Oscar predictions: Final pre-nomination rankings

So many conflicting signals in the past few days. The Social Network sweeps the Broadcast Film Critics and Golden Globe Awards, but then The King’s Speech trounces it at the BAFTA nominations, which, unlike the BFCA and Globes, are from a voting body that has significant overlap with the Academy. The upshot: My No. 1 Best Picture pick is hanging by a thread. Then, after winning the BFCA and Globe for supporting actress, Melissa Leo didn’t even manage to score a BAFTA nomination. How to make sense of it all? Here are my final rankings before next Tuesday’s Oscar nominations announcement. You’ll notice I now have True Grit‘s Hailee Steinfeld getting a Best Actress nod, and I also have added Another Year‘s Lesley Manville to my supporting-actress list as well as lead actress, though I fear she may miss out on both. For a quick look at how this year’s likely Oscar contenders have fared in other major awards to date, check out my Pre-Academy Awards Scorecard.

1. The King’s Speech (last week: 1)
2. The Social Network (last week: 2)
3. The Fighter (last week: 3)
4. Inception (last week: 4)
5. Black Swan (last week: 5)
6. True Grit (last week: 6)
7. Toy Story 3 (last week: 7)
8. The Kids Are All Right (last week: 8 )
9. The Town (last week: 9)
10. 127 Hours (last week: 11)
11. Winter’s Bone (last week: 10)
12. Another Year (last week: 12)
13. Shutter Island (last week: 13)
14. Get Low (last week: 14)
15. The Ghost Writer (last week: 15) 

1. David Fincher, The Social Network (last week: 1)
2. Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech (last week: 2)
3. Christopher Nolan, Inception (last week: 3)
4. Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan (last week: 4)
5. David O. Russell, The Fighter (last week: 5)
6. Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit (last week: 6)
7. Danny Boyle, 127 Hours (last week: 8 )
8. Ben Affleck, The Town (last week: 7)
9. Mike Leigh, Another Year (last week: 10)
10. Debra Granik, Winter’s Bone (last week: 9)

1. Colin Firth, The King’s Speech (last week: 1)
2. Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network (last week: 2)
3. James Franco, 127 Hours (last week: 3)
4. Jeff Bridges, True Grit (last week: 4)
5. Robert Duvall, Get Low (last week: 5)
6. Javier Bardem, Biutiful (last week: 6)
7. Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine (last week: 7)
8. Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter (last week: 8 )
9. Aaron Eckhart, Rabbit Hole (last week: 9)
10. Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception (last week: 10)

1. Natalie Portman, Black Swan (last week: 1)
2. Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right (last week: 2)
3. Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone (last week: 3)
4. Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole (last week: 4)
5. Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit (last week: 7)
6. Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine (last week: 5)
7. Lesley Manville, Another Year (last week: 6)
8. Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right (last week: 9)
9. Hilary Swank, Conviction (last week: 8 )
10. Noomi Rapace, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (last week: —)

[falling off: Halle Berry, Frankie & Alice]

1. Christian Bale, The Fighter (last week: 1)
2. Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech (last week: 2)
3. Andrew Garfield, The Social Network (last week: 4)
4. Jeremy Renner, The Town (last week: 3)
5. Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right (last week: 5)
6. John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone (last week: 6)
7. Sam Rockwell, Conviction (last week: 7)
8. Michael Douglas, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (last week: 8 )
9. Matt Damon, True Grit (last week: 9)
10. Pete Postlethwaite, The Town (last week: —)

[falling off: Jim Broadbent, Another Year]

1. Amy Adams, The Fighter (last week: 1)
2. Melissa Leo, The Fighter (last week: 2)
3. Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech (last week: 3)
4. Mila Kunis, Black Swan (last week: 5)
5. Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom (last week: 6)
6. Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit (last week: 4)
7. Barbara Hershey, Black Swan (last week: 8 )
8. Lesley Manville, Another Year (last week: —)
9. Dianne Wiest, Rabbit Hole (last week: 7)
10. Miranda Richardson, Made in Dagenham (last week: —)

[falling off: Ruth Sheen, Another Year and Sissy Spacek, Get Low]

For more Oscar updates, follow me on Twitter (@davekarger).

