And the nominees are… Oscar nomination predictions by Kevin M. Thomas

oscar

The Oscar nominations come out Feb. 2 and it seems anyone’s guess what films will be up for Best Picture as the top category now has 10 nominees. It’s been said they expanded the list from five to 10 so they can get a better cross-selection of smaller films combined with blockbusters to be nominated for the top prize. Quite frankly, I’m sure the blockbusters will still dominate. But I do hope some smaller films like “(500) Days of Summer” make the list over “The Hangover.”

Every year I like to do the predictions for the nominees. Anyone can predict the winners as there are only five to choose from. I think it’s more challenging to pick the possible candidates from all contenders – good and bad.

The acting categories will likely have few surprises this year. Best actor once had a list of candidates that have pretty much disappeared. Perhaps some of them are forgotten since they were released months ago and some fell off the list because the hype died down after the film came out. So I will miss Joaquin Phoenix making the final cut for his excellent work in “Two Lovers” and it seems everyone has forgotten Sam Rockwell in “Moon.” There was once a lot of hype around Michael Caine in “Is There Anyone There?” and both Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. in “The Soloist” – but these performances seem to have been forgotten.

Best actress would be a more exciting race if “Grey Gardens” was a theatrical movie instead of a made-for-HBO flick as both Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange gave the year’s best female performances.

For supporting actor, Brad Pitt in “Inglorious Basterds” would have had a better chance if his studio wasn’t campaigning him for best actor.

Best song may not bring five nominees as the rules have changed a bit. A nominee must achieve a certain point level in order to be in consideration. So if only two songs achieve this, there will be just two nominees for best song. There’s even a chance no song will reach that required score, so it’s possible there will be no best song.

So here are my predictions in all categories. This isn’t my own choices, it’s what I think the Academy will single out. Check out www.oscars.com on Feb. 2 to see how I did.

"Precious"

"Precious"

BEST PICTURE
Avatar
District 9
(500) Days of Summer
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Invictus
Precious
Star Trek
Up
Up in the Air
Runners-up: An Education, Where the Wild Things Are, The Blind Side, The Hangover, A Single Man

BEST DIRECTOR
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar
Lee Daniels, Precious
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Runners-up: Clint Eastwood, Lone Scherfig, Neill Bloimkamp, Coen Brothers, Tom Ford, Pedro Almadovar

Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart"

Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart"

BEST ACTOR
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
Runners-up: Tobey Maguire, Joaquin Phoenix, Viggo Mortensen, Sam Rockwell, Robert DeNiro, Daniel Day Lewis

sandra-bullock-blind-side

BEST ACTRESS
Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
Runners-up: Carey Mulligan, Abbie Cornish, Penelope Cruz, Audrey Toutou, Michelle Pfeiffer

inglourious_basterds34

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Runners-up: Alfred Molina, Brad Pitt, Peter Sarsgaard, Christian McKay, Anthony Mackie, Alec Baldwin, Tom Hollander

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Penelope Cruz, Nine
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Monique, Precious
Julianne Moore, A Single Man
Runners-up: Sigorney Weaver, Samantha Morton, Diane Kruger, Marion Colliard, Patricia Clarkson

"The Hurt Locker"

"The Hurt Locker"

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Avatar
(500) Days of Summer
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Up
Runners-up: A Serious Man, Bright Star, The Hangover, Broken Embraces, Whatever Happens

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
An Education
Julie & Julia
Precious
Up in the Air
Where the Wild Things Are
Runners-up: District 9, A Single Man, Invictus, The Road, The Last Station

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Avatar
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
A Single Man
The White Ribbon
Runners-up: Nine, The Young Victoria, A Serious Man, Public Enemies, District 9, The Road, Where The Wild Things Are

BEST EDITING
Avatar
District 9
The Hurt Locker
Sherlock Holmes
Star Trek
Runners-up: Inglourious Basterds, Up in the Air, Nine, 2012, Julie & Julia

BEST COSTUMES
Bright Star
Inglourious Basterds
Julie & Julia
Nine
The Young Victoria
Runners-up: Coco Before Chanel, Sherlock Holmes, An Education, The Last Station, Amelia

BEST ART DIRECTION
Avatar
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Public Enemies
Star Trek
Where the Wild Things Are

Runners-up: The Last Station, The Young Victoria, Inglourious Basterds, Julie & Julia, Nine, District 9

BEST MAKE-UP
District 9
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Road
Runners-up: Star Trek, Night at the Opera, The Young Victoria, Il Divo

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Avatar
2012
Star Trek
Runners-up: District 9, Harry Potter, Transformers, Terminator

BEST ANIMATED FILM
Coraline
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Ponyo
The Princess and the Frog
Up
Runners-up: Monsters vs. Aliens, A Christmas Carol, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Ice Age, 9

BEST SONG
Avatar
Crazy Heart
Nine
The Princess and the Frog
The Princess and the Frog
Runners-up: Everybody’s Fine, Brothers, Nine, Invictus, The Young Victoria, My One and Only

BEST SCORE
Avatar
The Informant
Julie & Julia
A Single Man
Up
Runners-up: The Hurt Locker, Public Enemies, A Serious Man, Sherlock Holmes, Amelia, Cheri

BEST SOUND
Avatar
District 9
The Hurt Locker
Star Trek
Up
Runners-up: Transformers, Sherlock Holmes, Nine, Inglorious Basterds, Where the Wild Things Are

BEST SOUND EFFECTS EDITING
Avatar
Inglorious Basterds
Sherlock Holmes
Runners-up: District 9, Terminator Salvation, 2012, Public Enemies, Star Trek, The Hurt Locker, Transformers

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Milk of Snow
Un Proplete
The White Ribbon
Winter in Wartime
World is Big
Runners-up: El Sereto de sus ojos, Ajami, Kelin, Samson & Delilah

Many of these movies are in wide release or on DVD so they are easy to find.

The Last Station  is playing in New York at the Angelika and The Paris and in L.A. at The Landmark Theatre. but,  starts Feb. 5 in the SF/Bay Area at The Landmark Theatre.

An Education is playing:

SF:  Landmark Theater

L.A.:Laemmle Sunset 5

NY: Quad Cinema and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas