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Posted at 7:02 PM ET, 01/24/2011

Oscars 2011: Predicting the best director and best picture nominees

By Jen Chaney

Is there any chance "The Social Network" will get left out of the best picture race? In short, no. (Sony)

My Oscar predictions for the supporting actor/actress and lead actor/actress categories have already been covered.

Now let's cover the biggies. Here are the five filmmakers and 10 films that I think are most likely to be named in the best director and best picture categories when the Academy Award nominations are announced Tuesday morning, at 8:38 a.m. EST. Rank them yourself via the polls that appear following my picks.

(Note: I'll be live-tweeting the Academy Award nomination announcements tomorrow morning at, and right here in this blog.)

Related content:

Predicting the supporting actor/actress nominees

Predicting the lead actor/actress nominees

Oscar pre-show extended

Best director

I am not expecting many tricks or surprises in this category. Consequently, I predict the five nominated filmmakers will synch up precisely with the Directors Guild of America and Golden Globe contenders.

Thus, your nominees will be:

I am not expecting many tricks or surprises in this category. Consequently, I predict the five nominated filmmakers will synch up with the Directors Guild of America and Golden Globe director races. Meaning:

Darren Aronofsky, "Black Swan"
David Fincher, "The Social Network"
Tom Hooper, "The King's Speech"
Christopher Nolan, "Inception"
David O. Russell, "The Fighter"

In this scenario, which key contenders get left out?

The Coen brothers ("True Grit"), Danny Boyle ("127 Hours").

Best picture

Your nominees will be:

Last year the field of contenders was expanded from five to 10. Six films stand out as definites here:

"The Social Network"
"The King's Speech"
"Black Swan"
"The Fighter"
"True Grit"

Two slightly less definite, but most likely nominees:

"Toy Story 3"
"The Kids Are All Right"

The final two spots could shake out a number of ways, but here's what I'm thinking:

"127 Hours" -- Even though the buzz around it has been dominated by Franco's performance, voters should recognize the level of craft and narrative skill involved in turning the story of a trapped hiker into something kinetic and absorbing.

"Winter's Bone" -- This is the iffiest of the lot, but I am betting that there will be enough indie-movie supporters to win the votes this Ozark-Mountain odyssey needs to sneak into the final 10.

In this scenario, which key contenders get left out?

"The Town," "Blue Valentine," "Get Low," "The Ghost Writer."

Now it's your turn to call these two categories.

By Jen Chaney  | January 24, 2011; 7:02 PM ET
Categories:  Awards Season, Movies  
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Next: Oscar nominations 2011: Tweeting the announcements


Excuse me, but does anyone remember that "Shutter Island" was released in 2010? Shouldn't that movie pick up at least a couple of nominations? As far as I am concerned, Leonardo di Caprio gave the performance of a life time in that, regardless of whatever anyone thought of the film as a whole. The cinematography, lighting, and (unsurprisingly) the direction were all masterful. I can't believe it, frankly. The film was completely snubbed by the useless Golden Globes and now this. Who cares about Jesse Eisenberg and his endless portrayals of "cute" and sensitive teen males? The entire awards have become a worthless "feelgood" exercise in which any cinema that makes people feel uncomfortable is ignored, perhaps out of cowardice. The hell with this nonsense.

Posted by: johnnyblaze1 | January 25, 2011 2:25 AM | Report abuse

Its between Aronofsky and Hooper......Social Network will not be the best picture here...

Posted by: JUNGLEJIM123 | January 25, 2011 6:45 AM | Report abuse

I usually tune in for the big awards, so I'm being a bit hypocritical here, but I've never understood having a competition for movies. Best actor, best actress, best director, best picture, best cinematographer, etc. C'mon, this is art, not college football. The winner gets up on stage and thanks everyone from her first dentist forward while the losers sit there pretending to be happy for her. Ridiculous.

Posted by: randysbailin | January 25, 2011 7:40 AM | Report abuse

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