Comments (265 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2 3 7
  • kevin

    so, the girl from ‘True Grit’ will be nominated for both BEST and SUPPORTING ACTRESS? makes sense..?

    • Sarah El

      She’s been campaigned as Best Supporting Actress, but she really has a lead role in the film and that might propel her into the Lead Acting category, a la Kate Winslet in The Reader two years ago. She can’t be nominated for both, but she could be nominated in either.

      • kevin

        Ok, thanks. She should go for Best Actress since there’s no way Melissa Leo won’t win for ‘The Fighter’.

      • Marc

        With enough votes she can accidentally be nominated for both i think.

      • Ian

        No, she can’t be nominated for both categories.

      • Jackrabbit Slim

        Marc, the Academy instituted a rule many years ago that an actor can’t be nominated more than once for the same performance. It happened with Barry Fitzgerald for Going My Way (he was nominated for lead and supporting, and won in supporting) and they changed the rule after that. If Hailee is in the top five in both categories, she will only get one nomination (for the category she received the most votes), and the person who was in the sixth spot in the other category will get moved up into a nomination.

      • Fatima

        I’d say she has a much better shot in Supporting actually.

      • Liza

        @Kevin, I don’t think she’d win in either category. Melissa Leo has a lock on Best Supporting Actress for The Fighter, and if Natalie Portman doesn’t have a lock on Best Actress for Black Swan, which she should, then Annette Bening will probably get it (please, Academy, NO!). I don’t intend to demean her performance at all, but there are formidable contenders in both categories who outdid her.

      • Zee

        I wouldn’t count out Hailee Steinfeld (or Amy Adams, for that matter) out of the running for Best Supporting Actress. Golden Globes and Oscars often have different winners.

    • nikkido

      Saw True Grit. Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff BRidges should wim the Best Actor categories. It is a great movie.

      • Sarah

        I second that! They were great. I’m hoping Hailee Steinfeld wins something (best or supporting).

      • adion

        Are you kidding me? You couldn’t even understand Bridges half the time.
        Steinfeld was great and she deserves a best supporting nod but Bridges should be passed over for better performances, namely Dicaprio’s in Shutter Island. And how Ben Kingsley from Shutter isn’t getting any looks or Marion Cottilard in Inception for that matter, is beyond me.

      • Stephanie

        No way Shutter Island is comparable to True Grit in anyway.

    • Alex

      I don’t see her scoring a nomination for either category unless Mila Kunis is nominated for Supporting Actress and as for Best Actress it will either be Michelle Williams or Lesley Manville

    • Danny Mac

      It’s EW, who actually cares about who they predict? They know as much as any one of us sitting at home reading other peoples news articles.

      • mushoo

        Dave’s predictions have been very helpful for my O$car pool two years running.

  • mj91

    why in the world is Social network not number 1!

    • Robert

      Because Karger won’t accept that it’s a done deal that the Social Network will win.

      • K

        How do you know The Social Network will win? Are you from the future?

      • Marten

        And because he knows a lot of Academy voters who really liked King’s Speech, and he remembers 1998. Unfortunately some years (some might argue most years) the Academy screws the obvious best picture in place of British prestige.

      • AK

        Also, did you notice that he predicted “The King’s Speech” SHOULD and WOULD win at the Golden Globes on Sunday? If it’s his favorite movie of the bunch, maybe he just can’t accept not having be #1, even if all evidence points to the contrary.

      • FutureBoy

        Yes…we are certain of it….and we are from the future.

      • Taylor

        Now it is just absurd that he still lists King’s Speech as #1. Based on what? Social Network has swept all of the major awards. It’s clear he prefers KS and is just trying to will into a Best Pic win. Also, why is Amy Adams #1? Again, based on……?

