Oscar Nominations: Rex’s Predictions

academyawardsLW’s awards expert, Rex Okpodu, has peered into his crystal ball and come up with his picks for this year’s Academy Awards nominations, which will be announced on Tuesday. Awards are given out March 7.


As the race towards the 82nd Academy Awards unfolded, the first set of films listed below have had the most support from the critics, the Golden Globes and the guilds. In a normal year they would have been the five best picture nominees, but since the Academy decided to increase this year’s nominees to ten, I am predicting five top-tier and five bottom-tier films vying to make the ten best picture nominees.

Five top- tier films locked for this category:

The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Up in The Air

The second-tier five will come from this list:

An Education
A Serious Man
A Single Man
The Blind Side
The Hangover
Crazy Heart
Julie and Julia
Star Trek
District 9


James Cameron, Avatar
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Unusually we have five best-picture slots, with the five director nominees usually (but not always) coming from those pictures. But ten best picture slots means a nominated director of any of the ten nominated films automatically makes his or her film a stronger contender in the Best Picture category. It is worth mentioning that on rare occasions, the Academy’s directing category matches the DGA nominees; but other times, the Academy likes to throw in a wild card or two. The four listed above are locks for a nomination and the fifth slot will be filled by one the following:

Lee Daniels, Precious
Neill Blomkamp, District 9
Lone Scherfig, An Education
Clint Eastwood, Invictus

There is a real race emerging in the best picture and director categories between Avatar, The Hurt Locker, and Inglourious Basterds. Avatar won the Globes, Inglorious Basterds the SAG, and The Hurt Locker (surprisingly) beat Avatar and won the PGA.
The DGA will award their best director on Saturday, January 30, but a win for Cameron or Bigelow does not necessarily mean an automatic victory of the directing and/or best picture Oscar until the envelope is opened on air on Oscar night.

It is worth commenting that this year’s race is further complicated because the Academy is using a preferential voting system (hitherto used in the nominating stage only). This means the winning film not only needs a simple majority, but has to build up a consensus by appearing as second or third preference to win best picture. All of which makes this year’s Academy Awards wide open, intriguing and dramatic.


Jeff Bridges (A Crazy Heart)
George Clooney (Up in the Air)
Colin Firth (A Single Man)
Morgan Freeman (Invictus)
Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)

There is a slim chance that one of those listed below might displace someone above:

Toby Maguire (Brothers)
Ben Foster (The Messenger)
Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man)

The is no reason to believe the top five of this list will change from the names nominated by the SAG. Jeff Bridges is almost certain to pick up his first Best Actor Oscar of his long career after four previous nominations.


Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)
Carey Mulligan (An Education)
Gabourey Sidibe (Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire)
Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia)
Helen Mirren (The Last Station)

There is a slim chance that one of those listed below might displace someone above:

Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria)
Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones)
Catalina Saavedra (The Maid)

The first four are locks for a nomination in this category and the fifth, Helen Mirren, is not so solid. I seriously doubt that the best actor and actress nominees will match the SAG nominations list. For this reason, Emily Blunt, playing an Academy favorite Oscar nominated role (A British Queen) in The Young Victoria might replace Helen Mirren, herself recently crowned for playing The Queen in 2006. Whatever the case, the best actress, director, and picture categories are promising a cliff hanger finish on Oscar night


Matt Damon (Invictus)
Woody Harrelson (The Messenger)
Christopher Plummer (The Last Station)
Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones) or (Julie & Julia)
Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)

There is a slim chance that one or two of those listed below might displace someone above:

Peter Sarsgaard (An Education
Alfred Molina (An Education)
Alec Baldwin (It’s Complicated)


Mo’Nique (Precious)
Penelope Cruz (Nine)
Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air)
Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air)
Diane Kruger, (Inglourious Basterds)

There is a slim chance that one or two of those listed below might displace someone above:

Julianne Moore, A Single Man
Samantha Morton (The Messenger)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart)

In previous years, the best supporting acting categories were the hardest to predict. The same might happen this year and the final list of nominees for each category might include a wild card or two especially as support for Nine has all but vanished. As they have won all the precursor awards all season, it will be an upset of monumental proportion if Waltz and Mo’Nique do not take home the best supporting actor and actress Oscars on Oscar night.


The five nominees will come from this list:

Michael Boal for The Hurt Locker (Favorite for the win on Oscar night)
Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds (Also a favorite)
Joel and Ethan Coen for A Serious Man
Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell for District 9
Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Webber for (500) Days of Summer
Bob Peterson and Pete Docter for Up
James Cameron for Avatar
Oren Moverman for The Messenger
Nancy Meyers for It’s Complicated
Jane Campion for Bright Star


The five nominees will come from this list:

Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner for Up in the Air, based on a novel by Walter Kirn (Favored to win)
Geoffrey Fletcher for Precious based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman for Star Trek, based on the television series “Star Trek” by Gene Roddenberry
Scott Cooper for Crazy Heart, based on a novel by Thomas Cobb
Nick Hornby for An Education, based on the memoirs of Lynne Barber
Tom Ford for A Single Man, based on a novel by Christopher Isherwood
Anthony Peckham for Invictus, based on a novel by John Carlin
Spike Jonze and Dave Eggars for Where the Wild Things Are, based on a book by Maurice Sendak


Five films will be nominated from this shortlist:

Argentina, “El Secreto de Sus Ojos,” Juan Jose Campanella, director
Australia, “Samson & Delilah,” Warwick Thornton, director
Bulgaria, “The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner,” Stephan Komandarev, director
France, “Un Prophète,” Jacques Audiard, director
Germany, “The White Ribbon,” Michael Haneke, director
Israel, “Ajami,” Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, directors
Kazakhstan, “Kelin,” Ermek Tursunov, director
The Netherlands, “Winter in Wartime,” Martin Koolhoven, director
Peru, “The Milk of Sorrow,” Claudia Llosa, director


Three films will be nominated from this list:

The Fantastic Mr. Fox
A Christmas Carol

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