Oscar nominations preview: Polley film almost certain to make the list

Sarah Polley, left, is sure to earn an Oscar nomination for her documentary 'Stories We Tell.'. Handout

TORONTO — The nominations for the 86th Academy Awards will be announced early Thursday (go to at 8:38 a.m. to watch live) by actor Chris Hemsworth and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

The list of nominees is expected to include at least one Canadian name — Sarah Polley.

The Toronto filmmaker’s Stories We Tell is sure to be nominated for Best Documentary Feature. It was a winner at the New York Film Critics Awards earlier this month and was feted last year by the Toronto Film Critics Association. It’s also up for a Directors Guild of America award.

Polley, 35, was previously nominated for an Oscar in the Adapted Screenplay category for her 2006 feature Away From Her.

Despite early Oscar buzz for Quebec director Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners, both he and the film’s stars are likely to be shut out. Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club will almost certainly earn noms for stars Matthew McConaughey (Best Actor) and Jared Leto (Best Supporting Actor) — and the film itself for Best Picture.

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Despite the acclaim for Gabrielle by Louise Archambault, Canada will likely not make the cut in the Best Foreign Language Film category this year.

The odds are good the list of nominees for Best Animated Short will include at least one of the following Canadian works: Requiem for Romance, Subconscious Password, The Missing Scarf, Gloria Victoria and Hollow Land.

So who can expect a happy wake-up call on Thursday? 12 Years a Slave and Gravity are almost certain to figure prominently when the nominations are announced — even competing head-to-head for the most. But there will also be good news for runners-up American Hustle and Captain Phillips.

The other half of the Best Picture list will consist of Her, Nebraska, Philomena, Saving Mr. Banks and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Best Director contenders will be Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), David O. Russell (American Hustle), Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Spike Jonze (Her).

In acting categories expect to hear the names of not only McConaughey and Leto but Barkhad Abdi, Bradley Cooper, Bruce Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Tom Hanks, Jonah Hill, Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong’o, Julia Roberts, June Squibb and Emma Thompson.

Frozen will not only earn a Best Animated Feature nod but will coast to victory.

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The technical categories — sound editing, sound effects, sound mixing, visual effects — will be dominated by Gravity and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Expect a Best Visual Effects nomination for the made-in-Toronto sci-fi flick Pacific Rim.

The Academy Awards, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, will be broadcast on March 2.

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