      • mike

        Dave seems to base a lot on what he hears from academy voters. I’d like to know just how many are telling him how they’ll vote for it to be enough to justify his “inside” knowledge. Certainly TKS got the most BAFTA nominations. That’s a no-brainer. Dave should mention the discrepancy involved with BAFTA showing some prefering over British and foreign films that is out of step with what the American awards honor. Stating “what does it all mean” hardly inspires me to think Dave has any real insight into award politics. This guy is just totally guessing.

      • case

        the kings speech needed to win at the critics choice or golden globes to have a shot with the *american* academy. it did neither.

        let’s face it. only colin firth is going to win from that movie. the social network is dominating all the awards, even more so than the hurt locker did last year. social network is pretty much a lock for the oscar best pic at this point.

    • Woot

      Because The King’s Speech got SO many more BAFTA nominations than The Social Network. Though I think he is overlooking the fact that the British Academy might like a British film more. Remember when Jamie Bell won Best Actor at the BAFTA for Billy Elliot?

      • AK

        Yeah, I wonder why a British film would possibly do better at the BAFTAs? Isn’t that so weird, guys? It must mean that it’s still the Oscar front-runner, despite the fact that it hasn’t won a SINGLE Best Picture award.

        Dave Karger, you have officially lost my confidence as an Oscar prognosticator.

      • Yabby

        Karger also fails to mention that unlike the Oscars, where different branches vote for the nominees (and then everyone votes for the winners), all BAFTA members vote on nominees. How else can you explain THE SOCIAL NETWORK not getting nominated for Score or Cinematography?

      • Mike

        BAFTA always favors British films, so no suprise here. Social Network is still way ahead in the race.

        King’s Speech will probably end up winning actor and original screenplay at the Oscars.

      • Fat Tony

        Yabby, as far as I know, you are completely incorrect about BAFTA; in the technical categories, the specific branch votes for both nominations AND winners, NOT the entire membership voting for both; in fact, it’s the opposite.

        As for TSN, I loved its score, but its cinematography was ugly, regadless of how much skill and artistic intent was behind that ugliness.

    • Barry

      Because “The King’s Speech” is a better movie.

      • Molly

        Thank you! I liked The Social Network, but certainly wasn’t blown away like everyone else seems to be. I need to see The Fighter to see how good Christian Bale was to beat out Geoffrey Rush.

      • Jackie

        @Molly – I’ve seen both ‘The King’s Speech’ and ‘The Fighter’. While Geoffrey Rush was excellent in ‘The King’s Speech’, I would probably give the Supporting Actor award to Christian Bale.

      • Lili

        christian bale!no competition!!!!!

      • Jacob

        I’ve heard the same argument over and over again. If this was the 90’s, the king’s speech would secure the best picture award without question. Period pieces seemed to be their fascination back then, with big wins going to schindler’s list, forrest gump, braveheart, the english patient, titanic, shakespeare in love, etc (the list goes on and on). however, the academy seems to have adopted a completely new fascination, giving wins to the departed, no country for old men, slumdog millionaire and the hurt locker in recent years. with the way the academy seems to be leaning with their interests, i’d say that the win for best picture will go to the social network. once again, if this were the 90’s, the king’s speech would have the title for sure. it will be interesting to see who the winner is come February 27th.

    • mike

      Why in the world is Social Network in the top 10?

      • Josh

        Um… because it just won the Golden Globe for Best Picture?? And it’s the most talked about movie of the year? And it’s got a 96% on Rottentomatoes?

      • Corey

        Bit off subject but I was just sninnacg the net looking for a local POSE coach and I ended up on the results page of a recent local 10k race yesterdays main site WOD was a 10k run and the times for this *WORKOUT* averaged UNDER 50 minutes .winners time in the *RACE* .52:28..hmm,maybe Brian’s onto something with this CFE stuff

    • sfday

      Have you all seen both films? The Social Network is amazing, but The King’s Speech is breathtaking. Could go either way, it’s not a bad call.

      • natalie portmenteau

        The King’s Speech was a travesty

    • Liza

      Because it wasn’t the best picture of the year?

