For Your Consideration: The Oscar-Buzz Movies, Actors and Directors of 2010


'Tis the season. Here in Los Angeles, the "for your consideration" billboards are up, screeners are traded like baseball cards, and the re-releases of the year's early contenders have begun. That's right: It's awards time in Tinseltown.

On Tuesday, the Hollywood Foreign Press announced their nominations for the Golden Globes, which most Oscar-watchers consider a strong indicator of who will nab those coveted Academy noms come January 25. And with 2011 something of a banner year for filmmaking, and last year's best picture nominees nearly a dozen strong, it still feels like this year's awards could be anyone's game.

The Social Network -- Movie of the Year?

Since we're all internet junkies here, I thought I'd kick things off with the movie people haven't stopped buzzing about since its (incredibly alluring) trailer first hit the fiber optics -- it's been called out by critics and fans alike as "the one to beat." The Social Network is Oscar bait for sure, but will it be a Titanic-like sweep, or an Avatar-like upset (if you can call winning three Oscars an upset...and why am I repeatedly comparing this movie to James Cameron epics?)

While the flick's true A-list stars: David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin, grabbed Globes noms and are unquestionably on the short list in the Directing and Adapted Screenplay categories respectively, and it's widely accepted that the producers could likely find themselves going home with the Best Picture statue, I'm more intrigued by which of the movie's breakout stars will find their way into Oscar's career-warming glow.

Though Justin Timberlake didn't snag a Globes nomination, his name has been floated around plenty for Best Supporting Actor for The Social Network he plays wily Napster co-founder Sean Parker). But I think it may be the actor soon to be known as Peter Parker in the next Spider-Man movie, Andrew Garfield, as Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, who ends up representing the movie with a Supporting Actor nom.

Best Actor

Jesse Eisenberg gave a show-stealing performance as Facebook Founder and TIME's Person of the Year Mark Zuckerberg (but oh my god, is Jesse socially awkward or what? Did you see him on Conan?). I think pretty much everyone on earth agrees he deserves to be among the nominees for Best Actor -- and the Globes agree.

Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network
Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network. Image courtesy Lionsgate

Leo's got a spot all but cinched up for that riveting creepfest Inception, and with three failed nominations and some outright snubs under his belt, the Academy may consider him long overdue for a statue. DiCaprio garnered early buzz with a stunning performance in February's Shutter Island. I've got to imagine Team Leo's hoping the Academy's forgotten right about now since a double nomination could split voters and ultimately cost him the win. On the other hand, he didn't get Globes love for either.

The Coen Brothers' dark remake True Grit may have put Jeff Bridges in position to return to defend the category he took last year. And I can't take two steps in this town without hearing someone gush about Colin Firth's emotional performance as the speech-impaired King George VI in The King's Speech. James Franco looks to be a likely contender for his turn as the ultimate real-life survivorAron Ralston in 127 Hours, while Ryan Gosling could sneak in under the wire for the Weinstein Co's NC17 rated Blue Valentine, due out this month.

Best Actress

Natalie Portman seems all but certain to be dancing her way to the Kodak stage for her disturbing portrayal of prima ballerina Nina in Black Swan (which even my anti-movie husband wants to see, because the Portman/Mila Kunis sex scene has a buzz all its own).

Annette Bening may find herself with her director by her side on nomination day for The Kids are All Right.There's also Halle Berry's late-season entry Frankie and Alice, the mind-blowingly powerful cast of Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls, or Diane Lane's inspiring turn in Secretariat (you laugh, but who thought Sandra Bullock was taking the prize for The Blindside at this time last year?).

For Colored Girls
Kimberly Elise and Michael Ealy in For Colored Girls. Image courtesy Lionsgate

Best Director

With The Kids Are All Right, director Lisa Cholodenko's vying to appear on the Best Director ballot and the Best Picture list. Meanwhile, Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky might finally break the Oscar curse that kept him from making a splash with Pi, Requiem for a Dream, and to the surprise of critics everywhere, 2008's The Wrestler. Christopher Nolan could join his Inception colleague DiCaprio in getting another shot at the gold (after being passed over for The Dark Knight.)

