SNEAK PEEK: A knockout contender for oscar season

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Courtesy of Paramount

By Maggie Pehanick, Entertainment Editor

An inspirational sports film speckled with familial humor and intense drama, “The Fighter” walks the line of a few genres. One thing is clear: It is incredibly unique. Its gripping performances and cinematic styling are already earning rave reviews — and the film hasn’t even opened yet. As the year comes to a close and awards season heats up, The Daily Aztec would like to humbly speculate as to the likelihood of “The Fighter” cast and crew winning some top ranks this year.

Best Director: David O. Russell

By no means is “The Fighter” Russell’s first awards contender. The veteran director is responsible for 1999’s “Three Kings” and “Spanking the Monkey” (1994), a film which, despite its brow-raising title, earned more than one honor at the 1995 Independent Spirit Awards. Despite Russell’s commendable previous ventures, “The Fighter” has enough heart (and heart-tugging content) to merit him an Oscar nomination. Unfortunately, Best Director is a historically tricky award to attain, second only to Best Picture, and given the bevy of wonderful films this year, chances are slim that Russell will take home the statuette.

Likelihood of winning: 2/5

Best Actor in a Leading Role:

Mark Wahlberg

Wahlberg, who plays boxing underdog Mickey Ward, is undeniably one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Yet despite his title, he is rarely found in roles that stretch his abilities as an actor. While doing press for “The Fighter,” the oft-pigeonholed performer even joked that one of the only reasons he took his role as a science teacher in “The Happening” (2008) was because he wouldn’t be playing a cop or a crook. “The Fighter” gave Wahlberg a chance to sharpen his acting chops a bit more than, say, “Max Payne” (2008), but who knows if it will be enough for the Academy to take note.

Likelihood of winning: 1/5

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Christian Bale

The insanely talented actor has been in the business for more than 20 years. He gains muscle to play an “American Psycho” (2000), loses all of it (plus some) to be “The Machinist” (2004), gains it back (plus some) to be “The Dark Knight,” (2008) and now loses it all again to play Mickey’s brother, drug addict Dicky Eklund in “The Fighter,” only to have to gain it all back yet again for 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises.” Give the guy an Oscar already. His body isn’t going to last much longer.

Likelihood of winning: 4/5

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Amy Adams

Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore. Known for her sweet and somewhat docile disposition in films such as “Julie & Julia” (2009), Adams’ career has skyrocketed since she appeared in “Enchanted” in 2007. Fortunately for audiences, the performer is obviously not content with resting on her laurels. In “The Fighter,” Adams plays Mickey’s girlfriend, Charlene, a fiercely protective chick with a sharp tongue and wicked attitude (it’s less cliché than it sounds, really). While she may not take home the trophy, her performance should, at the very least, garner a nomination.

Likelihood of winning: 2/5

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