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Oscar nominations will be revealed on the 24th.  As arbitrary as the nominations can sometimes seem, there’s definitely method to their madness.  Over the next week, we’ll dive into the potential nominees in each of the big eight categories.  This time around: Adapted Screenplay.

VIRTUAL LOCK

  • Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian, Story by Stan Chervin, Moneyball
  • Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, and Alexander Payne, The Descendants

I’ve given my thoughts on Moneyball elsewhere, but it is one of the best-reviewed films of the year, somehow.  And as I mentioned, they did do an admirable job figuring out how to turn the book into a film.  If you are suffering from Community withdrawal, you can be happy for Dean Pelton’s seemingly inevitable nomination.  As mentioned, I personally don’t see it.

GOOD BET

  • Tate Taylor, The Help

One path to winning big in Oscar is figuring out how to make a movie that nearly everyone loves while still considering it a “serious” movie.  Taylor got that down pat.

LIKELY IN

  • John Logan, Hugo

Logan has two prior nominations (Gladiator and The Aviator) and also wrote two other movies released this year (Corolianus and Rango).  More importantly, he co-wrote the new Bond movie, Skyfall.  Hugo is beloved, for reasons that elude me, the only reason Logan wouldn’t get the nomination is if people are so distracted by Scorsese and the visuals that they forget about the script.

ON THE BUBBLE

  • Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Steve Zaillian, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

O’Connor passed away at the age of 49 after finishing the script with Straughan, her husband.  A nomination would be a great story.  I thought Zaillian’s script was a big improvement over both the novel and the Swedish movie, and the film has been making a late awards surge.  How would Oscar voters feel about giving Zaillian two nominations in the category this year?

DARK HORSES

  • George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, The Ides of March
  • Richard Curtis and Lee Hall, War Horse
  • Eric Roth, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Ides of March has found late traction, and you should never count Clooney out, even if the movie didn’t really hit upon release.  War Horse‘s star has been fading fast, while Extremely Loud turned out to be the theoretical Oscar juggernaut that no one wanted to actually see.

SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED

  • Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, The Muppets
  • Ashley Miller, Zach Stenz, Jane Goldman, and Matthew Vaughn, story by Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer, X-Men: First Class
  • Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Captain America
  • Adrian Hodges, My Week with Marilyn
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Oscar nominations will be revealed on the 24th.  As arbitrary as the nominations can sometimes seem, there’s definitely method to their madness.  Over the next week, we’ll dive into the potential nominees in each of the big eight categories.  This time around: Supporting Actress.

VIRTUAL LOCK

  • Octavia Spencer, The Help

She won the Critics Choice and the Golden Globe, is nominated for the SAG and is playing a lovable character in a film everyone saw and most people quite liked.  At this point, it’d be an upset for Spencer not to win the category, missing out on a nomination would be nuts.

GOOD BET

  • Berenice Bejo, The Artist

The BAFTAs have it right, Bejo is absolutely a lead actress in this film, there’s no way she’s a supporting actress.  That category confusion is the only reason I don’t have her as a lock.  But Harvey Weinstein is a genius and seems to have pretty well herded his sheep into putting her as supporting.

LIKELY IN

  • Jessica Chastain, The Help

I must admit to being a little confused at the likely nominations for The Help.  Don’t get me wrong, the actresses did a fine job, but if the movie were less-liked, I’m skeptical we’d be seeing their names bandied about so often.  Here, Jessica Chastain is getting in because she’s had a killer year and general consensus seems to be that her best route in is through this role.  To be honest, for most of the movie, I wasn’t sure which one was her and which one was Bryce Dallas Howard.

ON THE BUBBLE

  • Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
  • Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
  • Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

With Oscar you never know what will happen, but the only logical prediction you can make is that five of these six women will get nominations.  Melissa McCarthy has the most buzz and some seem to think she has a shot at winning the award, but I need to see evidence the old guard will vote for a relatively unknown TV actress in a comedy where her claim to fame is poop jokes.  Woodley has the advantage of being a hot young thing in a movie everyone has seen and liked with the precursors to support a vote.  I realize this makes me a terrible Oscar blogger, but I just now realized that Janet McTeer already has a Best Actress Oscar nomination, for a movie called Tumbleweeds (which I’ve never heard of), directed by Gavin O’Connor, who did Warrior.

DARK HORSES

  • Vanessa Redgrave, Coriolanus
  • Carey Mulligan, Shame
  • Jessica Chastain, Tree of Life
  • Judi Dench, My Week with Marilyn

Redgrave is supposed to be fantastic in Coriolanus, but I think three people have seen the film.  Carey Mulligan gets naked and sings in Shame, so there’s that.  As I mentioned last time, I don’t think anyone really knows what to do with Tree of Life, so it is entirely possible it rides a wave of nominations.  Dench just got a BAFTA nomination, is rightfully beloved by everyone and plays a character with slightly more screen time than her Oscar-winning role in Shakespeare in Love, so I guess you can’t count her out.

SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED

  • Elle Fanning, Super 8 (probably going to end up my favorite supporting actress performance of the year)
  • Marion Cotillard, Midnight in Paris
  • Haley Atwell, Captain America
  • Ellen Page, Super
  • Liana Liberato, Trust
  • Helen Mirren, Arthur
  • Eva Green, Cracks
January 2012
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