Oscars 2012: Best Actor and Best Actress Predictions

In the acting categories this year it’s been all about the ladies. The powerhouse performances of 2011 were all of the female persuasion. The Best Actress in a Leading Role category is maybe stronger than it’s ever been this year and I gave my thoughts on Best Supporting Actress and Actor yesterday.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

  • (2%) Demian Bichir – “A Better Life”
  • (40%) George Clooney – “The Descendants”
  • (45%) Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
  • (3%) Gary Oldman – “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
  • (10%) Brad Pitt – ”Moneyball”

Prediction: Jean Dujardin


Coming into this race, George Clooney and Brad Pitt, two of their generation’s most enduring stars, looked to be going head to head for this Oscar statuette, but how things change.

Frenchman Jean Dujardin has been the poster boy for “The Artist,” which appears to have run away with the Best Picture race. Winning Best Actor at Cannes used to not mean much, but it looks to be big here. Dujardin embodied everything this film was about from its darker and more dramatic moments to its light-hearted and joyful ones. Although the Hollywood types have loved Clooney for ages and are quite fond of “The Descendants,” momentum is a powerful thing. Dujardin won the Screen Actors Guild award, and that sealed the deal in my book.

Gary Oldman is the “deserved to be nominated” name on the list seeing as the actor has had a long an prolific Hollywood career with no nomination to show for it. Considering he didn’t have many flashy parts as C.I.A. vet George Smiley, it was especially great to see him honored.

Demian Bichir is this year what Javier Bardem was last year: the actor who gave a great performance in the film no one saw. I enjoyed Bichir in his time on Showtime’s “Weeds,” but he’s so far out of the race it’s silly.


Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

  • (8%) Glenn Close – “Albert Nobbs”
  • (40%) Viola Davis – “The Help”
  • (4%) Rooney Mara – “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
  • (36%) Meryl Streep – ”The Iron Lady”
  • (12%) Michelle Williams – “My Week with Marilyn”

Prediction: Viola Davis

What a category. I think in any other year, Michelle Williams would be a front-runner for her magnetic portrayal of Marilyn Monroe, one of the tougher assignments an actress could ever agree to take. As much as I love Viola Davis and instantly knew her performance in “The Help” was Oscar material, Williams’ was the more unique character and challenge.

Then there’s Meryl Streep. This is her 17th Oscar nomination, and as people have said all along, her best chance at winning since 1982’s “Sophie’s Choice.” She’s a popular figure with the academy and she won the Golden Globe, but she went home empty-handed in the SAG awards, the honor that serves as a stronger indicator for the Oscars.

The Academy loves to recognize young actresses, so Rooney Mara proves no exception. Transformative performance tend to work best from established actresses, but Mara is already there even if the credit coming her way could be greater. Considering two other films in this would-be trilogy are yet to come and delve much deeper into Lisbeth Salander than “Dragon Tattoo,” Mara has a good chance of hoisting a statuette before her run as the bi-sexual computer hacker is done.

Then there’s Glenn Close, who would also stand out in any other year for playing a woman disguised as a man. Close had been passionate about “Albert Nobbs” for ages before finally making it happen, but while it put her on the map once again, the movie wasn’t strong enough. Considering you could say the same about “The Iron Lady” and Meryl Streep, you really know Close has no chance.

It’s a close race because of how much respect Streep commands, but the ever-humble Davis will likely take the award.


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