On Tuesday, a lot of people -- in Hollywood, and elsewhere -- will be waking
up early. The Oscar nominations will be announced at the ungodly hour of 5:30
a.m. Pacific time, by actress Jennifer Lawrence (a nominee last year for
"Winter's Bone," and star of the upcoming "The Hunger Games") and Academy of
Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Tom Sherak. What names will be
called? Who'll be this year's biggest snub? (Last year, in my book, it was
Christopher Nolan being left off the director list for "Inception.") Who'll
surprise? Who'll make the most humble early-morning thank-you speech? A few
The rules changed two years ago in this category -- to allow 10 nominees instead of the customary five -- and this year they've changed again: This time, a film must get more than 5 percent of the first-place votes on the nominee ballots in order to make the list, which could result in anywhere from 5 to 10 films nominated. So it's an open question how many slots there'll be. I'm predicting eight, for no particular reason.
Sure things: "The Artist." "The Descendants." "The Help." "Midnight in Paris." I'll be very, very surprised if these four don't make it to the ballot. And "War Horse," an Oscar-friendly movie if ever there was one, is likely to be there, too.
Not so certain: Will "Hugo" make the list, or be dismissed as a children's film? Will "Moneyball," though liked by all, be the first choice of enough voters? Does "The Tree of Life" have enough fans to make up for its many detractors? And are all those people who think "Bridesmaids" has a shot crazy? So many questions.
Probably not: "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," though it initially seemed like an awards contender, has received little support in the Oscar run-up. And quite possibly the violence in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" may keep the film too far down on the list of most Oscar voters.
Sure things: Well, the Directors Guild of America nominees are as good a place to start as any, as they generally mirror the Oscar noms for at least four out of five. And the five are: Woody Allen ("Midnight in Paris"), David Fincher ("The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"), Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants") and Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"). All but Hazanavicius are previous DGA nominees -- and previous Oscar nominees.
Not so certain: It seems unlikely that Academy favorite Steven Spielberg ("War Horse"; not "The Adventures of Tintin") would be left off the list -- but which of the above gentlemen would he bump off it? Likewise Terrence Malick ("Tree of Life") or frequent nominee Clint Eastwood ("J. Edgar").
Probably not: Previous nominees George Clooney ("The Ides of March") and Jason Reitman ("Young Adult"). Not their year.
Sure things: Don't cry for Clooney; he's sure to get an invitation for "The Descendants," which some are calling the performance of his career. (I wouldn't argue.) His "Ocean's 11" buddy Brad Pitt should turn up as well, for his movie-star turn in "Moneyball," and Jean Dujardin should pull off the impressive feat of being nominated without saying a word, for his silent role in "The Artist." (Reason to root for Dujardin: At last week's New York Film
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