Hanks_McConaugheyI can’t believe it’s already November.  The season has already shown a bit of itself with the Gotham Awards announcing their nominations, but that’s relatively unimportant when it comes to the Oscar predicting.  New York Film Critics Circle will unveil their first batch of winners on December 3, leaving room for Los Angeles and National Board of Review to follow.

It’s time to start taking performances and films more seriously, and to closely look at what kinds of things can spark with AMPAS members.  Something like “Nebraska” and “Saving Mr. Banks” are two examples of what Oscar typically loves.  A light-hearted dramedy featuring an outstanding lead performance by Bruce Dern is something they’ll likely eat up for breakfast.  Another movie about old Hollywood, and one of the staples of cinema and their organization, is something they can’t resist.

With a race this tight, in various categories, we are in store for plenty of surprises.  As usual, there are a few actors that will be in contention for two nominations in Lead and Supporting.  On top of the heap is Tom Hanks, who has made a comeback that is both welcomed and amazing.  As Richard Phillips in Paul Greengrass‘ “Captain Phillips,” Hanks proves his status as one of the greatest American actors to ever lived.  While everyone naturally gravitates to his final moments (SPOILER ALERT), as he lays in the medical quarters, trying relentlessly to gain his composure following a terrifying ordeal, he does so much more in his 134 minute run time.  His initial drive to the boat with his wife Andrea, talking about his worry for his children or any moment that he’s on the lifeboat features Hanks’ masterful ability.

His other chance will come as Walt Disney in John Lee Hancock‘s “Saving Mr. Banks,” which just premiered at the London Film Festival to great notices.  As Supporting Actor fails to take any solid shape, he could probably score, and possibly win easily.  The film is about to show itself at AFI next week, along with a screening for the East Coast crowd for us to weigh in on.

hunter_thompsonAs you can see from the title of the article, and from the predictions, Matthew McConaughey is seen as the other double nominee spoiler for his works in “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Mud.”  In 1993, another hugely competitive Oscar year, Holly Hunter and Emma Thompson both managed double mentions for themselves.  Hunter had huge momentum going into the race.  She was a near shoo-in to win the Oscar for her role in Jane Campion’s “The Piano,” for which she did, and snuck into a weak Supporting Actress field for her performance in Sydney Pollack’s “The Firm” losing to her young co-star Anna Paquin.  Thompson, coincidentally in “Banks” and nominated the same year Hanks won his first Oscar for “Philadelphia,” was nominated for “The Remains of the Day” and “In the Name of the Father.”

I wasn’t too big a fan of Hunter’s supporting nomination that could have went to someone like Sally Field in “Mrs. Doubtfire” or Caroline Goodall in “Schindler’s List.”  I do understand that the sure-fire heat for another performance tends to pull in something else, though not always warranted.  This is the only film year that resulted in two actors being double nominated.  In fact, only eleven actors have done it in Oscar history.  Of those eleven times, seven won an Oscar on the night.  We are in a time where Oscar continues to defy history, as we saw last year with “Argo” – which leads me to believe, many more surprises could come our way in the near future.

Cate Blanchett is the only person of the eleven, whose road to the nomination was a bit odd.  Blanchett worked in a nomination for Todd Haynes’ “I’m Not There,” which was totally warranted but then ousted someone like Angelina Jolie for a mirrored turn in the abysmal “Elizabeth: The Golden Age.”  Tilda Swinton and Marion Cotillard would beat her in both races.   Jamie Foxx went on to win an Oscar for “Ray” but brought in his other LEAD turn in Supporting for “Collateral” over Freddie Highmore.  The amazing Julianne Moore is also a unique situation when double nominated for “Far from Heaven” and “The Hours.”  I think simple confusion on where to reward her in a year where she dominated in a huge way.  Co-star Nicole Kidman bested her while the sexy Catherine Zeta-Jones had Harvey to push her through for “Chicago.”

McConaughey has had a great year.  “Dallas Buyers Club” shows all his eclectic acting qualities and abilities to transform into a dynamic character; better yet, it is the performance of his career.  Earlier in 2013, “Mud” had him using his wit and charm opposite a great Tye Sheridan,  and with a near unanimous love from critics, the film may spark back up during the critics’ awards.  Being the first screener out the gate, I’m sure many voters have watched and marveled in its greatness.

In other categories, some things still remain a mystery.  Notably Supporting Actress which seems to have two assured women in the lineup, Oprah Winfrey and Lupita Nyong’o.  The former has lots of friends in the Academy and will be campaigned by Harvey Weinstein.  I find it hard to see anyone beating her, no matter how much better the performance may be.  June Squibb is a scene-stealer in Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska,” probably best in show.  If they go heavy for the Paramount Pictures film, she could get swept up in the lovefest.

wolfofwallstreet_3The second trailer for “The Wolf of Wall Street” had a lot of pundits talking.  Finally scheduled to come out on Christmas Day, Kris Tapley of In Contention has also scooped up news that the film will compete in the Musical/Comedy category at the Golden Globes.  Not sure how that bodes well for a late entry trying to be taken seriously especially since the lineup is heavier than usual.  Films like “Before Midnight” and “Philomena” are fighting for a spot in that lineup.  I’m also curious to see how Jonah Hill factors in the Supporting Actor race.

Speaking of Golden Globes, those have been updated as well.  Six categories have been updated in the Oscar Predictions will the remaining coming throughout the weekend.  Picture, Director, Lead Actor, Lead Actress, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress are completed.  Screenplays should follow later today.

Include your thoughts on the race in the comment section and where you see the race at the moment.