    • adion

      actually because it’s nothing more than an average film. Inception will win for the same reason that Hurt Locker won last year or No Country For Old Men before that — because it’s the most unique, intriguing film out there.

  • mj91

    Social network for the win :)

  • Antony Hearmon

    I think its a shame that Lesley Manville and Hailee Steinfield may both lose out on a nomination altogether as differnet critics and academies cant decide where to place them in leading or supporting catagories (think Michael Caine in Little Voice and Scarlett Johannson in Lost in Translation)

    • Sarah El

      Agreed. I hope whichever category she’s in, Hailee Steinfeld gets a much deserved nod. (I haven’t seen Another Year, unfortunately, so I can’t pass judgment on Lesley Manville’s deservedness.)

    • seattlejohn

      it doesn’t make sense Steinfeld wouldn’t be considered for best actress as she is practically in every scene (as opposed to Kunis, Weaver or Hershey etc) and it is her story the movie is telling…if anything Jeff Bridges’ character supports her role…and they both deserve recognition

  • scottm

    I really hope this will be correct for Jacki Weaver. Loved animal kingdom and her performance.

    • seattlejohn

      I’m glad Jacki Weaver is bringing attention to Animal Kingdom though I really wish Ben Mendolsen’s name was under consideration, too, as the screwed up father – what a piece of work his character and acting were in Animal Kingdom also

  • T. Davis

    You name every movie and everybody in one from last year. Narrow it down a bit.

    • Mr E

      He’s listed them in order of likelihood, so if you want it narrowed down just ignore the last five picks in each category.

    • Strepsi

      Seriously T. Davis, do you understand what’s going on here? These are odds — if it’s too much for you to handle just pick the TOP 5 in any category (Top 10 for Best Film) and that’s who Karger thinks gets a nod. Get it?

      • Rakesh

        22 Tue Pete & Anne Me & my wife had a tattoo here,very pooiessfrnal,great artists,no small talk during the tattooing which I prefer as the artist concentrates fully on the job!We are both very pleased with the results.

  • Rob

    No way should Hailey Stanfield get a best actress nom ahead of Michelle Williams! And for that matter, no way should Nicole Kidman be nominated ahead of Michelle Williams!

    • whatever

      Winning and Getting nominations is not about the performance, so sad but true, it is all about the BUZZZZZZZZ…I hate awards season.

    • Joseph T

      I really hope Michelle gets nominated! She was wonderful in the film

      • Lili

        she was flawless!!!!so was ryan!

      • mike

        I’m still trying to figure out what buzz is placing Kidman over more acclaimed performances. And don’t even get me started on Duvall.

    • c

      I was thinking the same thing! And also Gosling should be way up in those ranks, whether he gets a nom or not. They were amazing

      • adion

        and how the f is Shutter Island being completely forgotten?! Dicaprio was amazing and so was Ben Kingsley in the supporting role. Ruffalo was very solid as well.

  • t

    kevin, read more carefully. looks like she will be nominated for the lead instead of supporting, but will be getting votes for both categories.

  • Brit

    Considering how things have gone so far, I’d say Melissa Leo should be listed #1 in supporting category.

    • Reiley

      I agree. Adams was great in The Fighter, but there’s no way she should win over Leo.

      • nunnya

        Agreed. Melissa Leo was brilliant.

    • Molly

      Melissa Leo wasn’t nominated for a BAFTA, while Amy Adams was. I still think the GG win should have put her at #1, but apparently the lack of nomination made Dave think otherwise.

      • Kelsey

        Leo also won the Critics’ Choice Award, too. It’s not just the Globe.

    • t.g. pierson

      I feel that Amy Adams and Mila Kunis are just riding the wave here. Far better work was done by Dianne Wiest, Jacki Weaver and the not mentioned Ann Guilbert for Please Give.

      • adion

        or Marion Cottilard in Inception and Cecile de France in Hereafter. Both deserve the nods over Adams and Leo. The Fighter was an average movie at best.

