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Who's going to be this year's surprise Oscar nominee?

the-town-postelthwaite

the-town-postelthwaiteWhen the Oscar nominations are announced on Tuesday morning, who will be this year’s Maggie Gyllenhaal? Last year, the Crazy Heart actress wasn’t nominated for a Golden Globe. She wasn’t nominated for a Screen Actors Guild acting award either. But on the morning of Feb. 2, 2010, she learned that the Academy had recognized her performance with one of its five Best Supporting Actress slots. There’s typically a lot of overlap between the three award-giving entities, but Gyllenhaal’s nomination wasn’t unprecedented. Michael Shannon was ignored by the Globes and the SAGs for his work in Revolutionary Road in 2009 only to be richly rewarded by Oscar. Two years ago, Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah) and Laura Linney (The Savages) pulled off the surprise Oscar nod.

So if recent history holds, there’s more than a good chance that an actor or actress we weren’t necessarily expecting will crash the Oscar party.

And what a delight it will be, as the advanced calculus of divining the Oscar nominations has eliminated some of the suspense in recent years. I’ll save you the trouble of checking who was already nominated by whom by listing Dave Karger’s top-ranked candidates who WEREN’T recognized by either the Globes or the Screen Actors Guild: Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Aaron Eckhart (Rabbit Hole), Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception or Shutter Island), Lesley Manville (Another Year), Noomi Rapace (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Sam Rockwell (Conviction), Matt Damon (True Grit), Pete Postlethwaite (The Town), Barbara Hershey (Black Swan), and Dianne Wiest (Rabbit Hole).

Odds are, one of them will get the call. I’m crossing my fingers for the late great Postlethwaite, and I also have a soft spot for DiCaprio’s performance in Shutter Island – for my money, one of the five best of the year. What actor or actress’ name would make you cheer to hear on Tuesday morning? And which of these longshots do you think is the most likely? Sound off below.

Read more:
Golden Globes: How did they affect the Oscar race?
More Oscars on EW

Originally posted January 21 2011 — 4:25 PM EST

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