Oscar predictions 2012
We pick the winners, the spoilers and our favorites among this year’s nominees.
Oscar speculation is reaching a fever pitch that won’t ebb until the ceremony on February 26. We offer breakdowns of the major races and suggest ways a ratings-starved Academy could turn each award into a headline-grabbing TV moment.
Best Supporting Actress
Will win With her revenge-by-shit-pie triumph, Octavia Spencer’s Minny embodies the spirit of The Help: racial injustice conquered through you-go-girl tenacity. The Golden Globe and SAG winner is basically a lock.
Could win If Spencer splits the vote with ubiquitous costar Jessica Chastain, any of their competitors might swoop in.
Should win Though her gender masquerade is only slightly more convincing than Glenn Close’s, Janet McTeer handily steals Albert Nobbs.
Great TV moment in the making A win for Melissa McCarthy would be a consolation prize for Bridesmaids.
Best Supporting Actor
Will win Christopher Plummer has won every major precursor award for his performance as an out-and-proud father battling cancer in Beginners.
Could win Kenneth Branagh playing Laurence Olivier is the kind of stunt the Academy usually goes nuts over.
Should win Nick Nolte is heartbreaking in Warrior, but Plummer deserves this one.
Great TV moment in the making If host Billy Crystal fails to bring the funny, an acceptance speech from Moneyball’s Jonah Hill could supply emergency comic relief.
Will win The Help’s Viola Davis recently won the SAG Award, cementing her front-runner status.
Could win Despite a record 17 nominations, Meryl Streep hasn’t won since 1983. It’s possible her Thatcher impersonation in The Iron Lady will end the dry spell.
Should win Rooney Mara’s turn as avenging angel/hacker/punk-rock icon Lisbeth Salander was the year’s fiercest, most weirdly touching transformation.
Great TV moment in the making Michelle Williams takes the stage and tearfully dedicates her Oscar to Marilyn Monroe, giving future ceremonies go-to clip-reel fodder.
Will win In the night’s toughest call, something tells us Descendants star George Clooney will narrowly edge The Artist’s Jean Dujardin and Moneyball’s Brad Pitt.
Could win Dujardin took the SAG. Also, he’s the heart and soul of presumptive Best Picture champ The Artist—unless you count that damn dog.
Should win Pitt’s aging-movie-star charisma is perfectly suited to a comeback story like Moneyball.
Great TV moment in the making Dujardin brings Uggie onstage for some live antics. Is it too late to change our prediction?
Will win Pitted against several legends, DGA winner Michel Hazanavicius seems poised to get swept up with The Artist’s streak.
Could win If anyone’s going to topple the Frenchman, it’ll be fellow silent-film lover Martin Scorsese for Hugo.
Should win Terrence Malick’s marriage of the intimate and the cosmic made The Tree of Life one of 2011’s boldest achievements.
Great TV moment in the making Woody Allen has attended the Oscars only once. Malick never has. Either showing up would be a coup.
Will win Perhaps you’ve heard of this little movie called The Artist?
Could win The Help picked up three SAG awards, including Best Ensemble. The last two films to do that—Chicago and American Beauty—won Best Picture.
Should win Only The Tree of Life feels like the kind of movie people will be talking about for decades to come.
Great TV moment in the making Bridesmaids wins on write-ins. America goes to bed happy.