Best Female Actor (Supporting Role)
Amy Adams (The Fighter), Helena Bonham-Carter (The King's Speech), Mila Kunis (Black Swan), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
This is essentially the same as the Globe nominees with Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) included at the expense of Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom). The winner of this and/or the Globe will be the likely Oscar successor. I'm sticking with Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech), but Melissa Leo (The Fighter) is gaining support.
Best Male Actor (Supporting Role)
Christian Bale (The Fighter), John Hawkes (Winter's Bone), Jeremy Renner (The Town), Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right), Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech)
I love the inclusion of John Hawkes for his excellent work in Winter's Bone, and finally Mark Ruffalo for The Kids are All Right. Sadly Andrew Garfield was excluded this time for The Social Network. This is a really strong category. I'm still not set on the inclusion of Jeremy Renner (who was certainly the highlight performance from The Town), and I think Garfield will warrant his exclusion come Oscar day. My pick so far is Ruffalo, but Bale is making headlines for his performance in The Fighter, and Rush remains the favorite.
Best Female Actor (Leading Role)
Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Hillary Swank (Conviction)
I would love to see Michelle Williams back in this category come Oscar day, and Tilda Swinton for I Am Love too. Bening, Lawrence and Portman all have their spots locked in. I know nothing about Rabbit Hole and Nicole Kidman, but her and Hilary Swank have had their go. Jennifer Lawrence is outstanding in Winter's Bone and Annette Bening is sensational in The Kids Are All Right. But this is Natalie Portman's year. Would Sandra Bullock even have been nominated this year if The Blind Side was released? She wouldn't have beaten Bening or Lawrence at the least.
Best Male Actor (Leading Role)
Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Robert Duvall (Get Low), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Colin Firth (The King's Speech), James Franco (127 Hours)
Duvall and Bridges take the places of Ryan Gosling and the surprise pick Mark Wahlberg from the Globes. I don't know much about Get Low but Duvall's performance is being widely praised. I doubt the Academy will honor Bridges twice in two years, especially seeing he is up against Colin Firth again. Firth is the likely winner here for The King's Speech, having missed out for his performance in A Single Man last year. Eisenberg is superb in The Social Network, and Franco has been in the race all along for 127 Hours. An intriguing category.
Best Ensemble (Cast)
Black Swan, The Fighter, The Kids are All Right, The King's Speech, The Social Network
There is an argument for each of these films to take out this award. The two leading ladies of Black Swan received nominations. The Fighter received three acting nominations (four at the Globes), The Kids Are All Right has a perfect ensemble, with the nominated Bening and Ruffalo joined by the excellent performances of Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson. The King's Speech is likely to clean up three of the acting awards, so my money is on it to win here. That leaves The Socail Network which is full of brilliant performances. Eisenberg and Garfield headline, but Justin Timberlake, Rooney Mara (outstanding), Armie Hammer and Brenda Song are great support.