'Social Network,' 'King's Speech' or 'Inception': What will score the most Oscar nods?

3-oscar-contendersImage Credit: Merrick Morton; Laurie Sparham; Melissa MoseleyThe guild award nominations are now coming fast and furious. But how will this year’s top awards candidates fare overall when the Oscar nominations are announced on Jan. 25? Last year no movie earned more than nine nominations; that’s because the top two contenders, The Hurt Locker and Avatar, only had one acting nod between them. But by my guesses, three films — The Social Network, The King’s Speech, and Inception — could feasibly score a nomination count in the double digits. Here’s how I see things shaking out:

The Social Network: 11 nominations (picture, director, adapted screenplay, actor, supporting actor, art direction, cinematography, editing, score, sound mixing, sound editing)
The King’s Speech: 11 nominations (picture, director, original screenplay, actor, supporting actor, supporting actress, art direction, cinematography, costume design, editing, score)
Inception: 10 nominations (picture, director, original screenplay, art direction, cinematography, editing, score, sound mixing, sound editing, visual effects)

By the way, I have True Grit close behind with nine nominations: picture, director, adapted screenplay, art direction, cinematography, two acting nods, and two sound nods. If it manages to snag a nomination for its costumes as well, it could also break out of the single digits. (The Fighter and Black Swan, meanwhile, could top out around eight nominations.) Whatever the case, I have a feeling that people could start looking at this year’s race a little differently (i.e., as an actual race) once the nominations are announced.

Follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for more Oscar news and updates.

Comments (138 total) Add your comment
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  • LOL

    Hailee Steinfeld FTW!

  • Chris Price

    Dave, I can also easily see Black Swan picking up close to 10 nominations as well. Swan led all Critic’s Choice nominees with 12 nods total.

    It will most likely be nominated for: Picture, Director, Actress, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Editing, Costume Design and Makeup.

    If the sound field chooses to honor it with a Sound Mixing nod like they did today in the Cinema Audio Society, and the film also manages to pick up a Cinematography nod, then you’ve got your total to 10. But I’m thinking at least 8.

    • Woot

      Black Swan will get nominated for cinematography. It has been winning a slew of critics awards in that category.

    • Mac

      It’s not getting a Supporting Actress nod. Hailee Steinfeld, Jacki Weaver, Melissa Leo, Amy Adams and Helena Bohnam-Carter are going to be the nominees.

      • Kris

        I think its very conceivable Mila Kunis could get a nod. She was nominated for both a SAG and Golden Globe Award. She wont win but she could very well be nominated.

      • Rukia

        I like Amy Adams. And I thought she was terrific in the film. But let’s face it… she hasn’t been getting a lot of nominations for her performance at other award shows.

        There is no reason to believe she will get an Oscar nomination. And it sounds like Steinfeld might end up getting nominated for lead actress.

      • Zach

        Rukia, go see the movie. Amy is definitely in. Now I agree, Black Swan has just as good a shot of getting 10 as does The Social Network (sound mixing AND sound, Dave? You sure about that?).

      • Jennifer

        Jackie Weaver is out, and Mila Kunis is in, haven’t you heard?

      • Erin

        Please no! Prefer Jackie’s over Mila’s performance. If Swan is to score a supporting nom I’d go with Barbara but I guess she’s pretty much out of the running going off prior awards.

      • me

        mila will be nominated, you heard it here. of course from other people, too.

      • Woot

        I think Mila will get nominated because Haillie Stienfield will get put into the Best Actress race.

      • Aaron

        Mila is totally in. If Penelope Cruz can get nominated for Nine last year, why can’t Mila Kunis get nominated this year? I think the five will be Kunis, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, Helena Bonham Carter, and Hailee Steinfeld (although she is on shaky ground, alternating between lead and supporting). I really don’t think Jacki Weaver will be nominated because I highly doubt every Academy member will be watching the little-seen Animal Kingdom. I still have Marion Cotillard for Inception as a dark horse.

    • Lee

      BLACK SWAN did terrible at the box office. There’s no way it’ll get nominated for Best Picture. It’s too bizarre for the “older” Academy members. And if the Best Picture nods were still just five–I doubt THE FIGHTER would get a Best Picture nod too. The Wahlberg and Adams’ characters were one-dimensional. Some critics didn’t like it because of that and I’m sure some of the Academy members will feel the same way. This was a terrible year at the cinema when THE SOCIAL NETWORK and THE KING’S SPEECH are the frontrunners.

      • ML

        Black Swan cost $13 million and has made $61 million. It’s the director’s biggest movie ever and is considered a hit breaking the top 5 after being released for months. It will get a best picture nomination.

