2012 Oscar Nominations & Frontrunners

And it’s official, the nominations are out for the 84th Academy Awards. This time last year, it was already down to a two horse race between The Social Network and The King’s Speech for Best Picture, and the best actor and actress awards were all but locked up by Colin Firth and Natalie Portman. This year, we have a few strong frontrunners, but the competition to take home an Oscar seems more challenging.

Could this be the year for George Clooney to nail down the Best Actor award for his performance in The Descendants? He was nominated two years ago in the leading category for Up In The Air and won a Supporting Actor Oscar for Syriana— and he has won the Golden Globe for The Descendants already. Clooney seems to be one of the Academy favorites these days, so if you had to make an early prediction, this might be a safe bet. I predict it will come down to him or The Artist’s Jean Dujardin.
Speaking of Academy favorites, is there any bigger favorite than Meryl Streep? This is now her 17th nomination, having won only twice for Sophie’s Choice in 1983 and Kramer vs. Kramer in 1980. Streep’s performance was spot on as Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady, but there are two more to look out for in this category.

The first is Michelle Williams, who played the perfect Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn. She too has a few previous nominations for Blue Valentine and Brokeback Mountain. So she may get a few voters in the Academy thinking it is her time.

Glenn Close is in the same situation, having 5 previous nominations for the likes of Dangerous Liaisons and Fatal Attraction. Close gave a very daring performance portraying a man in Albert Nobbs. Two other actresses, Hillary Swank and Linda Hunt, have won oscars for portraying men in Boys Don’t Cry and The Year Of Living Dangerously.

And lastly, when you figure in Viola Davis in The Help, we are left with one tough category to pick. Streep has to be the odds-on favorite, but as much as the Academy likes nominating her, they also liking voting for someone else in the final ballot.

That brings us to the coveted Best Picture award. With the new nomination requirements, we have a different number of films nominated this year. The Artist (with its 1920s Hollywood glamor) and The Descendants (with its modern-day family drama) are certainly the two frontrunners at the moment. Both have already won Golden Globes for Best Picture in their respective categories. But I won’t discount The Help from the race quite yet either. Based on a bestselling novel, its humble story made audiences everywhere laugh out loud and then leave the theater touched. That combination spells success.  

If you haven’t seen some of the nominated films, get out there and go see them before Oscar night (Sunday, February 26) so you can judge for yourself. Just remember: no talking or texting during the feature presentation.

— Jim

4 thoughts on “2012 Oscar Nominations & Frontrunners

  1. Michelle Williams was absolutely astounding. She prorrayed the vulnerability and also the manipulative powers of Marilyn with depth and subtley. "The Iron Lady," which I did not see, was widely considered very flawed outside of the Streep performance. "The Artist" is already one of my favorite movies ever, but I am a movie geek. "Albert Nobbs" had not shown in Houston yet. I very much liked "The Descendents" and liked Clooney in it, but it's not quite Best Actor material; and I do mean that the material could not push the performance any further.

  2. James,I agree with you about Michelle Williams. In my humble opinion, if it were only me voting for the award, she would be my winner. Iron Lady did have several flaws as a film and although Streep gave a wonderful performance, I thought some of her performance was partly the make-up. Which by the way, Iron Lady was nominated for Best Make-Up, which I could see it winning. I think Streep will have to look out for Viola Davis though. There seems to be a lot of buzz right now for her, and she could gain a lot of momentum if The Help wins the SAG award.I think Clooney is the one to beat for actor, but how cool would it be to see Gary Oldman win. Not going to happen though, and it's a small victory just to have him nominated. The races will certainly be fun to follow.– Jim

  3. I must say, this is the most exciting year in a long time. Specially in the Leading categories. The Best Actor category where there's Clooney vs. Dujardin. But I also think that Brad Pitt will have a shot there, since he's been nominated two times before without any wins, plus he's become old, and have plans of retire from the movie business at the age of 50, according to himself. So this award might be his farewell fruit basket. It's difficult to say who of those three might win.Also they took all the fun out the Best Supporting Actor category when Albert Brooks wasn't nominated. Now Christopher Plummer gonna win for sure, with his gay performance, which is just an award from the academy to show their appreciation over his long carrier, more like an honorary Oscar. I don't say I didn't like it, but Brooks performance was more deeper and unpredictable.I think that Octavia Spencer gonna win Best Supporting actress, as a compensation of Viona Davis not standing a chance to win the Best Actress award, because she's in the shadow of the two veterans Street and Close.

  4. Jens, I would have loved to have seen Albert Brooks in the mix as well for supporting actor. Have not seen the Beginners yet, but since it is already out on Blu-Ray, I will catch it before the Oscars.As far as Best Actress, don't be too quick to hand the Oscar to Streep. I think Viola Davis is starting to be talked about more, and who knows? If The Help carries the SAG ensemble award, which everyone thinks it will, she might have enough momentum to pull an upset. I think it will be closer than you might think. I also think Octavia Spencer is a dead lock. She was very good. Really the only one close to Spencer is Melissa McCarthy from Bridesmaids, but it won't even be close.– Jim

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