We're getting down to the wire now and doesn't it seem more confusing now that it did a month ago? So strange. The pink elephant in the room might be that the precursors were so entirely uniform that it should be easy to predict. Yet, could it really be so simple as these 11 films showing up everywhere as they have for months
- 127 Hours
- Black Swan
- The Fighter
- The Kids Are All Right
- The King's Speech
- The Social Network
- The Town
- Toy Story 3
- True Grit
- Winter's Bone
Does this mean we're due for surprises on Tuesday or is it just a year where everyone agrees? Last year, for example, when the prospects of Nine, The Lovely Bones and Invictus suddenly crashed in January wasn't it just a case of people not liking the movies despite their general precursor strength. Is there any film, for example amoung The Big 11 this year that people dislike? The answer is an exclamatory "NO!". Oh sure, nearly all of those films have detractors (as every film has throughout history) but there isn't a film in that group that has people in large numbers going "zzzzz" or "what a piece of shit" or "whatever. NEXT!" like we had last year when District 9 and The Blind Side muscled there way in instead.
This general strength is probably bad news for any film that would in other years maybe rally for a surprise nomination. But the way I see it there are six more films hanging around that might show up (at this point unexpectedly) in major places IF it's a surprising morning.
- The Ghost Writer (I'm guessing two surprise nods: score & screenplay. But I really don't think Picture/Director is entirely improbable.)
- Shutter Island (I'm guessing two: sound mixing and art direction but a few more seem possible)
- Another Year (I'm guessing a shutout. Quote Ruth Sheen as Gerry in the film: "Life's not always kind is it?" Yet it could have as many as 3 nominations if Life is Sweet instead.
- Eyesore in Wonderland (I'm guessing the obvious ones like art direction, costumes, makeup, f/x which is 4 too many already and hoping there's not more. But it stands a very good chance of being the non-best picture nominee with the highest total. Life's not always kind, is it?)
- The Way Back (I suspect a shut out but it's a big handsome period epic and you never know...)
- Blue Valentine (i'm guessing 2 nominations. But what if it's 4? both actors & best picture.)
YOU CAN SEE THE BIG CHART HERE with links to each category
But for now just a few big question marks. I'd love your take on these things.
The general perception is that Winter's Bone, The Town or 127 Hours will be the snubee of the 11 constants. I really think Winter's Bone is safe though I couldn't exactly say why i have such certainty. I still worry a bit about The Kids Are All Right as a surprise snub (I blame the BFCA for the worry) but it's probably just jitters since I love the film. Since there are so many "auteur" films expected to place I'm guessing The Town edges out 127 Hours, since there's less competition for those mainstream votes. That isn't a knock on The Town just a reflection that it's not really in the list because it's daring or edgy or acclaimed. It's hung on because it's a solid general audience entertainment that is also critically respected.
The big question mark here is whether it'll be The Coen Bros or David O. Russell in the final shortlist. I'm guessing that Russell hangs on. That's partially because I think The Fighter generates such love from its fans and partially because I think there's bound to be another fluke year where the Globes, DGA and Oscar all line up (hasn't happened since 1977.) BUT if you ask me what I really want to predict it's Roman Polanski. The only thing preventing me from that "no guts no glory" leap is that I have more trouble imagining The Ghost Writer placing in Best Picture than I do Polanski shaking up best director. With 10 Picture nominees it's harder to imagine the director's branch going way out on a limb like they use to.
Best Actor and Supporting Actor
I've made a switch in Lead Actor. I've got to take a risk somewhere and I'm now predicting Javier Bardem will edge out Robert Duvall for the 5th spot. People who see that movie just don't shut up about his work and he's a well regarded actor who is maybe in some ways, the new Anthony Quinn (Spanish speaking masculine heartthrob that Oscar just can't get enough of). Or maybe that's just because they look vaguely similar to me. But then again, Bardem missed for The Sea Inside so...). I'd love to see Ryan Gosling in the mix, as he's on my ballot, but I really doubt it will happen. And I fear that if he manages to squeak it would mean a surprise snub for Jesse Eisenberg who, regardless of the buzz and media attention, is quite young and who is playing a largely unlikeable character.
Best Actress and Supporting Actress
The huge dilemma here is Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit. Whichever category she shows up in ... [I still firmly believe it'll be supporting because the only previous examples of "promotion" are when the actor in question is already famous or has no co-leads in their film and voters feel silly about claiming that the actress is supporting a Whale or some such]... she WILL pull votes in both categories. Which means less votes for other people which means all sorts of surprise pockets of love and vacuums of votes could factor in. Same goes to a much lesser extent with Lesley Manville. The happiest outcome Hailee-wise would be a snub in both categories. Because, whoever she kicks out in either category, including Manville is her superior. (I'm not trying to be mean. She's just not the equal of her competitors. Not yet at least. She'll have other chances as one assumes she'll be in Chloe Moretz style demand now.) If she places in lead I see it costing Nicole Kidman the nomination since Rabbit Hole barely got a second glance from anyone... not even for its excellent screenplay which should've been kind of an easy get I think.
That said, I wouldn't be too surprised if I'm majorly wrong on Best Supporting Actress. I've reinstated Jacki Weaver because fans of her work are so passionate (#1 votes) and because I think Barbara Hershey (who I think is more of a threat than people realize and BAFTA gave me faith that I wasn't entirely wrong) will be pulling more votes from Mila Kunis than from Weaver) though I fear she's the new Peter Sarsgaard Shattered Glass (i.e. the critical darling that shows up everywhere until the Oscar). The huge difference is that Weaver is in an excellent film. But the strange thing there is that it just hasn't won traction elsewhere. So like Nicole Kidman, the relative lack of interest in her film, which ought to have been a bigger deal, could spell doom. I'M SO NERVOUS.
SEE ALL THE PREDIX HERE and we'll see how it goes on Tuesday morning.