After going to see a more serious film yesterday, I got to see previews for films that looked pretty good, and some that could even potentially get some consideration come Academy Award season. I enjoy the popcorn movies of the summer, but come August I need movies that are a bit deeper and that don't ignore the screenplay, or just focus on the special effects. The previews yesterday made me start thinking "Who will get nominated this year?"
Most journalists and pundits everyone is face with the pressure from outsiders to start the season and make some "predictions" but these "predictions" are are more like educated guesses. In their own predictions two of my favorite websites awardsdaily.com and goldderby.com have made predictions or started out potential contests but have also stated that making guesses at this point in the year is almost impossible! However, I would like to highlight the actors who have strong potential to be nominated this year.
The year of the men from the Oceans films: Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Matt Damon all have major Oscar buzz films that will be released this year. This trio of men has ten Academy Award nominations between the three of them and I think that nomination tally will grow this year.
George Clooney has the best shot at nominations. Clooney is starring in, directed, wrote the film Ides of March, a political thriller that looks like that could have the potential to be an audience please and critically acclaimed. Clooney is also set to star in the film The Descendants directed by Alexander Payne about a man who attempts to re-connect with his daughters after his wife dies.
Depending on how the Academy feels about The Tree of Life Brad Pitt could score a nomination for his best dramatic performance to date. Pitt also has a film that will be a more crowd pleaser in the vein of The Blind Side, the film Moneyball where Pitt's character attempts to save a struggling baseball team (and its a true story!)
Matt Damon has three films released this year. Contagion where he plays a man grieving the loss of his wife from a deadly virus. Margaret (2011) the long awaited Kenneth Lonergan film about where a young women (Anna Paquin) witnesses a bus accident and caught up in the aftermath. Damon's role doesn't seem like this could get him a nomination. Damon is also going to be in the Cameron Crowe film We Bought a Zoo about a man who moves his family to California and buys a zoo.
Clooney and Pitt have a great shot to be back, I think Damon may have to wait another year or two.
The Titanic Twosome: Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet will be back in the Oscar race this year. These two have become the most bankable and worthwhile actors to watch (who would have thought that after their performances in Titanic).
DiCaprio will star in the biopic about famed FBI director J. Edgar Hoover in the film J. Edgar directed by Clint Eastwood. The film focuses on the controversy surrounding his career along with his private life as a cross dresser, and his gay relationship.
Winslet has two role this year, one in Contagion, which looks to be a smaller role and will not likely garner her a nomination; she will also be one of the foursome in the film Carnage based on the Tony award winning play God of Carnage. Carnage has an amazing cast, and tony award winning plays of this calibre have done a good job garnering award nominations for actors like Frost/Nixon and Doubt.
The New Faces to the Oscar Game: Every year there are new faces that enter the Oscar game that come out of no where like Gaborey Sidibe in Precious who was an unknown before this role, shocking potential nominees like Mila Kunis (who would have thought Jackie from That 70's Show had it in her), or the great character actor finally getting their due like Stanley Tucci finally getting a nomination for The Lovely Bones.
Michael Fassbender is one of the character actors of the year and a lesser known actor who has a great shot of getting a nomination. Fassbender has three even four roles that I would consider Oscar worthy this year. Fassbender was amazing in Jane Eyre as Rochester, and helped give new life to the X-Men franchise as Magneto in X-Men: First Class. Fassbender has the most potential playing Carl Jung in A Dangerous Method, and could also garner buzz for his playboy role in the film Shame.
The Overdue Factor: There actors in Hollywood that have never won an Oscar, or never even been nominated, and then suddenly late in life the academy decides to reward them with a nomination or a win. Christopher Plummer never received an Oscar nomination until his role in The Last Station two years ago. James Coburn won his Oscar because of a divided category, and the reward of a good performance that represents a career achievement.
Glenn Close has been nominated for five Academy Awards: The World According to Garp (83), The Big Chill (84), The Natural (85), Fatal Attraction (88), Dangerous Liaisons (89). I would argue her nomination for The Natural was on name alone, but this year she will most likely garner her sixth and potentially seventh nomination for writing and starring in the film Albert Nobbs. If this film is great and Close scores a nomination she could pose a huge threat because she has never won this award.
There are many other players in the Oscar game this year. Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and so many more. This year is going to be filled with a lot of younger talent, and new blood, and I looked forward to an exciting competition.