      • Luis

        Interval swim this morning. Wore my beakstball shorts and used a pull-buoy (no paddles available). 25-28 meters avg. for each. Shoulders are kinda sore after this one. Gonna hit the Mobility WOD tonight. Pretty good workout this morning.

    • Aaron

      I thought Amy Adams was much more nuanced and compelling in her role in The Fighter, while Melissa Leo was shrew and OVER THE TOP…just my opinion though

  • yvan

    how/why would the town get in before winter’s bone? makes no sense to me at all.

    • Lincoln

      do you really think Winter’s Bone was better than The Town? Um, WB is a good movie but it is not a Best Picture contender. It was a bit boring at some points.

      • Mike

        I liked the Town better when it was called Heat

      • m1

        I personally loved both, but The Town just had more going on in it. But Winter’s Bone would probably get in before it due to its support from critics.

      • Raymond

        I was bored by Winter’s Bone. Here is the entire movie:

        Teenager: “I’m looking for my daddy.” Local: “Girl, you best not be coming ’round here asking questions.”

      • adion


  • Jackie

    I saw ‘The King’s Speech’ on Sunday and ‘The Fighter’ yesterday. I haven’t seen ‘The Social Network’ yet, but ‘The King’s Speech’ was OUTSTANDING, and I would be perfectly happy if it walks away with Best Picture. The performances were brilliant (just give Colin Firth the Oscar now), the pacing was excellent, and everything about it was top notch. ‘The Fighter’ was also an incredibly well done movie, and Christian Bale gave an exceptional performance. It’s a tough call between Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, but I might give Leo the slight edge for, what seemed to me, the more difficult role.

    • Tay

      You are right on, Jackie….give the Oscar to Colin Firth NOW! He’s more than overdue for recognition.

      • Sarah

        I agree. If Colin firth doesn’t win best actor I will be shocked. But I can’t say the same for the best actress category. The race is too confusing.

  • Anthony

    I love love love EW but why do they put out their Oscar race issue so early? By the time the awards come around the race has changed quite a bit

    • Jacob

      I wouldn’t say this is early, the nominations will be announced a week from today.

    • seattlejohn

      Karger follows this stuff year round.. his 1st story for this year’s race came out within a month of last year’s presentation…I wonder if their is a 12-step program he should go to?

  • David D

    Any thoughts on the third nominee for Animated Feature? (Given that “Toy Story” and “Dragon” are pretty much locks.) “The Illusionist”? “Tangled”? I’ve been hearing that there’s more love for “Despicable Me” than expected.

  • Woot

    Why is the Fighter higher up than Black Swan? It just failed to get a BAFTA nom for Best Picture.

    • Woot

      And Inception for that matter.

    • Jackie

      I haven’t seen ‘Black Swan’, nor do I intend to (not for any particular reason other than that it just doesn’t look like a movie I’d enjoy), but from what I’ve heard, the movie seems to rely mainly on Portman’s performance to carry it. ‘The Fighter’ was a good, solid movie all around. ALL of the performances were excellent, the direction was great, and the overall quality can’t really be argued with. And this might be a stretch, but ‘The Fighter’ was about a boxer that beat the U.K.’s boxing champ – there may be a teensy bit of bitterness there that prevented it from getting a BAFTA.

      • Lincoln

        you should definitely check out BLACK SWAN. It didn’t seem like anything I’d like either but if you enjoyed the Fighter, you’ll love Black Swan. It’s a masterpiece.

      • seattlejohn

        Black Swan is also really strong for the direction, supporting cast, story, cinematography, art direction, music and Natalie Portman is the icing on the entire, fabulous cake

      • Liza

        You’ve heard wrong about Black Swan. Really wrong. Natalie Portman is certainly, in my opinion, the best part of the movie and I can’t picture anyone else playing that role, but the film absolutely does not rely on her performance. Like seattlejohn above me said, she’s the “icing on the entire, fabulous cake.” Mila Kunis, Barbara Hersey (might have spelled that last name wrong, sorry!), Winona Ryder, and Vincent Cassel are all tremendous as the supporting cast. The cinematography is breathtaking, the dancing is amazing, and Aronofsky’s direction is truly the best of the year. Don’t let David Fincher’s Critics Choice and Golden Globes wins fool you. I honestly don’t think I blinked once during Black Swan because it was that good, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it.

