1. Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
2. Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
3. Marion Cotillard (Rust & Bone)
4. Naomi Watts (The Impossible)
5. Helen Mirren (Hitchcock)
Alternative: Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Smashed)
Jennifer Lawrence is the biggest addition to this category after the Toronto festival gave her film a major boost. Some pundits have already chalked her up as the winner, which sounds a bit premature to me, but hey, it’s not like anybody else here looks like they can take the gold man home. Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s film was well-received at Sundance but she didn’t exactly look like a nominee until it became clear that the fall festival trifecta was not going to give us any new contenders other than Lawrence, so now she’s back in the race. I wonder if Smashed is going to be big enough to get her major notices though. She’ll surely be the film’s only nomination, so having not seen the film yet, I wonder if her performance is strong enough to make that happen. On the other hand, I don’t see the Academy nominating two French-speaking performances in the same year either, so Emmanuelle Riva’s going to have a really tough battle. Is she going to campaign for it? If not her or Winstead, then who? Keira Knightley (Anna Karenina) is the most obvious answer, but for now, I’m guessing the divisive reaction to her film will leave her out, which will leave us with Helen Mirren, who’s just recently been added to the race with Hitchcock.
1. Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)
2. John Hawkes (The Sessions)
3. Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
4. Denzel Washington (Flight)
5. Anthony Hopkins (Hitchcock)
Alternative: Jean-Louis Trintignant (Amour)
Joaquin Phoenix gives the best performance of his career and he’s got the nomination all locked up. I’m fairly confident there’s nothing standing in Hawkes’ way either. He’s well-liked in the industry and he’s playing an incredibly baity role masterfully. Fox Searchlight’s insistence on releasing Hitchcock this year tells me they’ve seen something truly special in it and it may well be Hopkins’ performance as the Master of Suspense.
Could I be underestimating Hugh Jackman’s chances for Les Misérables though? We all know how well he can sing and that’s as good a role as they come. Or what about Bradley Cooper? If everybody around him is getting attention for the film and he’s good in it, why not?
Best Supporting Actress
1. Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)
2. Amy Adams (The Master)
3. Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
4. Maggie Smith (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
5. Sally Field (Lincoln)
Alternative: Samantha Barks (Les Misérables)
This category is just... boring this year. I’m looking forward to Hathaway’s performance but I’m also worried that it might not live up to the hype. If that happens to be the case, who can take this category? Amy Adams is certainly primed for a win after several nominations. She’s in an acclaimed film and although her performance is not as revelatory as her co-stars, she’s dependably great. Then there’s Helen Hunt, who’s really strong in her film, but can’t hold a candle to any of the winners from the past decade. Could Barks surprise us all?
I know it’s way too early to be talking about the win, but this category is so lacklustre it leaves nothing to discuss.
Best Supporting Actor
1. Phillip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
2. Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
3. Alan Arkin (Argo)
4. Matthew McConnaughey (Magic Mike)
5. Russell Crowe (Les Misérables)
Alternative: Michael Pena (End of Watch)
Phillip Seymour Hoffman is without a doubt a co-lead in The Master. I think if Weinstein decides to campaign both actors as leads, we’ll be looking at our first double nominees in that category since Amadeus. There’s no way either of these two performances will be left out. If Hoffman is campaigned here, though, I can’t see anyone else winning. Again, too early to talk about wins when the nominations are still a few months away, but really, the performance is that strong.
Robert De Niro is getting the best reviews he’s had in about two decades, so he’s likely to factor in the race. Alan Arkin seems to be the one supporting actor from Argo who’s on everyone’s lips. I’d imagined it’d be Bryan Cranston but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The big question for me is whether the ecstatic reviews for End of Watch will force the distributor to campaign for Gyllenhaal and Pena.