Our 2011 Oscar Nominees and a Few Wishful Predictions

by Liz Colville

Here’s the complete list of the 2011 Academy Award nominees. Spoiler alert, if you haven’t viewed the list yet: there are a few nominees that feel off — James Franco, leave us in peace for awhile! — but many more that feel really exciting and full of promise, like the Academy could be forgiven of all its past sins if any of these people were to win. It’s pretty hard to choose just one from each category, but here they are.

Best Actress — Jennifer Lawrence — Winter’s Bone Winter’s Bone is a horror film in its own right, Natalie, and Jennifer Lawrence’s performance is just unflinchingly authentic (not that Natalie’s isn’t, but wouldn’t it just be thrilling to see Jennifer take out the ballerina!) It takes no time at all to be submerged in her character Ree’s dismal world, and by the end, you almost want to stay in it forever. Who wouldn’t want Ree to take care of you and fight the baddies for you? Re: the baddies, if you haven’t seen the film yet, watch the clip.

Best Actor — Colin Firth — The King’s Speech Colin Firth has already won this, but it’s a deserved shoe-in. Firth has arrived, even though we felt he had arrived in the two-VHS BBC version of Pride & Prejudice back in the ’90s. Thank god things didn’t go astray (permanently). After a slew of less serious roles, like Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones’s Diary and Jamie in Love Actually, each of which he managed to dignify beautifully (Jamie’s story was Love Actually, as far as I’m concerned), Firth snags King George VI from Paul Bettany’s grasp (!) and, with a few exceptions since P&P;, he’s back to being grown-up Firth. The supporting cast only serves to heighten his performance.

Best Supporting Actress — Jacki Weaver — Animal Kingdom The chance of this happening is so slim, but non-American (and non-British) films are beginning to get their due from the Academy in categories apart from Best Foreign Film, so you never know. Maybe the nomination is enough of a nod at this point. Weaver’s terrifying mother is arguably the most unforgettable of supporting lady roles this year, and if you can haunt someone for weeks (see also: Winter’s Bone), in my view, you deserve to win.

Best Supporting Actor — John Hawkes — Winter’s Bone Hawkes plays a special, special character in this film: an unassuming linchpin, a shadowy comrade, a familial darkhorse. His name is Teardrop, for god’s sake. Hawkes’ nomination cements this film as one of the Academy’s favorites of the year, if not the favorite, and that recognition certainly makes up for this award season’s fixation on another piece of entertaining fiction.