, which would be jarring.
Forecasted winner: Jones