Anyway, I've ranked my 2012 Oscar predictions in order of most likely to be nominated at this point. I dig a little into the Best Picture race, but the other categories are just lists. I'll be updating the site's right rail later this week, and I'll be posting update predictions every few weeks all the way through the rest of the year.
Let's see. It got incredible buzz out of Cannes (and will likely compete for all kinds of awards during the fall festival circuit). It's got the backing of The Weinstein Co. It's unique and artistic. It has great acting. It's right down the Academy's alley. It's got everything a frontrunner needs. Only possible concern is how the public will react to a silent film.
Based off the beloved stage play, Spielberg directs this very Academy-friendly picture about a boy and his horse during WWI. Frankly, I was underwhelmed by the trailer, but I felt the same way about The King's Speech last year, and we all know how that turned out.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
There has yet to be a Stephen Daldry film that didn't earn him Best Picture and Best Director recognition, and there's no reason to think this film will be any different. Based off a popular book, the film tackles issues related to 9/11 on a very personal level. It also features former Academy Award winners Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. It's one of the few films on this list that we don't know anything about quality-wise, but as long as it's not a major disappointment, it'll be in the running.
The Ides of March
With Clooney behind the camera, you're almost guaranteed a high-quality motion picture, and the subject matter seems really juicy (and Oscar-y). The cast is as accomplished as any film this year, and if the trailer is any indication, it will be one of the most interesting films this year.
This one topped my list of most-anticipated fall films for a number of reasons. Firstly, the trailer wowed me. Then there's the presence of my favorite working actor—George Clooney. But what I'm most excited about is the return of Alexander Payne after seven long years away from the screen. If that doesn't scream Oscar, I'm not sure what does.
Midnight in Paris
My favorite film of the year so far, Certified Copy, has absolutely no shot at any Oscars next year. Therefore, my Oscar-blogging heart currently belongs to this film, the latest from Woody Allen. It's made a killing all summer at the box office (Allen's highest-grossing film ever). And there will likely be many Academy members excited about the prospect of seeing Allen at the Oscars. But even more than all that, it's just an incredibly charming, fantastic movie that's really hard to not love.
This one has all the momentum right now; The only question is whether or not it can carry that through all fall long. I have to think it will, though I'm not sure it will be a contender to win it all come February. But with a more-than healthy box office and public approval already in tow, as well as a whole slew of fantastic performances, The Help is a contender.
The Tree of Life
Terrence Malick's latest doesn't have the box office. Nor does it have public approval or across-the-board critical praise. What it does have, in spades, is respect. There are plenty of people in the Academy that will really admire what Malick has done. I don't think the film has a chance in hell at winning anything, but I do think there's probably at least five percent of the Academy that will vote for it above all other 2011 films.
My favorite trailer out right now is for Roman Polanski's latest, an adaptation of the beloved play Gods of Carnage, and it strikes me as this year's Doubt. While that film didn't earn a Best Picture nomination, I think it would have under this year's rules. The actors should be fully behind this one, with no less than four highly respected thespians throwing it all on the table.
The trickiest film to peg this Oscar season. I think Drive's Best Picture chances are actually probably low. I can't imagine that in its first year of the new rules, there will be ten nominees. But I have a feeling film folks are really going to be behind this one. There are a million and one reasons why it shouldn't be an Oscar film—genre pic, violent, September release, unproven (at least Oscar-wise) director—but you could say a lot of those things about Black Swan and District 9, two recent Best Picture nominees.
Steven Spielberg, War Horse
Stephen Daldry, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
George Clooney, The Ides of March
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Michel Haznavicius, The Artist
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy
George Clooney, The Descendants
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Tom Hardy, Warrior
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk about Kevin
Felicity Jones, Like Crazy
Best Supporting Actor
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Ides of March
Christoph Waltz, Carnage
Albert Brooks, Drive
Best Supporting Actress
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Vanessa Redgrave, Coriolanus
Sandra Bullock, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Emily Watson, War Horse
Kate Winslet, Carnage