OSCAR TRACKER: First Attempt at 2012 Oscar Predictions

My flight leaves in a few hours and I will be away from Film Misery for a full week, but I did not want to depart without leaving a starting point for discussion. What better way to get a conversation going than with Oscar Predictions?!

The first four Oscar prediction pages are now complete including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress. The rest will be updated when I get back from vacation. This year I have enabled commenting on the actual prediction pages themselves, so you may feel free to add your comment either on the individual pages or on this main post. It should be noted that comments on the actual prediction pages will be deleted with every subsequent prediction update.

Starting this week, Oscar Tracker is back and will now be a weekly column here at Film Misery all the way until the end of the 2012 Oscar season. To kick things off I will focus on analysis of the Best Picture race as things stand right now.

View the Best Picture Predictions

This early in the cinematic calendar there have been very few indicators that give us a picture of where certain films stand with the Academy. There is often overlap with the Cannes Film Festival, which happened last month and had a particularly strong showing of English language films. The only other indicator that we have right now is critical reviews, which we learned do not always reflect the Academy’s taste in last year’s King’s Speech versus Social Network fiasco. No matter what anyone says, predicting the Oscars this early in the year is like predicting the Kentucky Derby when the horses are newborns. There may be some indicators, but nobody really knows.

With that said here are my 2012 Best Picture predictions 7 months before nominations are announced:

1) A Dangerous Method – TBA 2011

The underrated David Cronenberg has never been nominated for an Oscar before and this appears to be his most accessible film to date. It has the period piece factor, which usually plays well with the Academy, and strong actors at the helm. This could finally be his year.

2) The Descendants – December 16, 2011

Another director I feel is way overdue is Alexander Payne, although he has not gone completely unnoticed. He won Best Screenplay for 2004’s Sideways and is definitely on the Academy radar. This is his first directorial feature in seven years and he will be working with Oscar magnet George Clooney.

3) The Tree of Life – May 27, 2011

Already one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2011, this Terence Malick feature already took home the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. That prestigious festival prize does not often translate to Oscar success, but combined with the Box Office success it has been having and the passionate response from critics, it is the closest thing to a lock that we have right now.

4) War Horse – December 28

The stage adaptation of this novel has been enjoying huge success in London and on Broadway and Steven Spieblerg hopes to enjoy a similar response when the film comes out this Fall. Spielberg works with a mostly up-and-coming cast and assembles his usually successful creative team including composer John Williams, cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, and editor Michael Kahn.

5) The Iron Lady – TBA 2011

A political biopic starring Meryl Streep sounds like formula for Oscars success, especially considering it focuses on the career of Margaret Thatcher and will give Streep the chance to do an Oscar-bait impersonation. Will this finally give Streep her third Oscar? Who knows, but it will definitely be on the Academy’s radar.

6) J. Edgar – December 14, 2011

Clint Eastwood has not had Oscar success since his 2006 effort Letters from Iwo Jima, but never count him out. The Academy is looking for the next opportunity to do so and this collaboration between Eastwood, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black could be it.

7) The Ides of March – October 14, 2011

This political thriller puts George Clooney back in the director’s chair for the first time since 2008’s Leatherheads. This film looks more along the lines of Clooney’s Best Picture nominated Good Night, and Good Luck and features an all-star cast including Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, and Evan Rachel Wood.

8) We Need to Talk About Kevin – TBA 2011

This was one of the most highly acclaimed films at the Cannes Film Festival and many speculated it would play even better with the Academy than it did with the Cannes jury. Tilda Swinton seems like a shoe-in for a Best Actress nomination and this film could get a big push from BAFTA that carries it to Oscar glory.

9) Hugo Cabret – November 23, 2011

Whenever Martin Scorcese is tied to a movie, it seems like a certainty that it will be part of the Oscar conversation. This film should definitely find its way into some of the technical categories as it is Scorcese’s first 3-D effort, and if anyone is going to use the medium well it is him. That technical achievement may or may not also bring main category success depending on how the film is received.

10) Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – November 18, 2011

Action/thrillers rarely have great success at the Oscars, but I’m taking a chance with this one considering it has a great cast including Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, and Tom Hardy. It is also based on a highly acclaimed novel that has many fans.

