Oscar predictions are always a risky business. Problem is, too many pundits make the mistake of picking whom they want to win instead of who will actually win. Because the only choices that matter are Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences official ballots. Understanding those votes involves a mix of psychic hunches, historical patterns, and heartfelt favorites. Throw in conversations with actual members, results from precursor Hollywood Guilds’ awards shows, and a little showbiz logic, as well as luck — and the contents of those Oscar envelopes opening on the night of February 27th suddenly aren’t such a mystery. Now with all the ballots officially in to Price Waterhouse Coopers, here are my category by category predictions (not necessarily my own choices) for what names will be in those newly-designed envelopes at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards:
The Nominees: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter’s Bone.
Who Will Win: The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) – Although this race was looking like a runaway for The Social Network after it swept most of the marquee critics’ honors and Golden Globe awards, it was stopped fast in its tracks once the industry began its own ceremonies. The King’s Speech reigned at the Screen Actors, Directors, and Producers Guilds and immediately became the frontrunner. Now it’s poised to win based on its inspiring story and triumphant spirit. The Social Network has been making a bit of a comeback in the last few days winning at the ACE Eddies and some key awards at BAFTA including Best Director and Editing but it’s probably not enough to stop The King’s Speech. Possible spoiler is The Fighter, which has late-breaking support among voters and has been the most aggressive campaigner in the last couple of weeks.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
The Nominees: Javier Bardem, Biutiful; Jeff Bridges, True Grit; Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network; Colin Firth, The King’s Speech; James Franco, 127 Hours.
Who Will Win: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech – This one is a lock and has been all season long. Firth has swept most of the major precursor acting honors, including Critics’ Choice, SAG, Golden Globes and BAFTA, there doesn’t seem to be a chance he can lose. There is a groundswell inside the actors’ branch for Javier Bardem, but foreign language film performances rarely take this category. It’s doubtful anyone at this point can make up enough ground to overcome Firth’s large lead.
Oscar Predictions 2012 — Hammond’s Academy Award Predictions
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
The Nominees: Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right; Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole; Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone; Natalie Portman, Black Swan; Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine.
Who Will Win: Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right – This could end in a photo finish upset even though Portman is the smart bet according to most pundits. I agree, but I’m also getting a vibe within the Academy that it’s Bening’s turn despite Portman’s recent SAG and BAFTA wins. Interestingly I am picking up some significant support for Williams, Kidman and especially, Lawrence too which says to me it is no runaway for Portman as some pundits seem to think. Bening lost Best Actress twice to Hilary Swank and may be poised to lose again to another young actress in a transformative role. But I have a hunch the veteran squeaks out a win on her 4th try. She has been very visible on the campaign trail since nominations came out. Still, just a hunch. Don’t bet your life savings in the office pool on this one. (more…)