I was planning on counting down the year’s best performances until I looked at the calendar.  The deadline to vote for the SAG Awards is the end of the day today.  There is just too little time to write about all of the performances I wanted to write about.

It is with endless amounts of frustration that I can’t write about the great performance of Rooney Mara before the deadline for both the Globes and the SAGs. But here are a few performances that might get forgotten, for SAG voting consideration:

Rooney Mara in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo — since I can’t say anything yet — I will have to leave it to David Denby,

“You can’t take your eyes off Rooney Mara as the notorious Lisbeth Salander, in the American movie version of Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (opening December 21st). Slender, sheathed in black leather, with short ebony hair standing up in a tuft, her fingers poking out of black woollen gloves as they skitter across a laptop keyboard, Mara (who played Mark Zuckerberg’s girlfriend at the beginning of “The Social Network”) cuts through scene after scene like a swift, dark blade. Salander is a twenty-four-year-old hacker with many piercings, of herself and of others. She’s both antisocial and intensely sexual—vulnerable and often abused but overequipped to take revenge. She lives in an aura of violence. Salander obviously accounts for a big part of the success of Larsson’s crime novels—both men and women are turned on by her—and Mara makes every scene that she appears in jump. She strips off and climbs right onto Daniel Craig, as Mikael Blomkvist, the investigative journalist who takes Salander on as a partner, and whom she makes her lover. Craig looks a little surprised. In this movie, he is modest, quiet, even rather recessive. It’s Mara’s shot at stardom, and he lets her have it.”

There is so much more to her performance but we’ll have to wait to talk about it.

Gary Oldman in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – in one of his least showy yet most fully realized performances to date, Oldman plays George Smiley with his whole body.  His face tells the story his words never will.  His shoulders, his hands, the way he wears his coat – he’s seen so much.  There are brief moments where he lets emotion escape but somehow, though he’s doing anything but chewing scenery, he’s the most compelling character on the screen.  Oldman in this film has a gravitational pull — which, in the end, is unexpectedly moving. Like Christopher Plummer, Oldman is way, way, WAY overdue. He’s never even been NOMINATED for an Oscar before.  Try that one on for size. Not for Sid and Nancy, not for JFK, not for The Contender – he’s never been acknowledged in lead or supporting.  And this year, in a role that is far less extreme than other male performances it might be hard for him to get in.  But here’s to hoping actors know good acting when they see it.

Tilda Swinton in We Need to Talk About Kevin – there haven’t been many actresses willing to go to the dark side like Swinton has here.  She dives right into the uncomfortable territory of mother guilt/shame and an inability to connect. Mothers like this are shunned by society as most loathsome creatures — which is perhaps why it was a film only two moms — Lynne Ramsay and Swinton herself — had the desire and courage to bring to the screen.  We need to talk about a lot of things and we don’t.  We leave it to corporations to mostly tell us what kinds of mothers we’re supposed to be.  Film and TV portray them this year as almost completely absent.  Men have taken over fathering in the majority of films. And if you’re looking for any strong mothers, or mothers at all, in animated films? Except for Arthur Christmas (one of the best animated films this year), you won’t find many there either.  Mothers in film can be only one thing: good, nurturing, giving, kind, supportive. Why? because mothers, thanks to Freud, as the reason given for why most of us are either healthy (good mom) or fucked up (bad mom).  Ramsey and Swinton explore this territory without fear.  No, it isn’t a movie just anyone can like or get.  Most are put off by it, particularly with Ramsey’s style of filmmaking — a man doing the same would likely be celebrated as a great auteur, but a woman doing it? It’s just too easy to write off.  So you’ll say, why is always about women? Why can’t it be just about filmmaking?  It is about both of those things. When it’s a woman dwelling in a male dominant field it immediately becomes political.  There might be a day when it can just be about filmmaking but this isn’t that day.  Tilda Swinton turns in yet another unforgettable, disturbing performance here.

Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs – although seeing it in Telluride I knew it was going to be a tough sell.  She’s not a warm fuzzy character. She’s not sexual in any way. She’s not even particularly likable.  Her co-star, Janet McTeer IS all of those things because her character is allowed to be.  Close’s character isn’t. That’s the whole point.  So maybe it’s an uncomfortable few hours with her, there is no doubt that it is a well studied, deeply rendered turn in a film that struggles for attention with a very small budget.  Close also adapted the screenplay and co-wrote the song.  She comes as close to directing it as she possibly can without actually directing it.  It is one of the standout works of the year but she’s not likable it doesn’t seem to be getting any attention lately. Hopefully the industry, the professionals, will be able to recognize the difficulty in what Close did with Albert Nobbs.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Judi Dench in J. Edgar – the critics, except the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute, seemed to have turned their nose up at J. Edgar in general, and have forgotten one of the best things DiCaprio has ever done.  While it takes some getting used, his J. Edgar makeup and his accent, by the time the film gets closer to the middle, DiCaprio’s complex, somewhat sympathetic Hoover emerges.  J. Edgar is a love story but it’s also a story told from the perspective of a mostly unreliable narrator, someone who is deluding himself about many things, his sexuality among them.  The public wants the J. Edgar they’ve always had — the rat bastard who dressed up in women’s clothes [allegedly] and was so rotten inside he had to practically ruin the world because of it.  But the J. Edgar Eastwood gives us, the pained suffering man who has never really been able to find the truth about  himself then sought to find out the truth about other people, the things THEY were hiding because he was hiding so much himself.  The scene between J. Edgar and his mother  where she wants to teach him to “dance with women”  is, simply, the best acting in any film all year.   To overlook DiCaprio for this, to overlook Dench for this, would be a shame.

Michael Fassbender in Shame – it probably goes without saying that Fassbender’s is among the performances of the year.  Many of the critics have dismissed the film entirely, missing, I think, the point entirely.  For men, their sexuality is their own secret.  Mostly, our society is unprepared to deal with the sexual power of the human male but if you watch Project Nim and you know that our degree of DNA separation is but 5% different from our chimp cousins, when you see the difference between your cat or horse with their sex drive and without you’ll start to know the “plight” of men who are given the task of populating the planet with very few “acceptable” outlets to do so – with more to tease and taunt them every day.  But of course, here in America we really don’t talk about it unless we’re joking about it.  And Steve McQueen wants to talk about it.  The way sexuality has been stuffed into the darkness and isolation of internet porn and paid escorts spills out into easily exposed “scandals” of otherwise trustworthy politicians.  “Keep it in your pants,” people say.  And you know most men are thinking wow, I’m glad no one knows where my sexuality goes. It’s all very interesting and it’s definitely the thing we can’t really talk about because most of us, men especially, are forced to live the way society dictates: monogamous relationships.  Well, what if you can’t have one of those? What if you can’t even lead that kind of double life?  Fassbender’s Brandon has everything every American male should want: good looks, money, girls dying to sleep with him.  And yet … and yet … he’s become numb to real feeling because of every other way there is to access his sexuality on a daily, hourly basis.  But that isn’t satisfying either because the other part of him needs what we all need: love and intimacy.  I’ve never seen a filmmaker really talk about what I think is an ongoing dilemma in modern American society.  What will become of it? It’s hard to say.

Woody Harrelson in Rampart – he plays a bad cop well, but he plays a self-deluded bad cop brilliantly.  In Rampart Harrelson is really the last to know that he’s a liar, bad in bed, corrupt, manipulative. He wants to be a good man, an admired husband, cop and father.  He just can’t.  Harrelson plays every note, in complete control of his instrument.  It’s a disturbing antagonist he plays, the polar opposite of our treasured male figures — Brad Pitt in Moneyball, George Clooney in The Descendants, Michael Shannon in Take Shelter — it’s always a good year for actors, of course, but these actors really do take it to a different level.

Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer for The Help.  It becomes so tiresome to have to defend this film and its performances because it wasn’t PC enough for whitey.  Ms. David quietly gives the best performance of her career — playing both the subservient maid and revealing all that is churning within her. No easy feat, to be sure.  It would be easy to have fallen into a stereotype, but Davis leads a cast that became one of the highest grossing films of the year.   No, she isn’t Sandra Bullock, but her long career and her lack of wins up to now ought to be considered.

