Sadly, the more and more you keep your eye on the Oscar game, the less and less special the big show seems. That said, I still get extremely giddy when nomination day arrives (two days away!). I'm not always the most reliable pundit, but the predictions keep coming, out of admiration, tradition, obsession, etc. Here's what I'm thinking this year:
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, "The Fighter"
Helena Bonham Carter, "The King's Speech"
Mila Kunis, "Black Swan"
Melissa Leo, "The Fighter"
Jacki Weaver, "Animal Kingdom"
I still can't believe Mila Kunis is a serious contender, but here we are. Bonham Carter has been a safe lock since before the race began, yet she poses little threat to the "Fighter" gals, one of whom will win this thing. With a certain young prodigy presumably headed to lead, I'll give the fifth slot to Jacki Weaver, who's the most deserving of the entire group.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale, "The Fighter"
Andrew Garfield, "The Social Network"
Jeremy Renner, "The Town"
Mark Ruffalo, "The Kids Are All Right"
Geoffrey Rush, "The King's Speech"
Not much suspense here, especially since Bale is bound to march to the podium. I don't see any other candidate being vulnerable for a nom, though some are thinking Matt Damon has a shot for his work in "True Grit," while others think the late Pete Postlethwaite ("The Town") or the recovering Michael Douglas ("Wall Street 2") have an outisde chance. My favorite? Garfield by a mile.
Annette Bening, "The Kids Are All Right"
Nicole Kidman, "Rabbit Hole"
Jennifer Lawrence, "Winter's Bone"
Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"
Hailee Steinfeld, "True Grit"
I know what you're thinking: Steinfeld is going to land in supporting, and, besides, her inclusion here makes this category too, too young. But apart from the solid foursome of Bening, Kidman, Lawrence and Portman, no other actress has emerged as a major contender, and the very surprising success of "True Grit" has only brought more attention to Steinfeld's breakout turn. I'm thinking the voters will nudge her into lead.
Jeff Bridges, "True Grit"
Robert DuVall, "Get Low"
Jesse Eisenberg, "The Social Network"
Colin Firth, "The King's Speech"
James Franco, "127 Hours"
Yes, this is indeed the widely anticipate five, and unless Ryan Gosling can work some miracles, it's the five that will be invited to the Kodak. I can't say I agree that last year's winner Jeff Bridges deserves to be here again, but with all the "True Grit" success, he's practically a lock. Besides, if Steinfeld can get in, there's no way Bridges won't. I'd love to see an Eisenberg win, but no one's taking it from Firth.
Darren Aronofsky, "Black Swan"
David Fincher, "The Social Network"
Tom Hooper, "The King's Speech"
Christopher Nolan, "Inception"
David O. Russell, "The Fighter"
At this point, it seems best to go with the DGA top five, which surprisingly includes David O. Russell rather than the Coen boys. I'm all for Nolan, Aronofsky and Fincher making the cut, and everyone knew Hooper was a sure thing, but Russell nabbing the final slot seems so loony to me. I'd much rather see it go to one of 2010's high-achieving females, like Lisa Cholodenko or, better yet, Debra Granik.
"The Kids Are All Right"
"The King's Speech"
"The Social Network"
"Toy Story 3"
The most obvious snubbee here is "127 Hours," which started strong in the season, then continually lost steam. There's some talk about "Winter's Bone" getting bumped out, though I certainly hope not. This category needs a stronger indie presence desperately. As for the blockbuster end, "The Town" and "Inception" should fill that quota. Possible upset? I could see the doc "Waiting for 'Superman'" squeezing into the list, but it's not bloody likely. Tune in Tuesday morning to find out.