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: Berenice Bejo, Jessica Chastain, Melissa McCarthy, Janet McTeer, Octavia Spencer
This year’s locks: Anne Hathaway, Sally Field
Very likely: Helen Hunt
Possible: Amy Adams, Ann Dowd, Nicole Kidman, Maggie Smith
Unlikely: Samantha Barks, Jacki Weaver
The rundown: This category has two definite frontrunners: Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables), who knocks her solo song out of the park in a small role, and Sally Field (Lincoln), who I think delivered a terrible performance but will coast along on her film’s buzz. Helen Hunt (The Sessions) is in as long as voters forgive her from the fifteen-year hiatus since her last nomination (and win). I’m torn about the rest of the list. To assume that Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy) would be snubbed after being nominated for both a Golden Globe and a SAG Award is risky, but I still think she’s too far out there as a contender. That said, it’s the only performance in this race that I haven’t yet seen. I do think that Ann Dowd (Compliance) will be able to break through despite few precursor nominations, and the question of the last spot is whether it will be Golden Globe nominee Amy Adams (The Master), whose film may or may not do well, or SAG nominee Maggie Smith (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel). I’m tempted to include Samantha Barks (Les Miserables) instead, presuming that voters love the film and notice those performers who can actually sing. Watch out also for a 2010 nominee, Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook), who might make an appearance despite a limited and not too terrific role in an otherwise great film.
One possible crazy scenario: Sally Field gets snubbed despite her frontrunner status.
Forecasted winner: Hathaway won it with that solo already.