Although it goes without saying that Meryl Streep will be nominated for The Iron Lady, Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn, Jessica Chastain for either Tree of Life or The Help — these are the strongest performances, and most lauded so far.  But here’s to hoping they also remember Charlize Theron in Young Adult for playing against type, Olivia Colman in Tyrannosaur, and Elizabeth Olsen in Martha Marcy May Marlene.

How about you, readers? What is your “for your consideration?”

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  • Supporting Actor: a 2nd nod for Brad Pitt, The Tree of Life

  • Ali D

    I think it is like impossible but Sareh Bayat’s performance in A Separation still remains as the BEST of the year for me. I wish she could have had a chance for BEST ACTRESS or BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS for her magificent, jawdropping performance in A Separation. The same thing goes for ENSEMBLE CAST of the film. It’s simply the best ENSEMBLE performance of the year, you can tell from two awards the film gained besides Golden Bear: Best Actor(all actors in film) and Best Actress(all actresses in film) awards.

  • William James

    Tilda Swinton. If for no other reason because she was gruelingly overlooked for Julia.

  • Nya

    I appreciate your list, Sasha. I haven’t seen TGWTDT but the rest of the performances, I more or less agree with. The only one I have a huge problem with is Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs. The film is SUCH a bore. I will agree that Close deserves a good film role and this is probably the closest thing she has had to “good” role in years (although she’s wonderful on ‘Damages’ but alas, that’s television) but this film did nothing for me.

    Other great performances (and some you included): Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn, Lizzie Olsen in MMMM, Charlize Theron in Young Adult (and my pick for the Oscar), Jessica Chastain in The Help and Tree Of Life, Brad Pitt in TOL, Anton Yelchin in Like Crazy, Ben Kingsley in Hugo, Albert Brooks and Ryan Gosling in Drive, George Clooney in Ides of March, Evan Rachel Wood in Mildred Pierce, and Rose Byrne in Bridesmaids.

  • Pat

    My FYCs are Rachel Weisz in The Whistleblower and Corey Stoll in Midnight in Paris. I also really hope that the HFPA nominates Kim Cattral for Best Actress (Comedy) for Meet Monica Velour. It’s a longshot, but she deserves it.

  • Thanks, Sasha.

    Well anyone who has seen my comments by now knows that I’ve always been waving a flag for the cast of WARRIOR, especially Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte. I hate that it got swept under the rug. I’m still not sure why but those performances still stand out to me now that I’ve seen as many 2011 movies as I can.

    Another lead actor I’d like to give a shout-out to is Antonio Banderas for his work in THE SKIN I LIVE IN. It’s such a daring role and he carries it off so believably and to do it at this stage in his career is really fantastic imo.

    An actress, that’s right I like an actress, lol. KEIRA KNIGHTLEY. This woman always lays it down. She was great in A DANGEROUS METHOD. I haven’t seen another performance by an actress this year that could hold a candle to her.

    The cast of HARRY POTTER should be nominated. Everything we’ve been through with those actors and all the work they’ve put in just to entertain us. It should be rewarded.

    And since you guys are voting for TV too, can I mention Sean Bean in “Game of Thrones”? He got snubbed for the Emmy but fans everywhere were hoping he’d get nominated for his starring role in the incredible HBO series. He definitely deserves it.

    Thank you, 🙂

  • steve50

    Supporting needs some cheerleading, so I’m putting forth strong reminders for:
    – Vanessa Redgrave (Coriolanus), the best in the business
    – Carey Mulligan (Shame), a heartbreaker
    – Brad Pitt (Tree of Life) for reminding me of overbearing fathers
    – Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), because I think this glass ceiling has to be broken and who better deserves to do it?

  • Tye-Grr

    For me, my FYC’s go out to-

    Elizabeth Olsen (‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’) and Kirsten Dunst (‘Melacholia’): Two young actresses (one fresh on the scene, one who has been working steadily since childhood) go to deep dark places and deliver two of the year’s best performances in two of the year’s best films. Olsen commands the screen as we watch her Martha, who has escaped a cult, struggle with what’s real and what’s just a memory, even when her sister and brother-in-law become concerned for her well being and try to accommodate a nice normal living. Dunst’s Justine is dealing with depression while her world is figuratively and literally on the verge of being destroyed, and she subtly conveys every complex feeling and thought from beginning to end, faking smiles until giving in to the dark. Both are beautifully realized and quietly moving.