I could quite literally go on all day. There are easily fifteen directors worth talking about (2010 was very much the Year of the Director). I haven't even mentioned The Fighter, which I'm betting will go a couple of rounds in the Best Director, Picture and Actor rings (it snagged several Globes noms).

I also haven't chewed your ear off about the supporting actor/actress races (in which I think Helena Bonham Carter and the aforementioned Timberlake and/or Garfield are the frontrunners, with Miranda Richardson and Mark Ruffalo nipping at their heels). But we're only tipping our toes into the beginning of awards season here, and there's a whole great big blogosphere of opinions out there...

Buzz from the Bloggers

Reel Whore loves her some Toy Story 3, and she's not the only one -- the film's got serious traction on a Best Picture nom.

In case you've been stored in a duct tape-sealed box in the attic for the past month unable to hear the latest movie news, Toy Story 3 is about as darn near perfect a film as you're gonna find this summer. Heck, maybe even this year....

I appreciate that Pixar doesn't shill for adults the way other animation studios do. They cleverly use adult motifs, like the ominous horror-monster vibe to make a certain toy seem dark and dangerous, but they never overplay their hand...

If Toy Story 3 doesn't land a Best Picture nod from the Academy, something is seriously wrong with the world.

The Flick Chick beautifully sums up the magic of newcomer Jennifer Lawrence's performance in the Sundance darling Winter's Bone, which garnered a whopping seven nominations for the Independent Spirit Awards [set to take place on the eve of the Oscars in Los Angeles.]

Any discussion of Winter's Bone has to include mention of the performance by Jennifer Lawrence, who announces herself here as an actress to watch out for (and whose next film is, unfortunately, the Mel Gibson-starring The Beaver). In her hands Ree is a character who is strong but not cocky, someone whose existence seems to be an exercise in swallowing ones pride. Without her, the family would be sunk and she knows it so she keeps it together for them as best she can and teaches her younger siblings essential lessons in how to get by. She is an endlessly compelling character and Lawrence's performance feels authentic to the core. I would recommend Winter's Bone on the strength of her performance alone, but luckily everything around it is just as riveting.

Rama of Rama's Screen sees major Oscar potential in The Fighter

This movie’s got Oscars written all over it. I was a fan of Melissa Leo in Frozen River and as Micky’s mother/manager, Leo once again shows her superior skills as an actress. You’re going to be astounded by her fury and rage in this film.

Amy Adams has always been a great supporting actress in my book but this time, long gone is the vulnerability of that girl from Enchanted and Doubt, in THE FIGHTER, Adams is fearless. I don’t know if people from Lowell, Massachussets have mad temper, very defensive and territorial...but Adams in this movie is a very opinionated woman who you don’t wanna mess with.

And Rosy from Accidental Sexiness casts her vote for Nicole Kidman in the mid-December release Rabbit Hole.

I hope Nicole Kidman is making some extra space on her mantle at home. Come award season, I think she will be adding more to her collection. The multiple award winner co-stars with Aaron Eckhart in the dramatic directed by John Cameron Mitchell entitled, “Rabbit Hole.”

Based on a play by David Lindsay-Abaire, this sad tale tells the story of Becca and Howie Corbett (Kidman and Eckhart) are returning to their everyday existence in the wake of [the] shocking, sudden loss [of] their son in an accident....Yet, as off track as they are, the couple keeps trying to find their way back to a life that still holds the potential for beauty, laughter and happiness. The resulting journey is an intimate glimpse into two people learning to re-engage with each other and a world that has been tilted off its axis.

So who are your Oscar picks? Who did I overlook? There were so many good movies this year, it's fixin' to be a long tough battle to the Kodak Theater.

Morgan (The818) is a blogger and screenwriter living in Los Angeles. She overshares her personal life -- complete with curse words - at, talks art and design over at, and tweets: @the818.


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