It's Oscar season, you guys! We have an official host. The Toronto International Film Festival has begun (that's where Best Pictures are born, in the cabbage patches of Canada). And the Oscar pundits are anxiously awaiting the For Your Consideration ad dollars so they can pay off the bookies they lost Oscar bets to last year. So let's start the predictions, shall we? Well, not me. I mean let's let the other guys start the predictions, and I'll round them up. The best I can do right now is predict that Taylor Lautner will not be nominated, which is fine since he has five more years to fulfill that apparent dream of his.
Too early to start the guessing, I mean smart analysis? No, the guys who start the predictions back in February, the day after the previous Academy Awards ended, were too early. Still, some of the suggestions coming around so far are anything but perfect. A few are downright ridiculous (no von Trier film will ever be nominated for Best Picture). Not all categories are being heavily commented on, though all the big Oscar blogs and columnists have begun their lists and charts and whatnot, which aren't as easily rounded up.
Will Gerard Butler actually break free of the non-Oscar-winning cage he's in? Let's see what people are saying around the web about the following handful of categories:
The reason I'm going out on a limb this early, which I know is an exceedingly foolish thing to do, is simple: because I did it last year and the year before, and both times I was right [...] The problem is, I don't see a Best Picture winner in this year's crop of films. Instead, I see reasons why every single film deemed to be a contender will probably fall short. Nonetheless, here's my ridiculously early, obviously foolish Oscar call: on Feb. 26, 2012, "The Descendants" will be named the Best Picture of 2011. - Steve Pond, The Wrap
The Ides of March, George Clooney’s latest directorial effort, has just premiered at the Venice Film Festival, and if you ask me, we now have the first sure-thing Best Picture nominee on our hands [...] If there’s one thing the film has going against it, it’s timing, since it will open in theaters on Oct. 7, weeks before most of the year’s other top contenders. But for the early part of the season at least, it will dominate much of the awards talk. - Dave Karger, Entertainment Weekly
Lars Von Trier returns to the fold with his oft-mentioned 'Melancholia,' which combines two rather disparate elements: a marriage celebration party and a planet hurtling towards Earth. Of course, the wedding is a fiasco and the newlywed couple (Kirsten Dunst and Alexander Skarsgard) has to deal with mending frayed familial relationships while coping with pending doom. The whole "I'm a Nazi sympathizer" scandal at Cannes may hurt Von Trier's chances, but the Academy might court this sort of behavior if it wants to up its ratings in 2012. - Chris Jancelewicz, Moviefone
There's Stephen Daldry, nominated three times as a director and he's never won. I have Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close as my current front-runner for Best Picture so it may be a while before Daldry bounces out of my top five here as that film doesn't hit theaters until December 25. Hopefully the critical base will get a chance to see it earlier than that for Oscar consideration, but for now… we wait. - Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon
Earlier this year someone called it "the Social Network of baseball movies," and that's a close enough description except for the fact that Pitt's lead performance is highly likable [...] Yep -- it's Pitt vs. Clooney in this year's Best Actor race. Okay, Pitt vs. Clooney vs. Leonardo DiCaprio as Gay Edgar Hoover. - Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere
Johnny Depp, The Rum Diary. Nobody knows anything about this but Depp is always worth consideration. But for now we’ll hold a spot for him, given his work in the past. - Sasha Stone, Awards Daily
Don't be surprised if Gerard Butler is recognize[d] for Machine Gun Preacher - TIFF Co-director Cameron Bailey, quoted in USA Today
Could Albert Nobbs nab its main star a Best Actor Oscar at next year’s Academy Awards? Not possible, but close! Glenn Close, that is. - Lauren Schutte and Patrick Kevin Day, The Hollywod Reporter
High on many best actress lists for months, Glenn Close’s work as a woman who disguises herself as a male butler in “Albert Nobbs” made its debut at Telluride over the weekend. Close - who pursued “Nobbs” as a passion project for over 20 years (and co-wrote the screenplay) - looks like a safe bet as a result of some generally decent reviews. The film itself should be a tougher sell beyond Close (though Janet McTeer is definitely the strongest of the supporting performances). - Peter Knegt, IndieWIRE
Best Supporting Actress
Unanimous praise also heard around Telluride after the film’s initial two screenings was for [Albert Nobbs] co-star Janet McTeer, who does the gender switch in such an astonishing manner that she’s an instant heavyweight contender for Best Supporting Actress. One producing branch Academy member actually flagged me down in town to say she hasn’t been so impressed by any performance in a very long time. “Did you see it? She’s got my vote, that’s for sure, and I don’t care who else comes along,” she told me. - Pete Hammond, Deadline
Jessica Chastain (The Help). This is Oscar's least crowded category, perhaps because Chastain herself has hogged roughly 80 percent of the supporting actress roles this year. If she gets a nod for one of them, it's likely to come from The Help. - Kyle Buchanan, Vulture
Best Supporting Actor
Oscar nominations for Nick Nolte, who could win a lifetime achievement Oscar for this great performance [...] Nolte is 100% on his game. In a weird way, this role is a variation of his role in Ang Lee’s Hulk… except this one effectively does all the things that one didn’t quite make work. - David Poland, Movie City News
Best Original Screenplay
75-years-old and with his biggest hit ever, Woody Allen will find himself back in the Academy's good graces. A three-time winner and 21-time nominee, Allen's "Midnight in Paris" is a critic's favorite and legitimate box office hit with $51.6 million so far. Allen was last nominated in 2006 in the original screenplay category for "Match Point" and sadly overlooked for "Vicky Christina Barcelona." That drought is about over. Prediction: Allen's work in "Midnight in Paris" will be recognized in the best original screenplay category, but best picture or best director isn't a given. Not yet anyway. - Gregory Ellwood, HitFix
Follow Christopher Campbell on Twitter (@thefilmcynic
) to be a part of "The Conversation."