    Ryan Gosling (‘Drive’): Another quiet, dark, introverted performance, Gosling makes such wonderful use of his expressive eyes and face as his Driver slowly falls for a pretty young woman and her son, and finds himself backed into a corner where he’s forced to use explosive violence to get himself out. It’s probably too subtle to gain recognition, but it’s among his best performances and the best of this year.

    Nick Nolte (‘Warrior’): Devastating as an ex-trainer who has lost touch with his family due to alcoholism, Nolte plays Paddy, a man who has now turned over a new leaf and wants nothing more than to reconnect with his estranged sons. Nolte’s scenes with Tom Hardy are explosive and heartbreaking, and it’s criminal that he has been ignored for most of this season.

    Jessica Chastain (‘The Help’): As a blonde bombshell in the ’60s who is just as much a victim of prejudice as the black maids by the high society white community, Chastain brings both humor and heart to her scenes in ‘The Help’, especially the scenes she shares with Octavia Spencer’s Minny, the maid she newly hires to help her around the house and teach her to cook for her husband. The bond they build and the friendship they share as they learn cold hard truths about one another is one of the film’s biggest pleasures.

    Those are my FYC’s so far this season.

  • Scott

    I loved Paul Rudd in “Our Idiot Brother!” Plus Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, and Jessica Barden in “Hanna.”

  • Insider

    Consider Alan Rickman.

  • R

    Good that sasha is acknolweging these dark male acting roles, instead of the boring and lame clooney/pitt performances where they are just them playing themselves. Imo snub them both and give these guys their noms

  • JJ

    Sasha, great notes on Shame. Really smart. I’m also blown away by the variety of Jessica Chastain’s work this year. Lovely. The women of The Help were all fantastic. Loved Cicely Tyson’s small turn.

  • david

    i think that keria knightley gave by far the best performance of her career! does anyone think she could sneak in/or be nominated?

  • sean

    I am sorry, but you cannot even compare Davis in THE HELP to the mastery Streep does in the THE IRON LADY. The technical level, emotional level, it is all far superior to Davis’s commendable work in THE HELP. Davis will not win the Oscar, if you can’t see that by now, you are too blind with the thrill of awarding a second black lead actress. Davis has to battle past Williams and Streep to win, and she will not. Maybe if she had a nude scene, she would get more points from the male voters, you KNOW it helped Berry win.

  • Shack2000

    Im a member of the SAG nominating committee (it’s a random luck-of-the-draw thing each year), and since Dragon Tattoo is the only major release of the year for which we weren’t provided a screener and there were almost no invited screenings in NY and LA I have to say it’s almost impossible for Rooney Mara to get a SAG nomination. I think very few of the 2000 nominations saw the film.

  • lola

    KIRSTEN DUNST in Melancholia and MELISSA McCARTHY in Bridesmaids!!

  • The Great Dane

    I am still crying over everyone, even BAFTA, ignoring Olivia Williams for The Ghost Writer last year… That was one of the best supporting performances in years!

    I would love for the Academy to embrace mo-cap, and I actually think Serkis finally has a shot!

    Even though I didn’t love the last Potter film, it would be nice of them to nominate it. Just because it IS The Dark Knight of the year. It has the best reviews AND the best box office of the year. It therefore should automatically be nominated.

    Here’s hoping that the rest of the awards mix it up – no more The Artist, please. Even though we KNOW it will win The Globe.

    I actually think Elle Fanning deserves a nomination for Super 8, even though the film disappointed me. Or would that just be a slap in the face to her sister? How can two young sisters be SO talented? (and don’t anyone mention the Olsen clan!!)

    I root for the Help girls. Hell, I would even like to see Cicely Tyson and Allison Janney nominated!

    I am almost happy to see DiCaprio getting overlooked. His eternal Oscar baiting is making me sick! Try a comedy for once, Leo, without accents, make up or costumes – or attitude! I am in the minority, but I think that he’s always AAAACTING in his films in stread of just “being”. He and Winslet (don’t kill me) for the most part have a serious case of un-subtlety in their (over)acting, even though she’s great in Contagion. I prefer her not playing on her emotions.

