It’s the most wonderful time again for film fanatics – that time when we start debating and arguing over which movies, actors, and directors have a chance at winning Oscars. Yes, it’s time to predict the Academy Award nominations, which will officially be announced on Jan. 25, 2011.
And it’s also the time when some of these movies are released, since in order to qualify for this years’ Academy Awards, the films must be shown in a public theater by Dec. 31.
Some of these films have been been in theaters, several of them to great reviews and box office, like “Inception,” “The Social Network” and “Toy Story 3.” Others are still to be seen in the next few weeks, although they are already being feverishly debated by film critics and fans.
Here are the films now being most talked about, and seem likely to garner multiple Oscar nominations.
“Inception” – The mind-blowing and big box office hit of this past summer is likely to get a long-overdue nomination for director Christopher Nolan, who might also pick up a nom for writing the screenplay. Marion Cotillard may possibly get a Best Supporting Actress nod for her role as Mal, although critics consider it a long shot. You’ll find it on DVD on Dec. 7.
“The Social Network” – Based on the real-life story behind Facebook, this film was both a box office smash and universally praised by critics. Look for nominations for Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and perhaps Armie Hammer for his dual role as the Winklevoss twins; and a Best Director nomination for director David Fincher as well. It’s still in theaters.
“The Kids Are All Right” – The question about this film is who will be nominated for Best Actress – Annette Bening or Julianne Moore – or might it be both, for their portrayal of a lesbian couple. Director Lisa Cholodenko might also get a nom. The film was released on DVD Nov. 16.
“The King’s Speech” – This historic drama starring Colin Firth has been lauded by people who have seen it in various film festivals this year. Firth looks to have a lock for a Best Actor nod for an outstanding performance as stuttering King Goerge VI, and there might be nods for supporting roles by Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush, and for director Tom Hooper. The film opens to a limited release Nov. 26.
“Toy Story 3” – The third and final installment in the “Toy Story” trilogy, it is now the biggest-grossing animated film ever. It’s a shoo-in for Best Animated Feature and another feather in Pixar’s cap. It was released on DVD on Nov. 2.
“Black Swan” – Natalie Portman won’t be overlooked for this role, for which she trained rigorously to portray an emotionally fragile ballet dancer. Possibly there could also be nominations for director Darren Aronofsky and supporting actresses Barbara Hershey and Mila Kunis. It opens in theaters Dec. 1.
“True Grit” – Although this film won’t be released until Dec. 22, it seems like a dream cast and crew. Directed by previous Oscar winners Ethan and Joel Coen (“No Country for Old Men”) and starring Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin and Matt Damon, it’s also garnering lots of buzz for 13-year-old newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, who may be a candidate for Best Supporting Actress.
“The Fighter” – Another physical transformation for Christian Bale as a gaunt, washed-up boxer, and it could lead to a nomination for him for Best Supporting Actor. Longer shots for noms are Mark Wahlberg and Amy Adams. Its release date is Dec. 10.
“127 Hours” – James Franco is said to be magnetic as Aron Ralston, the young hiker who was forced to cut off part of his arm after it became wedged between rocks. It’s a hard-to-watch movie that will nonetheless be remembered. A nomination for director Danny Boyle is also a possibility. It’s in theaters now.
“The Town” – Ben Affleck’s directorial debut racked up plenty of praise from critics and did decently at the box office. Affleck also starred in the gritty crime drama and co-wrote the script. It could be Oscar time for Affleck, in one or more categories. It’s due to be out on DVD on Dec. 17.
Personal viewing of “Inception,” “Toy Story 3,” and “The Social Network”