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The time for deliberation is almost over. The voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have begun mailing out the nomination ballots for the 84th Academy Awards, scheduled to take place on Sunday February 26 and to be hosted by Billy Crystal.
The ballots themselves, which are to be completed by the 5,783 voting members of the Academy, must be returned by January 13 and will be announced on January 24, at which point firm-favourites and critics-choices will learn if their hopes of award-season glory have been warranted or wasted.
Some of those favorites include Meryl Streep and George Clooney, whose roles in “The Iron Lady” and “The Descendants”, respectively, have already garnered them nominations from the Hollywood Foreign Press and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).
Other actors expected to receive Academy Award nominations based on prior accolades this season include: Michelle Williams for “My Week With Marilyn”, Ryan Gosling for “The Ides of March” – for which, incidentally, Clooney has received a Golden Globe nomination in the directing field -, Leonardo DiCaprio for the biopic “J. Edgar”, and Viola Davis for Dreamworks’ adaptation of “The Help”.
Statistically, the Golden Globes and SAGs have been shown to be the primary indicators of who will achieve success at the Academy Awards. For example, the 2010-11 awards season saw David Fincher’s “The Social Network” compete against Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech” in many of the major categories, with Fincher’s film triumphing at the Golden Globes, Hooper’s film triumphing at the SAGs, and each film ultimately walking away with a handful of Academy Awards.
This ceremony is in fact the last in Hollywood’s award season, so if this year’s voting replicates last year’s, it may go down to the wire as to who will indeed succeed in the Academy’s Best Picture and Acting categories. Therefore, while there may be little in the way of surprises awaiting the Hollywood press on January 24 when the nominations are announced, there will be no doubt added anticipation over whether the voters will sway away from favoring the abundance of high-profile biopics making waves this season.
These are namely: “The Iron Lady”, a study of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; “My Week With Marilyn”, a week in the life of Marilyn Monroe; and “J. Edgar”, a study into the FBI director’s personal life and debated sexuality. Each film has already received multiple nominations from other major award bodies, but this may be a case where there are too many releases from the same genre which ultimately cancel each other out.
Aside from their acting nominations at the Golden Globes, none of the films managed to make the final cut into the Hollywood Foreign Press’ Best Motion Picture selection, so there may still be some spots up for grabs in the final Academy Award shortlist.
Whatever happens, it won’t be long until the public finds out.