This week, the Oscar nominations will be announced for the 84th time. Will there be any surprises? I hope so – but let’s face it, George Clooney’s charm offensive is winning over Academy members and audiences alike, making him the frontrunner for Best Actor. He nabbed the Golden Globe for his role as the mourning father in the contrived family drama The Descendants, but gave a more authentic performance in The Ides of March. Everyone loves seeing Clooney in a tux, flashing his million-dollar smile, receiving awards with one hot escort or another. His latest arm candy is Stacy Kiebler, a former female wrestler. How much would I pay to see Angelina Jolie Kung Fu Kiebler for Brad Pitt’s Oscar honor? Although Pitt should be nominated for his subtle performance in Moneyball, it may not be enough – even with all the child adopting and humanitarian giving. Leonardo DiCaprio could make the nomination list as well, for his obstinate performance as J. Edgar Hoover, but Clooney seems to be everyone’s Best Actor favorite.
The Oscars like to hold themselves above the Globes and for that reason The Artist could offer some surprises- chiefly a Best Actor nomination for the stylish, albeit silent performance, of Jean Dujardin. I’d like to see Michael Fassbender nominated for his full frontal, unflinching portrayal of a sex addict in Shame, but I’m not sure the Academy will go for such an unapologetic performance. Ryan Gosling offered up no apologies for his incredible abs in Crazy, Stupid, Love, but his portrayal of the complex political strategist in The Ides of March, illuminating a crippled political system in America, should garner him a nomination.
The Best Actress nominees could provide an equally varied list of engaging performances, but ultimately it will be Meryl versus Michelle. It’s inescapable that Meryl Streep will be nominated for her nuanced portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. The film itself was inexcusably convoluted, but La Streep gave it the integrity the rest of the film was lacking. Another biopic, My Week with Marilyn, saw Michelle Williams pour herself into the complex life of Marilyn Monroe. The film is a heartbreaking look at how drugs and Hollywood players manipulated one of the most famous stars of all time. A character, which in some ways echoes elements of Michelle Williams’ own complicated Hollywood life. The theme of intense struggle continued in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which saw Rooney Mara give a compelling and brooding performance as Lisbeth Salander. Actresses this year gave compassionate performances in films that let their work down. This was clear in the schmaltzy film The Help where Viola Davis managed to steel her character against the sentimentality and deliver a stellar performance. She was yet another actress in this race that gave her character the integrity they deserved, even if the film did not. My final Best Actress prediction is a fantasy pick. For all the funny ladies out there, I choose Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids. I know she won’t make it on the Best Actress list, but her funny and well observed film about female relationships brought a whole new meaning to the definition of a twenty first century ‘lady’.
My Oscar predictions for Best Film, Best Actress and Best Actor are below. Who’s on your list?
J. Edgar Hoover
The Ides of March
George Clooney, The Descendants
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Viola Davis, The Help
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Kirsten Wiig, Bridesmaids
The Descendants, Alexander Payne
The Ides of March, George Clooney
Moneyball, Bennett Miller
Hugo, Martin Scorsese
The Artist, Michael Hazanavicius