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'Dark Knight Rises' Oscar Buzz: Which Cast Member Could Earn An Academy Award Nomination?

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"Dark Knight Rises" Oscar buzz: Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine could earn nominations.

Now that all the nits have been picked in "The Dark Knight Rises," it's time to focus on things more important than Bruce Wayne's travel itinerary. Namely: Which highly talented member of this all-star cast could earn an Oscar nomination in one of the supporting categories at the 85th annual Academy Awards.

Before you scoff, there's obviously some precedent here: Heath Ledger was posthumously nominated for -- and later won -- Best Supporting Actor for his work as The Joker in "The Dark Knight." During a recent screening for Academy members, the response was reported as mixed, though many voters were apparently pleased with the film. There's certainly a chance "The Dark Knight Rises" could nab an acting nomination -- especially since its cast is overloaded with well-respected thespians.

So! How does the cast rank? Excluding lead star Christian Bale, who has the best shot at earning one of the 10 supporting nominations? Join HuffPost Entertainment in figuring out the odds below.

9. Matthew Modine
At first, Matthew Modine's character, Captain Foley, is a mustache twirl away from flat-out bureaucratic villainy. Then, later, he's a hero who we're supposed to rally behind? Sure thing, Christopher Nolan!
Odds of a nomination: 500-to-1.

8. Tom Hardy
As the villainous blunt-force instrument Bane, Tom Hardy has the disadvantage of having to act not just behind a mask that makes his voice somewhat unintelligible, but also an accent that makes his voice somewhat unintelligible. (He sounds like Jim Carrey's Jimmy Stewart impression mixed with Darth Vader.) That's too bad, since Hardy actually gives a layered and tragic performance, especially when he isn't punching someone and/or giving a perverted stump speech about personal freedoms and stuff.
Odds of a nomination: 300-to-1.

7. Marion Cotillard
Previously an Oscar winner for "La vie en Rose," Marion Cotillard isn't given much to do in "The Dark Knight Rises" until the third act. She's good when things pick up, but it's too little too late. Not that Cotillard should shed any tears -- she's got a great chance at a Best Actress nod for the Cannes Film Festival favorite "Rust and Bone."
Odds of a nomination: 175-to-1.

6. Morgan Freeman
In "The Dark Knight Rises," Morgan Freeman does what Morgan Freeman does best: Lend a sense of class and dignity to the proceedings. Those are traits that Oscar voters seem to love, but does Freeman have even one showcase scene?
Odds of a nomination: 150-to-1.

5. Tom Conti
Surprise! Veteran character actor Tom Conti plays "Prisoner" in "The Dark Knight Rises," one of two men tasked with keeping Bruce Wayne alive after Bane dumps his broken body in the prison of hopelessness at the beginning of the second act. Conti -- affecting a Michael Caine-y speech patter -- is Bruce's bizarro-world Alfred, a father figure who nurses him back to health but doesn't provide any sort of support or encouragement. The Scottish actor is obviously a complete long shot for an Oscar nomination, but he was nominated once before (for "Reuben, Reuben"); why couldn't it happen again?
Odds of a nomination: 70-to-1.

4. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Gordon-Levitt pretty much owns "The Dark Knight Rises," as his character, John Blake, is given a full-fledged arc over the course of its 165-minute runtime. He's heroic! He's tormented! He's a "hot head," as Modine's police captain constantly reminds the characters and audience. Yet it's hard to imagine him getting an Oscar nomination for the role; he's still a relative newbie on the awards circuit and he's doesn't give as explosive of a performance as Ledger did. (The comparison is apt, if only because Ledger was the last Generation X/Y actor to star in a Batman movie.) That said, if Warner Bros. wants to make a 165-minute movie about John Blake, they by all means should.
Odds of a nomination: 45-to-1.

3. Gary Oldman
If only Gary Oldman was a bit older, then he'd be the elder statesman of the "Dark Knight" trilogy and in prime position to earn a nomination. Alas, that spot goes to Michael Caine (foreshadowing!), leaving Oldman resigned to a fate similar to Commissioner Gordon: He's always there when you need him, he's always excellent, he's always under-appreciated. The fact that Oldman was nominated in the Best Actor category for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" at the 84th annual Academy Awards (his first nomination ever) doesn't help matters either. There won't be a groundswell of snub-breaking support for people to rally around.
Odds of a nomination: 25-to-1.

2. Anne Hathaway
If it's possible, Anne Hathaway hasn't gotten enough credit for her performance as Selina Kyle. Hathaway brings enough sexuality and humanity to make Kyle actually work as a complete and believable person. She even manages to sell the paper-thin relationship between her character and Bruce Wayne, winning the audience's investment in the pair's happiness. Hathaway is the breakout star of "The Dark Knight Rises" and will probably only get held back from an Oscar nomination for her performance because of herself: The actress, a previous nominee, stars as Fantine in "Les Miserables," which is sure to be an Academy favorite. Will voters actually want to honor her for playing Catwoman when a classic tragic figure like Fantine is also on the ballot?
Odds of a nomination: 13-to-1.

1. Michael Caine
Truthfully, Michael Caine should get a Best Supporting Actor nomination for the way he says "Fernet Branca." Assuming that Oscar voters don't give out plaudits based on single line readings, however, there's the fact that Caine is phenomenal in "The Dark Knight Rises." Though he's most noticeable for the times he's not onscreen (Bruce answering his own door!), he's the beating heart of the film, the conscience that Bruce Wayne needs and the audience flat-out requires. More important, Caine is given a trio of show-stopping monologues, all of which highlight his range better than the previous Batman films combined. In fact, his biggest problem is that Alfred disappears for what feels like 90 minutes during the film. Then again, Dame Judi Dench won her Best Supporting Actress trophy for only eight minutes of screen time in "Shakespeare in Love." Perhaps Caine gets an acting nomination to represent the entire cast of what is one of the most successful and cohesively-staffed franchises in Hollywood history.
Odds of a nomination: 10-to-1.

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