      • Pogi

        This is one of the most uninformed comments i’ve ever seen on EW.com. How old are YOU? 5? Sorry to be rude, but my gosh. Do you homework.

      • Reitman

        Black Swan did tremendous at the box office! Where you been?

      • Woot

        It has a shot at breaking 100 million at the box office… on a 13 million budget…. and it is an independent film. This past monday and tuesday, it was number 2 at the box office.

  • Woot

    What about Black Swan?
    (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Art Direction, Best sound mixing, Costume Design.) I could see it getting in a high number.

    I would like to think that Inception and the Social Network get more than The King’s Speech, but I think you have good estimates.

  • Mark Johnson

    I wish the Academy would take this year to recognize a film a little outside of the regular Oscar-box. Something like Black Swan or Inception winning would not only be deserving, but a real surprise. It may also open the door for films that are not strictly drama to be considered more for the Win and not just the Nomination. Award creativity and maybe the movie industry will get back to producing more and more original films.

    • moasey

      Great post! Great point. Loved both films…ADDICTED to Black Swan.

      • Amy

        Totally agree. While I was watching Black Swan, I didn’t think I loved it that much, but afterward, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for a week. Inception is my personal favorite film of the year, but The Social Network is very, very close.

    • Kris

      Couldn’t agree more. Black Swan is the most deserving film of the year but it wont win cause its too creative. The Academy does itself a disservice by only giving strictly dramatic films the trophy.

      • Will

        While I agree Black Swan is incredible, Inception was just as creative. You’re post makes it seem like Black Swan was the only creative film this year.

      • Jeremy DC

        I liked Black Swan. I really wanted to love it though but I just didn’t. I do think Natalie Portman deserves best actress.

      • Rich

        Black Swan is my favorite movie of the year, but I understand how polarizing it is for some people… which is why I doubt it wins the big prize.

        I have no problem with Social Network or Inception winning it all. FYI haven’t seen King’s Speech yet.

      • Toni

        I don’t consider Black Swan ‘polarizing’ but one note (one step?) bordering on boring. Good performances though. The SNL skit pretty well summed up my feelings on it. True Grit was amazing!

  • Nathan

    Hoping The King’s Speech gets the most, Inception will do well with technical awards, but should be shut out completely in the acting and writing and directing categories.

    • Dave

      You think Inception should be shut out for Best Director? No way, Christopher Nolan is very deserving of receiving a nomination.

      • Mike

        He is very deserving but I’m not sure he is a shoo in either. The Academy may end up “Dark Knighting” Inception with tech awards.

      • Raunak

        Water damage Houston helps you to preevnt from water damage which can happen after just 48 hours. Act fast or drywall water damage, carpet water damage, leaky basements and home water damage can happen.

    • Will

      Shut out of Writing? That’s insane, it’s one of the most original movies of the year.

      • Radzinsky

        The award is for WRITING not Most Original Film of the Year. “Original” does not always equal “Good.” Inception is loaded with boring, excessive exposition that bogs the movie down.

      • Lee

        Not only that, INCEPTION’s script was confusing. You shouldn’t have to see a movie twice just to get the gist of the story.

      • DarkLayers

        I think that what Nolan did with the dreams-within-dreams concept and structure is interesting enough to warrant a writing nod. Also, the exposition wasn’t that bad. I think it’s done with reasonable skill, and the information is necessary for the concept.

    • Irwin

      I agree completely about Inception. It made no sense. Maybe it did to people brain-dead from video games, but not to the rest of us. Overhyped to the max!!

      • Zach

        Irwin, watch it again and it will make more sense. Or read a summary online. Or kill yourself because you’re an argument for euthanasia of old people.

      • Menchy

        I mean, I’m 17 and I thought Inception was severely overrated. It wasn’t actually complicated, it just had the illusion of being so. It may be original, but that doesn’t make it good.

      • Adam

        If your critique is that it didn’t make sense, then you are the brain-dead one. It wasn’t very hard to understand at all.

      • Amy

        I don’t play video games at all, but I loved Inception. If nothing else, I think it should definitely get nominated for Best Director; I personally think Christopher Nolan should win, though I’d be satisfied with just a nomination.

  • jason

    I wish Inception would win best picture, have a feeling it will go to the Social Network or possibly upset by the King’s Speech. Personally, I have Inception #1, 127 Hours #2, Social Network #3, True Grit #4, Black Swan & The Fighter toss up for 5+6…

    • Jennifer

      Think inception is too sci-fi. Will peg Social Network as the box-office hit that will score best picture… 127 hours is too small a release, and the king’s speech only targets a certain audience.

  • whatevs

    I have only seen The King’s Speech, but Colin Firth was terrific.

