My early predictions continue with Best Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, and Adapted Screenplay. Next week I'll start looking at some of the visual craft categories.
Best Supporting Actor
Always hard to get a read on the supporting categories because a lot of contenders stem from large ensembles out of which it's hard to detect the standout without seeing the film. The Monuments Men, for instance, boasts a starry cast, but who (if any) will get the most attention. I'm taking a chance on John Goodman (also starring in Inside Llewyn Davis this year) given his career trajectory of late; featured in the last two Best Picture winners, among several other awards films... how long can it be before his first career nomination? And for which film will it be?
You could make a similar case for Michael Fassbender, who probably came close to his first nomination for Steve McQueen's Shame. He's teaming again with McQueen for Twelve Years a Salve. Perhaps an American period drama is more to the Academy's liking?
Other actors out there have roles with potential for scene stealing, but it's still impossible to tell. For now, I'm guessing:
Josh Brolin, Labor Day
Michael Fassbender, Twelve Years a Slave
John Goodman, Inside Llewyn Davis / The Monuments Men
Joaquin Phoenix, Lowlife
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
Also consider: Benedict Cumberbatch, August: Osage County; Matt Damon, The Monuments Men; Jean Dujardin, The Monuments Men/The Wolf of Wall Street; Colin Farrell, Saving Mr. Banks
Best Supporting Actress
August: Osage County's large ensemble seems likely to yield a nominee or two in this race, but who? Julia Roberts is certainly the most A-list of the supporting ladies (Meryl Streep will probably be campaigned as lead), but I'm going with the Tony-winning role that will be interpretted on screen by Margo Martindale.
Sally Hawkins might become the next in a long line of Woody Allen supporting actresses to reap Oscar glory for Blue Jasmine, while perennial contenders like Amy Adams and Cate Blanchett need always be considered:
Amy Adams, Untitled ABSCAM project / Her
Cate Blanchett, The Monuments Men
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Catherine Keener, Captain Phillips
Margo Martindale, August: Osage County
Also consider: Cameron Diaz, The Counselor; Naomi Harris, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; Juliette Lewis, August: Osage County; Carey Mulligan, Inside Llewyn Davis; Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
Best Original Screenplay
Not much to do here but pick and choose original screenplays from my predicted Best Picture lineup, tossing in Sundance success Fruitvale for good measure:
E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman, Foxcatcher
Alfonso Cuaron, Jonas Cuaron, Gravity
Bill Ray, Captain Phillips
Cormac McCarthy, The Counselor
Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale
Also consider: Blue Jasmine, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Untitled ABSCAM project, The Way, Way Back
Best Adapted Screenplay
The third in Richard Linklater's Jesse-and-Celine trilogy was very warmly received at Sundance. The previous entry (2004's Before Sunset) earned a nomination here, and by all accounts this one is good enough to do the same.
Tracy Letts, August: Osage County
Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Before Midnight
Jason Reitman, Labor Day
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, The Monuments Men
Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street
Also consider: The Butler, The Fifth Estate, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Serena, Twelve Years a Slave