It’s never too soon to start guessing Oscar nominations, so I’ve done some exhaustive research–like talking to one friend in the biz, as well as plumbing the depths of my own usually-semi-right instincts–and decided that the five nominees will probably come from these seven bigshots:
Marion Cotillard, above, in Rust and Bone
(You don’t lose your legs in a film and not get nominated.)
Naomi Watts in The Impossible
(It’s about the tsunami. A lot of this year’s Oscar films are about disasters, like plane crashes, wars, crises, and maybe even budget cuts.)
Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty.
(And let’s not forget 9/11. This one is about the post-traumatic search for bin Laden. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, it reeks of Oscar, even if we don’t even know what Chastain plays. Thirty?)
Judi Dench in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
(Who could have played Evelyn Greenslade better than her? Come on, who?)
Helen Mirren for Hitchcock.
(She’s the Misses, hitched to the great Hitch. Just guessing her performance won’t be for The Birds.)
Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook
(They always like someone young in the category–like when Jennifer herself was nominated for Winter’s Bone.)
Keira Knightley for Anna Karenina.
(The film is already dividing people, but Keira needn’t throw herself onto the train tracks just yet. She’s due for some recognition.)
And here’s why I didn’t include:
Helen Hunt in The Sessions. Everyone loves a third comeback, but supposedly she’ll be in supporting.
Anne Hathaway from Les Miserables. Ditto. She basically has a song, then her ghost shtick. Similarly, Amanda Seyfried probably won’t be considered a lead. It’s a man’s film.
And Quivenzhane Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild. I bet they’ll put her in supporting too. That’s what they do to very little girls who dominate a film.