    While we’re at it: I think Gosling is overrated and I was SO turned off by him way back in Fracture that I still have a hard time watching him perform. My bad, I know. But WHY do people find him HOT? And can’t see anything attractive about him. He just looks like Haley Joel Osment all-grown-up to me. Really!

    Last: I have a feeling Spielberg fans and Woody Allen fans will be disappointed when Oscar nominations are announced. Yet if either War Horse, Extremely Loud or Dragon Tattoo take off like a meteor around Christmas, they could get in. Right now only Artist and Descendents seem 100% secure. Even Tree of Life, Hugo, Moneyball, The Help and Potter have something foring against them. But that’s the ten Best Picture candidates right there. About 3 of them will fall, I think, but which? Drive and Tinker are NOT gonna happen…


    SAG nominating committee needs to look at the ensemble behind Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Everything you wrote, Sasha, about Oldman (quite accurately and eloquently) can be extended to the ENTIRE cast, particularly unsung movie dark horse Mark Strong (who finally gets some depth to play with as opposed to his usual Hollywood-assigned thuggery – anyone who’s seen him onstage knows how versatile he truly is) and the remarkable cinema-storming Benedict Cumberbatch who’s subtlety and brilliance shouldn’t go overlooked. I realize the nominations in supporting actor are tight (less tight than most think, but full of obligatory names) but this should be a no-brainer in the Ensemble category.

    Also, speaking of subtle brilliance, Shea Wingham in Take Shelter is wonderful in what I think is the best film of the year.

  • I forgot ’til someone else mentioned it.

    Carey Mulligan in Shame.

    She should be nominated with Fassbender.

    The New York New York scene alone.

  • micahs

    I’m in agreement about dicaprios performance, he truly did a wonderful job as J Edgar. If he loses out on anymore critics awards and such, I fear he won’t make it to SAGs. Id really like to see Gosling in more awards but it won’t happen. And this years supporting actors aren’t up to snuff. Last years were a lot more exciting and in my opinion better, this year it seems to be slim pickens, but that’s just my opinion.

  • The Great Dane

    I forgot Midnight in Paris in my final sum-up. Best picture:

    The Artist
    The Descendants

    The Rest (only about five or which will
    make it, in random ordet):
    War Horse
    Tree of Life
    Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    Midnight in Paris
    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
    The Help
    Harry Potter 7B

    Not gonna happen:
    A Seperation
    Take Shelter
    Rise of the Planet of the Apes
    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
    Young Adult
    J. Edgar
    The Ides of March
    The Adventures of Tintin
    Super 8
    A Dangerous Method
    Martha Marcy May Marlene
    Margin Call
    My Week with Marilyn

  • Jake G.!

    Jodie Foster gives the best performance of the year un Carnage!

  • daveylow

    One performance I loved this year was David Thewlis’s work in The Lady. Thewlis breaks your heart in the later part of the movie.

    And though he’s dismissed right now, I thought Joseph Gordon-Levitt was memorable in 50/50. As was Anna Kendrick.

  • The Great Dane

    And I LOVE that there still isn’t a single frontrunner in any acting category. One could argue that Octavia Spencer is in the supporting lead along with Plummer-Brooks, but NOTHING seems certain. The lead categories could go in so many ways. I see 4 different actresses being able to win Best Actress (not conting Theron, Swinton, Dunst, Close, Olsen). And if aging pretty-boys Clooney and Pitt cancel each other out, WHO will take it? Dujardin? Fassbender? Even Oldman, DiCaprio, Harrelson or Shannon? I LOVE this unclear Oscar year with the acting categories. No one is cleaning up :)))

  • Patryk

    Great to see some appreciation for DiCaprio and Dench.

  • James

    Apparently this is a great year for Gosling, Pitt, Fassbender, and Chastian.

