awards watch / film / oscars

Oscars: State of the Race in a Post Globes World

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Murray, McDormand, Norton and Willis in Moonrise Kingdom

I’ve been following awards season solidly since 2005 (the year that Crash won and I cried into my pillow for twenty minutes, I kid you not) and I’ve often wondered why I even bother. Most of my favorite movies from the past few years have never even had a hope of being in contention for major awards. And yet, I soldier on.

I think I just like knowing more than your average film-interested person about the state of things. And I love to list. I have to say though that my heart is really in it this year. Last year I didn’t even bother to try and see all of the nominees in the top 8 categories–including The Artist–and I don’t think I even printed out a prediction ballot! I just didn’t fucking care about 2011.

2012, now, is a different matter. The best movies of the year are actually the Oscar movies of the year, go figure. And we really don’t know anything for sure, how weird! Which brings me to…the state of the race.

BEST PICTURE:

There’s a movie in the BP race for just about everyone. And the top 5 seems to be shaping up nicely into Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, Les Miserables, Argo and Silver Linings Playbook. Having seen three out of the five and immeasurably excited for the other two, I’m already more pleased with the shape of things this season than…well, maybe ever.

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Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained

Making a last minute rally is Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, seemingly perfect for SAG recognition but left out. Word is they didn’t get the screeners out in time, so it didn’t really suffer a snub. The Globes went all up on Django’s D though, as I predicted they would. The HFPA just love themselves some star power + Tarantino + excitement. But word on the Twittersphere is loud, excited and zealous for a film that was assumed to be “Tarantino’s non-Oscar fare” just a month or so ago. I think it’s chances are looking swell.

Barring the top six (or 7, as much as I’ve tried to ignore Life of Pi), it’s anybody’s guess. There can be anywhere from five to ten nominees based on a percentage of top ballot slots, meaning that after the front-runners, the ones that make the cut have to be loved. Right now I’m doubting there will be 9 or 10, and indie favorites Moonrise Kingdom and Beasts of the Southern Wild will be duking it out.

Falling off considerably is The Master, failing to snag a BP nom at the Globes and only receiving one acting nod by SAG. And I don’t think Amour is going to make the cut. It needed precursor love and it’ll be staying in Foreign Language.

ACTOR:

One of the only races that is pretty much set this season, with only six leading men fighting for the five slots. Day-Lewis, Jackman, Cooper and Washington are looking comfortable, while John Hawkes and Joaquin Phoenix fight for fifth. Note: I feel compelled on behalf of Joaquin Phoenix to clarify he will not be fighting for that fifth slot though. He’s a thesp and hates these plebeian awards shows. (God, I love him). But by now we all know Joaquin won’t actually be showing up for campaigning, a nomination would have to stand on the performance alone. And I mean if any performance alone is worthy…it’s Phoenix’s

ACTRESS:

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Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild

Wow, this category is messy! I’m never this excited for Best Actress. The two J’s – Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence – are locked, and it looks like Marion Cotillard and Naomi Watts are sure bets as well, having secured nominations from all three big precursors (BFCA, SAG, Globes).

But here’s the catch. The little 9 year-old actress Quvenzhane Wallis from Beasts of the Southern Wild was ineligible for SAG and her performance is fiercely loved by many, especially actors. On the opposite spectrum, same goes for 85 year-old Emannuelle Riva from Amour, though she, of course, was eligible for that ever important SAG nomination. I’m wary to believe Helen Mirren will secure a nomination for a film almost no one has liked and am inclined to say that the big name bug bit the SAG and Globe nominations committees. And frankly, the same could be said for Marion’s nod as well.

So despite recognition from large and prominent voting bodies, this race is nowhere near locked in. There are five women circling around three slots and it’ll be anybody’s guess now. Will one or both of the dark horse’s make it in? And if so, who will get the boot? Helen? Marion? Even Naomi?

Sheesh. My head is spinning. Moving on.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Phew, a slightly easier category to pick apart. Good old Tommy Lee Jones, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Alan Arkin have tied up three slots. Sadly, Matthew McConaughey is falling out of favor, and while I love his body of work this year, I loathed Magic Mike so I’m a little ambivalent about this fact. De Niro was snubbed by the Globes in favor of their Django fanboying, but I still think he’s a sure bet.

That leaves one spot. Javier Bardem, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, and even our dear McConaughey could end up there at the end of the day. Or should I say in three days? Pssst…Academy ballots are being sent out in three days!

SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

So Anne Hathaway is winning this Oscar, let’s just get that out of the way. Forgive my bluntness, it’s partly because it’s basically the only sure thing of this entire season and partly because I’m slowly dying every day that I don’t see Les Mis.

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Kidman in The Paperboy

Sally Field and Helen Hunt have been sure bets for a long while now. But some of the biggest surprises of the week occurred right in this category. Amy Adams’ slot is suddenly in danger and–my personal favorite thing to happen this month–Nicole Kidman is now officially in the running for playing one white trash, obscene and over the top Charlotte Bless in The Paperboy!

She managed to snag an out-of-nowhere-but-kind-of-there nomination from both SAG and the HFPA and is now definitively in the running towards Oscar. Can you tell I’m rooting for her? I’m rooting for her. This needs to happen.

Aaaaand that’s all folks.

I’m holding off on Director and Screenplays until their Guilds announce and I think we’ll have a clearer picture, but my most recent predictions are in the Awards page up top if you care to read and agree/disagree.

I also have an eyesore of a tally of all of the precursor’s doled out thus far and have ranked each recipient based on how many they’ve racked up. It’s not statistical math by any means (I am no Nate Silver) but it gives me a good perspective of who’s locked and who’s in the running.

And really, that’s all she wrote about the state of things before Academy balloting begins. The Oscars ramped up their deadlines this year and like I said, ballots are being mailed in three-freaking-days, making what happens after that kind of null and void in terms of its influence on nominations.

Kind of a weird vibe.

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