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Oscar Nomination Predictions (UPDATED!)

Oscar Nomination Predictions (UPDATED!)

In perhaps my least snarky PorchDrinking article to date, I’m going to take some shots in the dark and guess who will be nominated for the Academy Awards. PD is looking forward to bringing you some great Oscars coverage, but here now is one guy telling you what he thinks (and hopefully having something to brag about once nominees are announced tomorrow). I’ve marked movies I’ve seen with ***asterisks***, so you can know I’m not full of it. Watch nominations come out, then keep coming back to for more Oscars coverage from our team of amateur pop-culture experts.

UPDATE: Oscar nominations were announced this morning (Thursday). A few surprises, especially in the directing category. I’ve added some additional commentary, partly in the interest of giving you the most information possible, and partly because I’m proud of how close I was in a lot of cases.

Below, I’ve bolded the predictions that were accurate.


Silver Linings Playbook*
Zero Dark Thirty*
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
The Master*
Django Unchained*

The Academy can nominate anywhere between 5 and 10 movies, but don’t expect to see ALL of these. Skyfall and The Master are possible but not guaranteed, and plenty of people wouldn’t be surprised if Life of Pi is overlooked. But the first 5 on this list are practically locked up. We could see dark horses Beasts of the Southern Wild or Moonrise Kingdom getting nominations, but overall the flexibility of this category tends to reduce the number of surprises or snubs.

UPDATE: I went 7 for 9. Not bad! Especially since I told you in my original commentary that I wasn’t too sure about Skyfall and The Master. In their place, the Academy nominated Beasts of The Southern Wild and Amour. Beasts was definitely a bigger presence than I anticipated, as was Amour.


Ben Affleck, Argo*
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty*
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln*
Tom Hooper, Les Miserables

There tends to be a lot of overlap between Best Picture and Best Director nominees – as you’d figure, great movies are made great in part by the direction. Notably absent from the list of predictions are Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained and David O. Russel for Silver Linings Playbook. Either could have a shot at replacing Tom Hooper on the list, but in the end I don’t believe either film broke enough new ground to unseat the five I’m predicting.

UPDATE: Okay, yeah, I was way off in this category. But to be fair, lots of people were surprised here. The director of Amour, who WAS nominated, even admitted he was surprised. Beasts of the Southern Wild and Silver Linings Playbook also got directing nominations. But how did Ben Affleck not get nominated for Argo? Maybe Hollywood is punishing him for making Daredevil.


Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook*
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln*
Denzel Washington, Flight
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
John Hawkes, The Sessions

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but don’t rule out Jack Black. While his movie Bernie didn’t make huge waves, it’s a solid performance, and sometimes comedic actors who step into serious performances get some love come awards season (remember when Jamie Foxx was a comedian?). Speaking of Jamie Foxx, even though he’s the title character in Django Unchained, he’d be a bit of a (pleasant) surprise in the nominations (see why in my commentary on Best Supporting Actor). Likewise, even though he’s Hollywood royalty as a director now, don’t expect to see Ben Affleck nominated for his acting performance in Argo. The biggest surprise of all would be Joaquin Phoenix, who made a point of publicly stating that he thinks all awards are “bullsh**.”

UPDATE: 4 for 5 here. Poor John Hawkes probably wishes that I had made it a clean sweep. Instead, Joaquin Phoenix got nominated, which yesterday I called “the biggest surprise of all.” Despite the fact that voters seem to have forgiven Phoenix for hating on the Oscars, this category was pretty much locked up by the first 4 on the list.


Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty*
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook*
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Helen Mirren, Hitchcock

Surprisingly not that competitive of a category this year, mostly because of all the strong contenders in the supporting actress category – and because Meryl Streep didn’t have any Oscar-bait movies this year. I’m pretty confident in these picks, though Quvenzhane Wallis from Beasts of the Southern Wild could take a spot on the list – perhaps Helen Mirren’s.

UPDATE: 3 for 5. Instead of Marion Cotillard and Helen Mirren, the Oscars instead are seeing its oldest nominee ever (Emmanuelle Riva from Amour) and its youngest ever (Quvenzhane Wallis from Beasts of the Southern Wild, who I predicted might be a dark horse).


Alan Arkin, Argo*
Robert DeNiro, Silver Linings Playbook*
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln*
Philip Seymoure Hoffman, The Master*
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained*

Tough to call. I feel bad leaving off Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson from Django Unchained, John Goodman from Argo, and Javier Bardem from Skyfall (yes, even a Bond villain is in the running). Some great performances this year, and the category could look radically different from my predictions. It’s worth noting that Django’s supporting cast are more likely to receive nods than its lead; it’s like with Christian Bale won an Oscar for The Fighter and Wahlberg didn’t – sometimes the supporting cast gets to take more chances and ham it up while the lead plays it cool. It’s those performances that get a lot of ink – and consideration from Academy voters.

UPDATE: 4 for 5 again, though I totally called that Christoph Waltz could replace DiCaprio. Between Sam Jackson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Waltz, it seems voters had to just pick one favorite from Django Unchained to join the 4 other actors who were favorites to get nominations.


Amy Adams, The Master*
Sally Field, Lincoln*
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables*
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy
Helen Hunt, The Sessions

You just know Anne Hathaway is getting nominated. She didn’t even do Les Mis because she cared if you paid 15 bucks and spent 3 hours sitting through it; she did it for the Academy. Adams and Field were in similarly Oscar-bait-y movies. Which is fine. Kidman and Hunt are likely to get nominated just because their roles were somewhat controversial and playing against type. As far as dark horses, I’m not counting out Jennifer Ehle, who was great in Zero Dark Thirty.

UPDATE: 4 for 5! Jacki Weaver from Silver Linings Playbook stole Nicole Kidman’s nomination. And Kidman worked so hard for it – apparently she pees on Zac Efron in that movie?!

This year in general, the Oscars went pretty chalk. In almost every category, there were three or even four actors/movies that everyone just KNEW would get nominated. And they were, except perhaps in the directing category. But now comes the question of who will actually WIN. And for that, we have several weeks of waiting, during which will have even more to say about the Oscars.

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