    Favorite performances so far-
    Ryan Gosling(Drive)
    Woody Harrelson(Rampart)
    Brad Pitt(Moneyball, Tree of Life)
    George Clooney(The Descendants)
    Michael Shannon(Take Shelter)
    Tilda Swinton(We Need To Talk About Kevin)
    Albert Brooks(Drive)
    Christopher Plummer(Beginners)

  • brandz

    Michael Lonsdale in Of Gods and Men. Not sure if this counts for this year (film has been listed on some Top Ten lists this year) or last year.

  • R

    The actors that take RISKS should be rewarded if it pays off. Why should george clooney even be in the mix? There is no risk in his role. That film would have succeeded no matter who was in it. Manwhile J. Edgar could have been an embarrassment in leonardos career. Always reward the risk takers before the safeties

  • Felicity Jones in Like Crazy – She nails every moment, and even without speaking, you always know where her character is and what she’s feeling.

    Tom Cullen and Chris New in Weekend – Chemistry so real and beautiful that it’s impossible not to fall in love with both of them. Romance hasn’t been this fresh and exciting in years, and it’s thanks to these two incredible actors.

    Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids – Melissa McCarthy steals the show and deserves all the attention she’s been receiving, but Wiig deserves credit too for creating such a real, flawed character who is still a comedic tour-de-force and extremely sympathetic.

  • marshall1

    Agree with nya,thought Rose Byrne and Olsen were both great!
    Also, impressed by Brad Pitt in moneyball and Deanie Yip in A Simple Life.

  • Andy Serkis as Caesar; Rise of the Planet of the Apes: to me, this terrific performance rivals his previous work as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The way he’s able to capture Caesar’s transformation from laboratory experiment to revolutionary ape leader is something to behold.

    Alan Rickman as Severus Snape; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II – Beneath his cold demeanor, lies a tormented soul who knows that soon the Devil will come to collect his payment, yet carries on for the memory of a long, lost love. A devastating performance.

    Cate Blanchette as Marissa Wiegler; Hanna: Matching Sasoise Ronan point-for-point is Blanchette as the stone-cold CIA officer, determined to clean up the red tape of a secret program. Wherever she goes, death is never far behind, and she plays it with a cool, menacing demeanor that reminds me of Tom Cruise in 2004’s Collateral.

    Elena Anaya as Vera Cruz; The Skin I Live In: Probably the most shocking and powerful performance of the year, next to Fassbender’s raw and phenomenal role as Brandon in Shame. Right from the beginning, we see Vera is uncomfortable, like every fiber of her being is in a prison. The full extent of this feeling is realized by movie’s end, and we’re stunned, shocked, and in awe at what twisted, kinky and horrific rabbit hole Almodovar has led us down this time.

  • Chris138

    God, I hope the SAG and Golden Globes nominate Gary Oldman. I’m rooting for him the most to get at least an Oscar nod this season. As you mentioned, he is beyond overdue.

  • Beth Stevens

    My FYCs would be:

    Jessica Chastain and Brad Pitt for The Tree of Life
    Brit Marling for Another Earth
    Juliette Binoche for Certified Copy
    Elizabeth Olsen for MMMM
    Ryan Gosling for Drive
    The ensemble cast of Hugo
    The ensemble cast of Margin Call

  • Joseph

    My Best (and 1 Worst for each category), based on what I’ve seen so far:

    Best Actors: Michael Shannon in Take Shelter; Michael Fassbender in Shame; Brad Pitt in Moneyball; Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love; Tom Cullen and Chris New in Weekend; Dominic Cooper in The Devil’s Double; Michael Parks in Red State.

    Worst Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar.

    Best Actress: Viola Davis in The Help; Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn; Catherine Deneuve in Potiche; Elizabeth Olsen in Martha Marcy May Marlene.

    Worst Actress: Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia.

    Best Supporting Actor: Corey Stoll in Midnight in Paris; John Goodman in Red State; Christopher Plummer in Beginners; Kenneth Branagh in My Week With Marilyn; Sacha Baron Cohen in Hugo.

    Worst Supporting Actor: Jude Law in Contagion.

    Best Supporting Actress: Carey Mulligan in Shame; Octavia Spencer in The Help; Jessica Chastain in Take Shelter; Sarah Paulson in Martha Marcy May Marlene; Shalaine Woodley in The Descendants; Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids; Mélanie Laurent in Beginners.

