Certainties: Daniel Day-Lewis. Not to jinx him, but come on. You can practically etch his name on that Oscar now. The Sessions‘ John Hawkes is also a sure-thing for an Oscar nomination, and in a year where he wasn’t competing against the embodiment of The Greatest President Who Ever Lived And Ended Slavery Forever, he might even be the front-runner. Denzel Washington — another sure bet for an Oscar nod for his charismatic, addict pilot in Flight.
Surprises: Gere was touted as a possible contender when his Wall Street thriller Arbitrage debuted last January at the Sundance Film Festival. But the movie never quite caught on, and though his performance as a Bernie Madoff-type who has even worse sins on his conscience than a group of defrauded investors was critically acclaimed, he didn’t get a Screen Actors Guild nod yesterday. This should help correct that a little, and maybe get Academy members to consider him. But this is a tough category. Day-Lewis is far and away the frontrunner for the Oscar, and Hawkes and Washington are likely nominees, too. Phoenix… less so. His dismissal of award season may be accurate, but it seems to be holding him back. Voters aren’t crazy about The Master, as I said before. But they respect and admire his work.
Snubs: Ben Affleck made one of the best movies of the year with Argo, but nobody seems to be rewarding his performance as the CIA agent trying to get those embassy workers out of Iran. Anthony Hopkins’ prosthetic-aided transformation into Hitchcock also seems to be getting the cold shoulder. As much as the HFPA loved Django, they also didn’t see fit to nominate Jamie Foxx’s gunslinging former slave.
NEXT PAGE — Winners, losers, shocks: Dramatic Actress