2011 Oscar Predictions: Forecasting the Year Ahead

The 2011 Oscars are far off (thank goodness), but it’s always fun to look at the year and guess what might be the best of the year. Of course, many of the films have yet to been seen (hell, some of them might not even be coming out this year), but that’s part of the fun about it. When you pick a film this far out in front and it actually does well, it’s pretty cool.

Below are my predictions for the six major categories for next year. All predictions are in order of likelihood to be nominated. The number one film on this list would not be the film I would predict to win. I’m just trying to predict the nominations at this point, so the safer choices are out in front in most instances. Also, we don’t know for sure whether there will be ten Best Picture nominees again, but I tend to think there will be.

We’ll start with Best Picture. The surest bet right now, in my opinion, is Hereafter, the newest film from Clint Eastwood. Although the last few years have shown us the Academy is not as in love with Eastwood as they were in the middle of the last decade (around the time of Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby), the very little bit I know about the film makes it sound like a really strong contender. The film stars Matt Damon and Bryce Dallas Howard (who might be due for a breakout performance), and it’s written by the great Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon).

Then, there are the festival favorites. Get Low received great word out of Toronto last fall, especially for its lead actor, Robert Duvall. It could definitely find itself in the thick of the race of critics take to the rest of the film as much as they have that performance. Blue Valentine, a relationship drama starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, scored raves out of Sundance, where An Education and Precious debuted last year. There’s also The Kids Are All Right, starring Julianne Moore and Annette Bening as two lesbian parents. It too was well-received at Sundance, and this film, which reportedly is as much a comedy as it is a drama, could land the Little Miss Sunshine/Juno spot in the Best Picture race regardless of how many spots there are.

The big mystery of the year, and definitely the biggest in the Best Picture race, is Inception, Christopher Nolan’s follow-up to The Dark Knight. I have a feeling this could be the best film of the year by far and clean up the Oscars next year. It also could be a complete bomb. It’s too hard to say, knowing so little about the plot. But it’s something everyone will have an eye on.

Other possible films include Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, Peter Weir’s The Way Back, Julie Taymor’s The Tempest, David Fincher’s The Social Network, Anton Corbijn’s The American, John Wells’ The Company Men, Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, David O. Russell’s The Fighter, James L. Brooks’ How Do You Know, Edward Zwick’s Love and Other Drugs, Rodrigo Garcia’s Mother and Child, Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go, Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, Lee Unkrich’s Toy Story 3, and The Coen Brothers’ True Grit.

The Predicted Ten:
Black Swan
Blue Valentine
Get Low
The Kids Are All Right
The Tempest
Toy Story 3
The Tree of Life
True Grit

I won’t be analyzing any more of the categories like that because I simply know too little about the direction and performances for these films to make any kind of guess. I don’t even know what category most of the actors and actresses in these ensembles will compete in.

Best Director Predictions:
Christopher Nolan, Inception (winner)
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Clint Eastwood, Hereafter
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Julie Taymor, The Tempest

Best Actor Predictions:
Robert Duvall, Get Low (winner)
Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine
Jake Gyllenhaal, Love and Other Drugs
Brad Pitt, The Tree of Life
Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter

Best Actress Predictions:
Annette Bening, Mother and Child (winner)
Anne Hathaway, Love and Other Drugs
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone

Best Supporting Actor Predictions:
Bill Murray, Get Low
Samuel L. Jackson, Mother and Child (winner)
Ed Harris, The Way Back
Sam Rockwell, Betty Anne Waters
Vincent Cassell, Black Swan

Best Supporting Actress Predictions:
Barbara Hershey, Black Swan (winner)
Jessica Chastain, The Tree of Life
Maria Bello, The Company Men
Bryce Dallas Howard, Hereafter
Mary-Louise Parker, Howl

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