    Worst Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett in Hanna.

  • Casey


    Ellen Barkin & Burstyn : another happy day
    Kirsten Dunst & charlotte gainsbourg : melancholia

  • K J Bacon

    I hope Melissa McCarthy gets in.

  • Nikki

    FYC: Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt in YOUNG ADULT.

  • Wynter

    FYC: Anyone but Michelle “Dead in the Eyes” Williams

  • John Oliver

    I know they won’t think outside the box like the LA Film Critics did in awarding best actress, but darn, Jeong Hie-Yun for Poetry is memorable, just like Kim Hye-Ja was last year for Mother.

  • Aaron

    Agree 1000x with TILDA SWINTON. Her work in We Need to Talk About Kevin is the most astonishing piece of acting I’ve seen all year. No other character goes on such a horrific journey as Eva does throughout the film–there’s so much bubbling underneath her that you feel like she is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. From her tense body language and short fuse, Swinton makes you feel Eva’s embarrassment, guilt, confusion, and ultimately her desire to simply disappear from the nightmare she’s engulfed in. It’s a shocking, uncomfortable, but nevertheless astonishing performance.

    Also must give a shout-out to ALLISON JANNEY in The Help, who I feel is the unsung hero of the film (as she always is in every film, since she’s such an underrated actress). At first glance, Charlotte seems like the epitome of the spoiled, aloof Southern belle. She’s all facade and no depth–always thinking about her place in societal status and how her daughter’s unkempt ways reflects poorly on her and her desire for the perfect nuclear family. But Janney lets us see the dueling forces bubbling beneath Charlotte–the cultural attitude of the times significantly clashes with what she feels is right in her heart. And that last scene she shares with Emma Stone is just killer.

  • dfa

    Alan Rickman for Supporting and the cast of HP&DH2 for Ensemble.

    And the cast of Bridesmaids for Ensemble.

    And Brad Pitt for Tree of Life (supporting)

    And Fassbender and Mulligan. For Shame. If not, for shame! 😉

  • Bob

    I agree about DiCaprio being a perpetual Oscar baiter. Could the guy lighten up? It reeks of an underdeveloped intelligence/lack of formal education. You’re not a smarter or better actor because you only participate in political biodramas. Kristen Wiig’s performance in Bridesmaids was infinitely smarter than what he did in J Edgar or Shutter Island or Inception combined.

  • Alfredo


    The ladies of Bridesmaids for ensemble and Melissa McCarthy for Supporting Actress

    The Entire cast of The Help for SAG Ensemble

    Best Director – Steve McQueen, Best Actor – Michael Fassbender and Best Supporting Actress – Carey Mulligan for Shame

  • Adam

    I’m so happy and encouraged to see a nice, even representation for Shailene Woodley in the awards so far… She is so spectacular in The Descendants! SO deserving of a Best Supporting Actress nomination!

  • lilli

    Spacey & Irons, ensemble – Margin call
    Blanchett – Hanna
    Jones – Like cazy
    Serkis – Apes
    Viggo & Keira – a dang method
    Bean – Game of Thrones
    Skarsgaard – True blood

  • Casey


  • Alexandra

    The Muppets!!!!! 🙂

  • Alexandra

    But really,Leo,Serkis,Viggo, Fassbender and Rickman…in TV,the casts of Game of Thrones,American Horror Story and Modern Family…

  • FYC

    Ewan McGregor and Mélanie Laurent for Beginners.

    Jessica Chastain for The Help

    Charlize Theron for Young Adult

    Alan Rickman for HP

  • Mattoc

    To all members of the academy of motion picture, arts and sciences. Remember the bartender from Cheeers? Well he’s all grown up and delivers the powerhouse performance of the year in Rampart. Vote now or let history judge you as a dumbass. Also consider Charlotte Rampling in Melancholia – not as critical , and I understand it’s very competitive this year. But it is my second fav Perf of the year behind Woody.

  • Koleś

    Why the hell no one mentiones Bryce Dallas Howard for her great performance in “The Help”?