    • Sarah

      Cause he thinks more voters liked ‘the fighter’ over ‘black swan’– Which I agree with. The camera angles in ‘black swan’ made me feel ill.

      • mike

        So glad someone else is mentioning the annoying photography in that movie. I still can’t believe it’s winning awards.

      • sarah

        “The Fighter” was white trash at its finest. There was too much over-acting going on, and Amy Adams trying to act “hard” was a complete joke! And don’t get me started on those hideous evil step sisters! This movie was a complete waste of time.

      • mike (no, the other mike)

        Um, guys, the camera angles were supposed to make you feel that way. Child of Repulsion, remember. ET it ain’t.

      • Sarah

        I’m not trying to debate the merits of ‘the fighter’ just my personal dislike of black swan. As a dancer I kept wanting to see full body shots of the dancing (the best way to show the beauty of the dancing). But all he shows is Natalie’s upper body and jumpy angles at that. While i know it’s for effect, it’s annoying we never see Nats feet. (except in the closeup shots– which are mostly her double — her feet are flatter).

      • Wes

        The movie wasn’t about the beauty of dancing, though. It was about the horrific nature of being forced to suffer for your art through various means.

      • Eric

        I agree with you..while it has no chance of winning, i still think this and the fighter should not be nominated…but this is coming from a man who put Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World in his top 10 for 2010

  • Damon

    I’m baffled as to why the King’s speech is still number 1 for best picture..I’m sure The Social Network will win. And Natalie will win the Oscar! I still need to see the fighter so I can see what’s all the fuss is about with Leo and Adams.

    • Chen

      Don’t give your hopes high for Natalie to win. Just like EW Oscar issue came out so early for the time on, it will change a little a bit with the few surprises (unexpected names) come Tuesday Morning.

      • Beau

        You’ve got to be kidding, right? There’s NO WAY Natalie doesn’t win this!

      • Damon

        If Natalie doesn’t win, then the academy has lost all credibility(again)..lol..This will be Brokeback Mountain not winning best picture bad if she doesn’t win. Her performance was brilliant.

      • Liza

        The only way Natalie doesn’t win this is if the Academy forgets that it’s voting on her performance in Black Swan and lets the ads for her upcoming romantic comedies sway them otherwise. But her performance is just too strong in Black Swan for that to happen, I think. She was unbelievable. It seems that her biggest competition, per magazines, newspapers, etc., will be Annette Bening… I’m sorry, that was award-worthy acting in The Kids Are All Right? She was boring and uninspiring and, quite frankly, irritating. Best Actress belongs to Natalie.

      • Woot

        Good news, her romantic comedy isn’t being panned. It’s getting solid reviews for a romantic comedy (and by that it’s getting mixed reviews) Looks like it shouldn’t affect her oscar chances.

    • Hadley

      I think TKS has a shot at Best Picture. Just about everybody thought Avatar would win last year, and it ended up going to The Hurt Locker.

      • Aaron

        Ummm…maybe I’m mistaken but I thought it was a pretty foregone conclusion that The Hurt Locker had it in the bag last year. There was quite a bit of Avatar backlash, and The Hurt Locker had pretty much swept all the critics awards.

    • Kelsey

      I actually preferred The King’s Speech to The Social Network. TSN was technically fine, but it just failed to grab me. I also think that if it had been about anything other than Facebook, there wouldn’t be as much fuss over it.
      I agree that Portman’s winning actress.
      Adams and Leo were both great in The Fighter, but as soon as I saw it, I knew Leo would win.

      • goober

        So lets review your logic if the social network had not been about facebook it would not have as much support than lets play your game and wonder what would have happened if the actors in the kings speech didn’t have english accents or the kings speech wasn’t based on a real life character would it still have as much support it is quite ignorant to say such things when so many other films hinge on one key detail about the film.

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