We’re over this year’s Oscars, and have been for quite some time. I felt that 2011’s field was uncharacteristically weak, and having harped on it for the past few weeks, I’m ready to move on to 2012’s candidates.
Granted, I haven’t “seen” any of these films. And there are undoubtedly dozens of solid films that are still under my radar. And those films will probably feature strong turns by both actors and directors. But whatever, that won’t keep me from examining some of the strongest, most notable candidates for an award, going on experience and some educated guesses.
So this may not be the most subversive or even “accurate” Oscar prediction, and you’re not going to find any under-the-radar films and actors here. But you will find more than a few safe bets from known projects. Judging by the slate for 2012, we could see a lot more “Hollywood” films fill the ballots in the 2013 ceremonies, which always proves to be more satisfying, provided the popular films are the good ones.
The Dark Knight Rises
Life of Pi
The Great Gatsby
The one thing these films have in common is each one is helmed by a great director, with Nolan, Spielberg, Lee, Tarantino, and Luhrmann all showing up in widely anticipated and rather big-budget movies. My early call is that Lincoln, with the reputations of Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis behind it, will take the cake, with Life of Pi given a courtesy nod in this category. Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises could make a lot of noise if people lavish praise on the film for the scope of the production, but in the end, the heavier biopic will prevail.
It seems a little odd to have two comic book films represented here, but going off of the early sizzle reel I’ve seen from Spider-Man, Marc Webb is masterful at bouncing from bombastic action sequences to touching moments between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Wes Anderson is back in our lives and hearts after the lukewarm reception of The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and I think he could get a lot of legacy goodwill in this category. Spielberg’s Lincoln is no-brainer given the man and the subject matter, and I think he’ll be the one to walk away with the bald gold guy.
Everyone on this list but Murray and DiCaprio already have won their Oscars, and in the interest of appearing progressive (and not simply handing the award over to Daniel Day-Lewis, even though he’ll probably deserve it), they’ll bestow it upon Bill Murray, who’s distinguished career will come to a head with the most Oscar bait-y role he’s played so far. I think voters will be looking for an excuse to give it to him, but in this field, it’s a very tough call.
I’m hoping De Niro’s turn as a distant, homeless father in Being Flynn gets him out of the doghouse that he’s built for himself over the past decade. Sean Penn because, hey, Sean Penn, Leo because he’s just so damn handsome.
Again, it’s hard to get too adventurous with these pics before the films have even been finished, so based on resume alone, I think we have a pretty strong group here. I think Field will be able to chew some serious scenery as Mary Todd Lincoln, and if she doesn’t get too terribly outclassed by her hubby, Mr. Day-Lewis, I think she’s the smart money here.
I think Hollywood wants to REALLY love Jennifer Lawrence, but seeing as how The Hunger Games is a little too mainstream for the snobs, she’ll get it in the David O. Russell film instead.
I’m also looking forward to Blake Lively in Oliver Stone’s The Savages, if only because she mastered a seedy role in The Town, and I’m eager to see her do it again as a beachy stoner. Toni Colette and Maggie Gyllenhaal because it wouldn’t be the Academy Awards without them, so why not both?
As you can tell, this has been a very scientific process, so let’s hear your thoughts in the comments if you’re feeling like yelling at us.