  • Osbourne Cox


    Tilda Swinton – We Need to Talk About Kevin

    Brad Pitt – Moneyball (best actor)
    Brad Pitt – Tree of Life (supporting)

    Jessica Chastain – Tree of Life

    Jonah Hill – Moneyball

    Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs

    Patton Oswalt – Young Adult

    Nick Nolte – Warrior

  • Mattoc

    I mean Charlotte Gainsbourg…although Rampling was pretty good too.

    Jesus, gotta pay for two ads now…

  • Mattoc

    Haven’t seen The Help Koles, but thanks for asking…but what the hell

    Dear AMPAS, remember how you cringed at the Village, and laughed your ass of in Lady in the Water. Well, you going to cream in your shorts when you see DBH in The Help.

  • Mattoc

    Unrelated – TGWTDT reviews are coming through now. No more embargo. I can finally talk about it.
    I’m really really really looking forward to it.

  • I want to add a shout out, too, for Antonio Banderas. Probably his best performance since “Law of Desire” and maybe, right now, along with Michael Parks (Red State) the best male leading performance of the year. Michel Piccoli (Habemus Papam) comes close third.

    None of them has a chance of Oscar recognition. That’s how dull Oscar season is. ’cause it’s not like the critics didn’t see this movies.

  • Mattoc

    Jesus, Michael Parks has as much chance of getting nominated as Gunner Hansen did for Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I appreciate you enjoy the film, but a turd by any other name is still a turd.

  • Anna Paquin in Margaret. I think it sounds ridiculous, I thought the same until I saw Margaret, which was he most exciting cinematic experience of the year.
    Forget about her dreadful work as Sookie, she is incredible in this film, far better than other actresses tipped for the Oscar. Maybe only Elizabeth Olsen gives a better performance this year (Streep’s is the only one I haven’t seen yet).
    I know it won’t happen but that’s my wish. It would be great if they gave a best ensemble SAG nod, for he whole cast is amazing.

  • Jonas Grondahl

    I haven’t seen the movie yet, but judged by reviews Charlize Theron gives one of the best performances of her career and of the best performances of the year.

    I haven’t, obviously, read all of the “Young Adult” reviews, but to me it seems that her performance is one of the best reviewed of the year, but still she is only a “dark horse” for a nomination.

    Is it because she plays such an unsympathetic character ?

    And speaking of “Young Adult.” It seems that Patton Oswalt is getting some momentum. Not for a win, that’s likely going to Chris Plummer, but for a nomination.

  • Mattoc: I am not saying Michael Parks has a chance of being nom’d. I’m saying he’s absolutely outstanding and would deserve to be in the running for the Oscar.

    And Banderas is astonishingly good in The Skin I Live In. But it’s not only a foreign film performance, but also one that comes from restraint… and I still insist – and I’m not alone in this one – what a golden chance the AMPAS is going to lose to nominate Michel Piccoli… or Charlotte Gainsbourg, for the matter.

  • MacTheMovieguy

    I just want to see Andy Serkis recognized finally for his superb motion capture work in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

  • Dominik

    Kirsten Dunst in “Melancholia”.
    She won´t receive a nomination because her role is not showy at all. In fact, it´s extremely challenging to personify a depressive character, because there´s not much going on in the face of such a person. In contrary, you have to void your expression and act minimalistic – a dream role for any actor? This is not. Too tough, not Oscar friendly. This is no “Angelina Jolie lunatic in Girl Interrupted”-stuff, this one goes much deeper and is by far more painful.
    No chance in hell, but the best performance of the year so far.

  • Jasper

    I’m going to throw a shout-out to Emily Browning in Sleeping Beauty, because no one else will.

  • Talie

    “Mothers in film can be only one thing: good, nurturing, giving, kind, supportive. Why? because mothers, thanks to Freud, as the reason given for why most of us are either healthy (good mom) or fucked up (bad mom). ”

    This is why I love Mad Men for their portrayal of Betty Draper, and I doubly love seeing all the reviewers and viewers get pissed about seeing a “bad mother” on TV. Some of them really can’t understand how this character is realistic. Really? There needs to be more complex versions of motherhood out there.

  • Pat

    My favourite performance of the year would be Rachael Harris in Natural Selection, followed by Kristin Wigg in Bridesmaids.

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