  • JohnDoe

    I think the King’s Speech will get the most, followed by The Social Network with 11 or so…and then Inception will get 9. True Grit will get 9-10.

  • RyRyNYC

    I think Black Swan is gonna surprise people. And Social Network for Art Direction… that’s just bullshit.

  • Davey

    Black Swan may get a high number of nomimations but it may only win one award–best actress.

    • me

      i think you’re completely correct.

      • Linda

        Mark, I generally agree with your conslucion. However, my one “BUT” is that pouring money at the problem won’t fix it. There are significant structural and cultural problems with the Canadian VC industry that need to be fixed if the industry is going to generate positive returns and align with the needs and dynamics of the current Web/tech environment. Specifically, I believe Canadian VC funds need to: 1. Get small. This doesn’t necessarily mean a reduction in the overall size of the funds, though I think this would help. Rather, it means that VCs need to embrace smaller (seed stage) funding opportunities and in doing so be prepared to take on more risk. As I’ve said before, Canadian VCs need to put the “venture” back in venture capital. 2. Get transparent. VC funds need to start acting more like “sellers” and less like “buyers”. What this means in practice is that VCs need to provide their customers (start-ups) with more transparent information about their funds’ performance, peer and quartile ranking, etc., in order for start-ups to make informed decisions in their “buying” process. One of my pet peeves is that the buyer-seller relationship for raising capital in Canada is highly skewed. The start-up bares itself to all kinds of due diligence and examination. By contrast, the VC offers very little information about its historical performance and the overall value of its services. This creates all kinds of inefficiencies in the buying process and needs to be fixed through greater transparency on the part of the VC. 3. Get entrepreneurial. LPs of Canadian VC funds need to insist that VC partners are entrepreneurs at heart and by experience. Too many VC partners are ex-investment bankers, money managers, lawyers and accountants. We need to introduce more VC partners that have started their own companies, risked their own capital, had successful exits, are domain experts in Web/tech, and understand the dynamics of the start-up culture. Even if we go 2 for 3 we should be ok.

  • Mike

    I loved Social Network but I don’t see the sound being recognized.

    I think King’s Speech will lead, followed by Inception with a bunch of tech nominations.

    • Aaron

      I think sound mixing is plausible, but you are totally right on sound editing. I don’t see that happening and I don’t know what Dave Karger is smoking (even though I do love him so!)

      • red

        See Slumdog Millionaire. When a film is sweeping the way TSN has been doing, it’ll get nominations in a bunch of categories where it has no place being. TSN should be nowhere near the top 5 for cinematography or art direction considering the competition, but I think it’ll end up with nominations in both categories.

  • mariela

    was there really good art direction in the social network?

    • Mike

      The rowing scene was awesome! Contemperary stuff doesn’t really stand out in set and costumes and period or fantasy films but they are there.

      • Zach

        That’s more cinematography than anything else…maybe sound mixing too.

  • Mike

    *like period or fantasy films.

  • bruno

    seriously karger, what is WITH your h@rd on for the social network and andrew garfield??? the movie may get nods, sure, but IT’S NOT THE BEST FREAKIN MOVIE OF THE YEAR. irritated.

    • Nick

      Calm down, Bruno. It’s not that serious.
      Pretty much every film critic loves The Social Network, with many claiming that it is the best freakin movie of the year. It’s not just Dave Karger who loves it. It has already won a slew of awards from critics all over the country. Dave is predicting what the Oscar race is going to look like. That’s what his job is right now. Even if he didn’t like The Social Network, he’d be foolish to not acknowledge that it will receive many Oscar nominations.

      • bruno

        no, i hear ya Nick. but karger’s been plugging andrew garfield since forever. he finally managed to let go of the twin syndrome, but seriously, it’s just not warrented. jesse eisenberg…meh…sure. i guess. i’m aware the films been touted. i’m just not buying it. and my karger should know better (yes. he KIND of does by not ranking it number 1, but the garfield push is almost unforgiveable).

    • v

      The irony here is that Dave is one of the few critics NOT ranking Social Network first on his list of likely Best Pic candidates. For some reason, he insists King’s Speech will get more votes.

      • Kris

        I’ve heard quite a lot of buzz around The King’s Speech winning Best Picture. I’d believe it if it did.

  • Jose

    I don’t see the appeal of the art direction, sound, and cinematography of The Social Network. Don’t think I’d mind if it got nominated for those things though, I just didn’t think they were Oscar worthy.

    And I too can see Black Swan breaking out of the single digits what with the recognition from the CAS, a sound nom or two is likely. I can also see cinamatography, art direction, original screenplay (I still think it’ll be Black Swan that gets a screenplay nom Dave, not The Fighter)costume design and the major awards it has going for it.

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