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Oscars: If the Academy Awards were being held today … – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: When Gold Derby recently asked me to make predictions in the top six major Oscar categories for the benefit of their site, I realized that I hadn’t stopped since Toronto to actually rank and file the contenders. Like everyone else, I have favorites floating around my radar. But I’ve been waiting for all of the players to emerge from behind the curtain so we could have a clear picture of the pieces with which we are playing.

So for now, this list feels right. Granted, too much can change between now and nominations, and campaigns are still formulating around the critics’ groups that will begin as early as next week (with the New York Film Critics’ Circle jumping the gun to beat the National Board of Review).

But, if the Oscars were held tonight, here’s who I think would compete for an Academy Award, ranked in order of their chances to win – knowing that any or all of these could change at the drop of a hat.

“The Artist”
“The Help”
“The Descendants”
“War Horse”

Also contending: “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” “Midnight In Paris,” “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” “Drive,” “The Tree of Life,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2”

Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”
David Fincher, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
Steven Spielberg, “War Horse”
Bennett Miller, “Moneyball”

Also contending: Woody Allen, Stephen Daldry, Steve McQueen, George Clooney, Martin Scorsese, Terrence Malick, Tomas Alfredson, Clint Eastwood

Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”
Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
George Clooney, “The Descendants”
Michael Fassbender, “Shame”
Woody Harrelson, “Rampart”

Also contending: Leonardo DiCaprio, Gary Oldman, Ryan Gosling, Michael Shannon, Tom Hardy, Owen Wilson

Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis, “The Help”
Charlize Theron, “Young Adult”
Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Michelle Williams, “My Week with Marilyn”

Also contending: Tilda Swinton, Elizabeth Olsen, Berenice Bejo, Kirsten Dunst, Olivia Colman, Felicity Jones, Keira Knightley

Jim Broadbent, “The Iron Lady”
Kenneth Branagh, “My Week with Marilyn”
Albert Brooks, “Drive”
Max von Sydow, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
Nick Nolte, “Warrior”

Also contending: Christopher Plummer, Jonah Hill, Ezra Miller, Tom Hardy, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Andy Serkis, Armie Hammer

Octavia Spencer, “The Help”
Vanessa Redgrave, “Coriolanus”
Judy Greer, “The Descendants”
Carey Mulligan, “Shame”
Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”

Also contending: Shailene Woodley, Jessica Chastain, Melissa McCarthy, Bryce Dallas Howard

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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  • November 23, 2011 | Permalink |

    I think Meryl Streep is poised to win for The Iron Lady.

  • November 23, 2011 | Permalink |

    Wow. Let’s hope you’re insane and Brad Pitt really doesn’t get this any more than he [doesn’t deserve] it.

    Or about Woody Harrelson.. I mean are you high?

  • November 24, 2011 | Permalink |

    Wow! I actually thought your ranking is so spot-on! You were not swayed by what popular pundits are saying right now but goes for underrated but sublime performances and direction.

    If I may move a few things: Christopher Pummer should be in the top 5 (and ranked either #1 or #2), while Vanessa Redgrave #1 rather than Octavia Spencer.

  • November 27, 2011 | Permalink |

    I’m surprised there’s no mention of Kirsten Dunst. She’s been favorited for a nomination since her Cannes win, but she’s not even mentioned as “also contending”.

  • November 28, 2011 | Permalink |

    Saw streep..she puts on an acting clinic. When you walk of the film, all you can say is, WOW, THAT WAS ONE HELL OF A PERFORMANCE!,,,the question will be if critics and academy members are sophisticated enough to grasp it

  • November 28, 2011 | Permalink |

    The Dunst omission is a mistake. She’s certainly “contending,” and I have added her into the Best Actress mix. Thanks for noticing that, Niloc.

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