Those are my predicted top ten. For the full list of Alternates and Other Possibilities, head over to the predictions page. View each category below.

Best Picture | Best Director | Best Actor | Best Actress

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  • Angel E.

    the best part about predicting this year is that we wont know if its 5 or 10 or even 8…

    i mentioned that a system like the one implemented now would make it better for the academy to choose since we get movies that, although are nominated for best picture, they really dont stand up next to the front runners..

    im really happy that its finally happened.

  • Andrew R.

    You didn’t do Animation, but I think, for the first time in many moons, we won’t see Pixar on the board in any categories.

  • Predict. Best Supporting Actor At The 2012 Oscars:
    Christopher Plummer—“Beginners”
    “’Beginners’ may well secure Christopher Plummer an overdue Academy Award. About time! What crafty delight this lion brings to the screen.”

  • I am intrigued by the new Best Picture system and I agree that ‘Cars 2’ wouldn’t have been a contender even if they hadn’t changed anything. I’m not sure if we can assume that it won’t be in the Best Animated category though. The new rules there increase the odds of 4, if not 5 nominations. And just because a lot (although certainly not all) of critics are backing down on the film doesn’t mean the Academy will. At least not to the same extent.

    Besides, where is the competition? Other than ‘Rango’ I don’t see much.

  • And Pixar tends to score song nominations. I don’t think the reviews should affect that. Robbie Williams and Brad Paisley is not their strongest combination, but I could easily see it happening.

  • joe

    why didn’t notice to Robinson’s rum diary

  • Jose

    For competition, aside from Rango, Kung Fu Panda 2, Winnie the Pooh, maybe Tintin, and something will probably come up at the last quarter. So far Panda 2 looks like the likely winner, yay.

  • Lindsay

    1) Best Picture: ‘Tree of Life’ OR ‘Girl W Dragon Tattoo’ (If its half as good as the original)
    2) Best Actor: Daniel Day Lewis – ‘Lincoln’ OR Clooney OR DiCaprio (Leo may be due)
    3) Best Actress: Meryl Streep – ‘THE Iron Lady’ (SHE PLAYS THATCHER FOR GODS SAKE)
    4) Best Supporting Actor: Ryan Gosling – ‘Ides of March’ (HE’S HOT)
    5) Best Supporting Actress: Kristen Stewart – ‘On the Road’ OR Scarlett Jo (DONT KNOW)
    6) Best Cinematography: Alexander Desplat – ‘Tree of Life’ (ITS VERY VERY PRETTY)
    7) Best Short: ‘African Chelsea’ (2 WORDS: SALLY KIRKLAND)
    8) Best Editing: ‘Girl W Dragon Tattoo’ (SEE COMMENT ABOVE)
    9) Best Screenplay Adapted: ‘Girl W Dragon Tat’
    10) Best Original Screenplay: ‘Ides’ OR ‘Tree’

  • Nelutu

    What about RIO for best animation?

  • Ronnie

    No mention of Take Shelter??

  • Keegan

    I think that Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained’ and Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ should be on that list. And if Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ is released in 2012 (it may be pushed back to 2013), then it will more than likely top the list.
    Best Picture Nominees
    Lincoln (winner)
    J. Edgar
    The Descendants
    The Ides of March
    Django Unchained
    The Tree of Life
    A Dangerous Method
    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln (winner)
    George Clooney in The Descendants
    Gary Oldman in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
    Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained
    Viggo Mortensen in A Dangerous Method
    Daniel Craig in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    Ryan Gosling in The Ides of March
    Leonardo diCaprio in J. Edgar

    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

  • Jose

    Getting a bit ahead of yourself there Keegan.
    The 2012 Oscars are for films from 2011, some of your films like Lincoln, Django Unchained and The Hobbit are for the 2013 ceremony, other then that your list looks solid.

  • Nicholus

    I think this maybe the year where either leo dicaprio or brad pitt get the nod for best actor. pitt has 2 films coming out that he could be nominated for. but both him and leo seem to be bringing stronger performances with every movie that comes out. i’m leaning toward j. edgar possibly being the biggest hit this year at the awards. possible best pic, best actor, and best director. but that’s without seeing more than who is associated, the subject, and the trailer makes me think this is very possible.

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