Andrew: Hello readers! Later this week on Thursday morning, Emma Stone and Seth MacFarlane will be announcing the nominees for the 85th Academy Awards that will be held on Sunday, February 24th in Los Angeles. As you may or may not know, we happen to love the Oscars, and as such we're going to be posting our predictions for who will have their nominations announced by Mr. MacFarlane and Ms. Stone. We kicked our predictions off yesterday with our guesses for the Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress categories, which you can read here if you'd like. And today we're going to be discussing whom we think will get nominated in the lead acting categories.
So, Sarah, which of the two categories would you like to start with today? Best Actor or Best Actress?
Sarah: Since we started with the ladies yesterday, lets start with the gents today. The Best Actor category is a tough one this year. In my opinion I think it is probably the weakest acting category this year. I also think that it's the most obvious win as well. So we will start with the presumed front-runner, Daniel Day-Lewis.
Lincoln was one of the most talked about movies of this year and I don't think it was because of the story. Day-Lewis did a good job of playing our 18th President of the United States and he certainly looked the part. Even though the movie on the whole was quite dull Day-Lewis does deserve a spot for Best Actor nomination.
A: You're absolutely right that he's the easiest to predict. He's an Oscar darling, having won two Best Actor awards already for My Left Food and There Will Be Blood, so playing The Great Emancipator is a no-brainer for an Oscar nod.
I'm going to give our second Best Actor nomination prediction to a performance that I absolutely loved, and that's Bradley Cooper for his role as Pat in Silver Linings Playbook. He was alternately funny and frightening as a man suffering from bipolar disorder. I thought he had excellent chemistry not just with Jennifer Lawrence, but with Robert De Niro, Jackie Weaver and Chris Tucker. It could have been a role that put some people off because he's not always likable, but Cooper nails it. His best role in his career by far, and he's won or been nominated for 14 awards already, including a SAG nom and a Golden Globe. I think he's a shoo-in.
S: This leads into John Hawkes for the next spot. His role as paraplegic poet Mark O’Brien in The Sessions brought a lot of buzz throughout the independent film community and when the movie opened to a larger audience the public fell in love with the real-life character.
We didn't get a chance to see this movie yet but have heard nothing but good things. Hawkes has had a pretty big year too starring in his own movie and showing up in LIncoln as well. For his dedication to the character who is so handicapped but still seems to have a sense of humor, Hawkes deserves the third-place spot.
A: I think those are the three shoo-ins for Best Actor. Which means we're getting down to a tougher spot of guessing the last two spots, and I think our guess for this fourth spot might surprise some people, but I absolutely think he'll get a nomination based on how great his performance is. I think Joaquin Phoenix will get nominated for his job in The Master playing the crazy Freddie Quell.
I know, I know. A lot of people think Phoenix's chances at an Oscar nod are slim to none because of what he said in an interview with Interview Magazine:
"I'm just saying that I think it's bullsh*t. I think it's total, utter bullsh*t, and I don't want to be a part of it. I don't believe in it. It's a carrot, but it's the worst-tasting carrot I've ever tasted in my whole life. I don't want this carrot. It's totally subjective. Pitting people against each other . . . It's the stupidest thing in the whole world."
Normally that would sound off the alarms and I'd go, "Well he's DEFINITELY not getting an Oscar nomination now." But I also think most voters couldn't care less about that and they'll still nominate him because it's a sublime performance, especially during the "processing" scene with Phillip Seymour Hoffman. He's already won or been nominated for 23 awards, though he didn't a nom from the SAG. Still, I think he'll get an Oscar nom.
S: Yea and I think they might also give him the nomination just to spite him.
The last spot is going to be a toughie. It's a toss-up between Denzel Washington for his performance in Flight and Hugh Jackman for his performance in Les Miserables. We really had a hard time figuring out who would be in the last spot but I would like to see Jackman get the spot. I don't think he will but I still liked his performance as Jean Valjean. I actually think this is the weakest spot left. Both actors are a little on the disappointing side as far as the Best Actor position goes. Washington does a fine job as well but we had seen it before. His character was predictable and I think he brought nothing exceptionally new to the screen.
A: Yeah, this is a tough one. Going in to Les Mis I figured Jackman was going to blow me away, but it was more of a restrained singing performance. And then Denzel was great in Flight, but you're right - it's not something we haven't seen before. Both men have a Golden Globe and a SAG nomination, so that doesn't help us out any. Really it's more of a gut call and I think we need to give the edge to the one who sang almost everything in his performance, and that's Jackman.
S: So that about wraps it up for the men, giving us these five guys we think will be nominated for Best Actor:
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Okay, so what about the Best Actress spot? This one is also an interesting category. It's not filled with women who appeared in huge Hollywood blockbusters but more smaller release flicks and foreign films. It's a nice little change of pace.
So first I want to start off with the number one spot and I think that will go to Jessica Chastain for her performance as calculating agent Maya in Zero Dark Thirty. She gives a riveting performance that follows the ten-year span of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. We get to watch as the case slowly takes over her life and ultimately leads her to her goal. It's riveting and she does a fantastic job proving once again that she is a force to be reckoned with.
A: Chastain is a definite shoo-in. She's won or been nominated for a whopping 29 awards already, including garnering Golden Globe and SAG noms.
I think another shoo-in is going to be a personal favorite performance this year, and that's Jennifer Lawrence for her role as Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook. Lawrence was not only "The Girl on Fire" this year, but she was electric playing opposite Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. Not only did she more than hold her own against RDN but she did the incredible and trumped him in their memorable scene. And if you thought Chastain's 29 noms/wins were impressive, Lawrence has won/been nominated for 33. That'll be 34 come Thursday morning.
S: The next spot goes to Marion Cotillard for her performance in the foreign film Rust and Bone. This is another one we haven't seen yet but it's not hard to believe that Cotillard is worth of an Oscar, another one at that. She has a magnetism that captures the attention of the audience. From what I can tell this film will be a good one during the awards season this year. We'll need to see Rust and Bone before the awards season fully kicks in.
A: For our fourth Best Actress prediction, we're going to go with Naomi Watts for her performance in The Impossible. Based on a true story and yet another film we haven’t seen, Watts has been getting rave reviews as the mother of a family on vacation in Indonesia when the 2004 tsunami hit the Indian Ocean. Ten nominations including a Golden Glob nod and a SAG nod make us believe Watts is one of the strongest bets after Chastain and Lawrence.
For our fifth and final prediction in the Best Actress category, we're going to go with another French performance that we haven't had the pleasure of seeing in theatres yet, and that's Emmanuelle Riva in Amour. We honestly don't know a whole lot more than Riva plays Anne, one half of a married couple that must deal with an illness that hits one of them. By all accounts it's a fantastic film (it won the Palm d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival) and Riva is marvelous in it. She's already won or been nominated for 19 awards, and at the age of 85 we think she'll become the oldest actress to ever be nominated in this category.
S: And that brings us to our limit of five nominees in this category! Once again, here are the five women we think will be nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role for this year's Academy Awards:
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
A: Alright, dear readers, that does it for these two categories. Check back tomorrow when we post our predictions for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay!