You can see a full list of predictions in all categories here.
1. Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
2. Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)
3. Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
4. Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
5. Helen Mirren (Hitchcock)
Alternative: Marion Cotillard (Rust & Bone)
I’m still holding out hope for Wallis because I think the Academy won’t be able to resist a narrative as good as hers, but the truth is that the SAG ineligibility will definitely hurt her chances. Critics need to champion her non-stop and as much as I’m sure they’ll like the film, I’m not confident they’ll see her performance as her achievement rather than her directors.
Outside the six actressess that I’ve predicted and despite the fact that everyone – myself included – has been calling this a wide open field, I think there are only three other realistic possibilities: Mary Elizabeth Winstead from Smashed, whose film was released to enthusiastic if not exceptionally prominent response; Naomi Watts from The Impossible, whose film no one seems to take too seriously as an awards player but has nevertheless gained generally positive reactions; and Keira Knightley from Anna Karenina, who is, as always, very divisive.
2. John Hawkes (The Sessions)
3. Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)
4. Denzel Washington (Flight)
5. Anthony Hopkins (Hitchcock)
Alternative: Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables)
This race looks almost closed up already, even more so than the female counterpart. What are the realistic chances of anyone outside the top six? Jean Louis Trintignant could ride a wave of unanimous support for Amour but whether the actors’ branch, the largest in the Academy, is going to be as crazy about the film as the critics is left to be seen. If he continues to pop up on every critics’ list, however, he might be hard to ignore.
There’s also Bradley Cooper who could get nominated, if and only if, Silver Linings Playbook is one of those major, across the board films that score nominations everywhere. But that seems unlikely to me because a) voters can already nominate two actors from this film without resorting to Cooper and b) he is not yet taken seriously as an actor, unfair as that may sound.
Best Supporting Actress
2. Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
3. Amy Adams (The Master)
4. Maggie Smith (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
5. Sally Field (Lincoln)
Alternative: Samantha Barks (Les Misérables)
Only two months left and this category still looks as empty as it has all year. It tells us something about how dull the race is when Hathaway is the frontrunner only because her film hasn’t been seen by anyone, and despite the fact that everyone knows her role is minimal (though pivotal) and she disappears from her film for the longest stretch. Hunt and Adams, barring campaigning flops of epic proportions, should be nominated comfortably. It is the last two spots that can make things interesting. Even the eventual winner can still hail from one of those two spots, though not if Smith and Field take them, as I’ve assumed will happen. Maybe if Samantha Barks keeps the ‘two actresses from the same film’ streak going in this category, she can also be the Octavia Spencer to Hathaway’s Jessica Chastain. Who knows...
Best Supporting Actor
2. Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
3. Alan Arkin (Argo)
4. Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
5. Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained)
Alternative: Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
I’ve added Leo DiCaprio and Tommy Lee Jones since the last round of predictions. The former is here because he looks like the most probable nominee from Tarantino’s newest on paper. Even if the Academy doesn’t take to the film at large, as happens frequently with QT’s work, a delicious villain is always likely to register in this particular category. The latter has been added because Lincoln’s reviews suggest that the only performer who lives up to Day Lewis's standard in the film is Jones. He is very popular in the industry as his unexpected nomination for In the Valley of Elah suggests and his profile is boosted this year because of Hope Springs. I have a gut feeling that he will battle with Hoffman in a two-way race for the win, but it’s way too early to think about that.