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Latest Oscar predictions: Lead actor

October 13, 2010 |  4:10 pm

King's speech 127 Hours Oscars news

Right now it looks like Colin Firth is far ahead in the Academy Award race for lead actor.

All Oscarologists know that voters are suckers for actors who portray real-life characters (Forest Whittaker in "Last King of Scotland," Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Capote"), especially ones with handicaps (Jamie Foxx in "Ray," Geoffrey Rush in "Shine"). In "The King's Speech," Firth portrays Britain's monarch George VI struggling to overcome a stammer while rallying his countrymen to fight World War II.

Firth has something else going for him — the old Oscar Makeup Rule: If you lose one year, don't worry, you'll win the next. All of these stars (plus many others) won an Academy Award one year after being a losing nominee: Russell Crowe (triumphed for "Gladiator" after losing for "The Insider"), Jack Nicholson (won for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" after losing for "Chinatown"), Nicole Kidman (won for "The Hours" after losing for "Moulin Rouge!"), etc. Last year Firth lost for "A Single Man."

In addition, "The King's Speech" is a top contender for best picture, possibly even the front-runner to win. Academy voters love to give away an acting Oscar along with best picture (Russell Crowe in "Gladiator," Kevin Spacey in "American Beauty").

But that's also true of James Franco in "127 Hours," which will certainly be nominated for best picture. Arguably, he portrays a handicapped person too, since he chops off his arm while stuck in a canyon, and a real-life one at that (based on the ordeal of hiker Aron Ralston). He benefits a bit from the Oscar Makeup Rule as well, not as a past nominee, but as someone who should've nabbed the supporting slot for "Milk" in 2008, but got snubbed.

There's a third serious contender in this race: Jeff Bridges in the Coen brothers' "True Grit," which probably will be nommed for best picture. It's also a proven vehicle for Oscar glory since John Wayne triumphed in the role in 1969. Having won last year for "Crazy Heart," he wouldn't benefit from the Oscar Makeup Rule, but from the Oscar Bandwagon Effect that earned Tom Hanks ("Philadelphia," "Forrest Gump") and Spencer Tracy ("Captains Courageous," "Boys Town") consecutive victories.

Jeff Bridges, "True Grit"
Colin Firth, "The King's Speech"
James Franco, "127 Hours"

Ben Affleck, "The Town"
Javier Bardem, "Biutiful"
Jesse Eisenberg, "The Social Network"
Leonardo DiCaprio, "Inception"
Michael Douglas, "Solitary Man"
Robert Duvall, "Get Low"
Ryan Gosling, "Blue Valentine"
Mark Wahlberg, "The Fighter"

(Long Shots)
Casey Affleck, "The Killer Inside Me"
Ben Affleck, "The Company Men"
Jim Broadbent, "Another Year"
Jim Carrey, "I Love You, Phillip Morris"
Kevin Costner, "The Company Men"
Russell Crowe, "The Next Three Days"
Matt Damon, "Hereafter"
Leonardo DiCaprio, "Shutter Island"
Aaron Eckhart, "Rabbit Hole"
Paul Giamatti, "Barney's Version"
Jake Gyllenhaal, "Love and Other Drugs"
Paul Rudd, "How Do You Know"
Kevin Spacey, "Casino Jack"
Jim Sturgess, "The Way Back"

Photos: Colin Firth in "The King's Speech" (Weinstein Co.), James Franco in "127 Hours" (Fox Searchlight)


Latest Oscar predictions: Best picture

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The comments to this entry are closed.


don't forget meryl streep who won for kramer vs kramer, a year after losing from the deer hunter

LEONARDO DICAPRIO for giving two great performances in two succesful movies in the same year -- he is long overdue and you want to talk about make up Oscar -- he has delivered performance after performance since his first nomination in What's Eating Gilbert Grape and he definitely deserved to win for the aviator.

My Prediction:

Colin Firth - The King's Speech (Front Runner) (Lock)
James Franco - 127 Hours (Runner Up) (Lock)
Jeff Bridges - True Grit (Lock)

Strongest Runner Ups for a Nomination:

Javier Bardem - Biutiful (I think a Lock)
Ryan Gosling - Blue Valentine (Between him and Robert Duvall! But i prefer Ryan Gosling)
Robert Duvall - Get Low


Another make up example..James Stewart lost for powerful Mr. Smith role..won the year after for lighter weight Philadelphia Story. I'm a big fan of Firth, but don't discount the 'personal hardship' angle of M. Douglas.

My prediction:
James Franco(127 hours)
Colin Firth(king's speech)
Jeff Bridges(true grit)
Leonardo Di Caprio(shutter island)
Jesse Eisenberg(the social network)

Including Jack Nicholson's award for "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" in the make-up category diminishes one of the great performances in acting. It stands up as an oscar winner all on it's own.

I think Robert Duvall for "Get Low" should be a little higher up. I believe it will be Bridges, Duvall, Firth, Franco and that last spot will go to either Bardem, Eisenberg, Gosling or Douglas. I really think it's those eight actors vying for the five spots...and I feel only Firth and Franco are locks at this point, with Duvall ahead of Bridges. None of the long shots listed, I feel have any outside chance of advancing in to the race. They're done.

I thought Ewan McGregor gave a beautiful performance in one of the best pictures of the year: Polanski's "The Ghost Writer". I also think Pierce Brosnan and Olivia Williams were absolutely riveting and should be nominated in the supporting categories, as should Polanski himself for Best Director. I know they don't stand a chance of being nominated, but I want to encourage your readers to check out his film if they haven't already done so. It's really quite an astonishing movie. Polanski at the top of his form. And overlooked by many critics this year already.

I say:
Eisenberg (please no Justin Timberlake for supporting...Seth Rogen could have played it better thank JT)

Michael Douglas deserves nomination for a solitary man was a fantastic performance

Re handicap -- And Daniel Day Lewis in My Left Foot?

I think Colin Firth is a brilliant actor. I would love to see him win an Academy Award!

I think the rule is different for Franco, who's prior lack of nomination will be made up by just getting the nomination itself. I think Jesse Eisenberg also has a good shot for being the face of the potentially BP frontrunner (duking it out with TKS). I think the last slot is between Bardem (a likely critics fave) and Duvall (beloved veteran) with a chance from Gosling if his film's NC-17 rating somehow manages to only add on to its' appeal. Possible shockers could come in the form of DiCaprio (more likely for Shutter Island than Inception) and Michael Douglas (sympathy vote for Solitary Man?).

out of the possibles, i'd go with Eisenberg and Gosling. The actors' branch will want to see those performances recognised. The others are either reaching, or already rewarded.

Some of these POSSIBLES (and essentially all of the longshots) are definitely not happening. Ben Affleck in The Town? If anyone from that film gets in, it's Renner.
Also, why does everyone think DiCaprio has a better shot with his less showy performance in Inception?



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