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Things to Ponder Before Making Finally Final Oscar Nom Predix

I'm trying to decide how much to alter some of my current predictions when I post my final predictions (Tuesday night).  Here are some things I'm pondering. Ponder with me in the comments. It's a Ponder Party!

The Academy ♥ Tarantino? OR...
The Internet ≠ The Academy
The Globes ≠ The Academy
Quentin Tarantino is indisputably a god of the internet. Were the internet a person it would be his insatiable whore, his dresser, his boyservant, his entire yes man entourage. But the Academy is not the internet. They never have been. (If they were Chris Nolan would have five directing nominations and not zero and The Social Network and Brokeback Mountain would have trounced The King's Speech and Crash). Consider: zero nominations for Kill Bill Vol. 1 (my choice for his best film and unarguably worthy in technical fields even if you don't much care for it as a whole). Zero nominations for Kill Bill Vol. 2. One measly nomination for Jackie Brown. "But they loved Pulp Fiction (7 nods, 1 win) and Inglorious Basterds (8 nods, 1 win)" - shouts everyone in the universe. They did, it's true. [more...]

But Pulp Fiction was inarguably seismic for cinema culture and Basterds was unexpectedly rich and new playing from a weird WW II angle (and WW II is quite possibly Oscar's single favorite thing)... what is Django Unchained bringing but for good timing, Basterds 2.0 (in some ways) and a surprisingly less-controversial-than-you'd-expect place to enjoy your bloodlust even in these nervous "is bloodlust okay?" times. Somehow Zero Dark Thirty has taken all the heat about how much inhumanity to man is okay for movies to indulge in even though Django is far more proud of its own bloodbath.

Many people point to the Golden Globes as evidence that Django is in for a major Oscar nom haul on Thursday but it's worth noting that the Globes are more Tarantino friendly than Oscar (and the Globes are very very Weinstein friendly in general). The HFPA liked Pulp & Basterds just as much as AMPAS but they also found ways to nominate both Kill Bills and Jackie Brown in major ways that Oscar didn't. I confess I have no idea what will happen with this movie. It could be anywhere from 2 to 10 nominations. Anywhere in there... but regardless I see it going home empty-handed on Oscar night. 

Will Voters Finally Have a Fling With Lothario James Bond?
I've talked about the Academy's utter disinterest in the James Bond franchise often -- the franchise hasn't won an Oscar in 47 years and hasn't been nominated for one in over 30. And yet it still surprises people to read that only three (three!!!) James Bond theme songs have been Oscar nominated. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) currently holds the Most Nominated title among Bond films with 3 nominations. But all that said, if there's a record that's broken this year with Oscar, wouldn't more love for Bond be among the possibilities given the team behind and in the film and the 50th anniversary hoopla? I guess it's worth considering that Oscar doesn't honor men until they have some years on them so maybe hitting the big "5 0" is just what 007 needed? Still... 30+ years without a nomination is telling. I'm still torn!

Les Misérables (OR... The Internet ≠ The Academy Pt. 2)
After a week of railing at the world about the shitty treatment and weirdly stalker-like hatred that the musical has engendered (if you hate it so much why are you taking every chance you have to be close to it with your virtual mouth? You're like Javert with a Valjean bone. Let it go, Asshole!) I've calmed down. I mean, I've been so good I haven't even mentioned that grenade-throwing David Denby piece in the New Yorker which... well, Jeremy Smith already said it...


Whether or not one hate or loves the film -- it's roughly 50/50 among people I know and roughly 90/10 according to the internet and roughly 10/90 from Cinema Score ;) -- guess who doesn't get to vote on the Oscars? The Internet! *ding ding ding* You are correct! At worst the hyperbolic Les Miz haters (who have decidedly outshouted the more tempered: 'sure the movie has flaws but I loved it!' fanbase) will shame a few voters away that might have been feeling more generous without the vitriol... but my guess is it also strengthens the resolve of some who love it into really barricading themselves in "Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me ♫

We won't know until the 10th whether Oscar has real passion for it. The keys will be how well it does in editing, directing and acting where it seems most vulnerable: Jackman is not truly locked (no one in Best Actor is beyond DDL given the super tight Best Actor field 5 men are still super strong for 4 slots) despite a passionate engaging performance. Less than 8 nominations would suggest that Team Javert has won and finally killed off saintly Jean Valjean '24601'. More than 10 would mean it's unkillable and still a threat to win the gold.

The most frustrating thing for me in advance (and mark my words that this will happen!) is that even if it shows a big nomination total of 8+ the haters will pounce on every miss as evidence that the Academy agrees with them that it sucks. Expect lots of schadenfreude gloating -- and you know where -- if it misses any of the following: Picture, Director, Actor, Editing, or even Song. The gloating will happen even if it misses only one of those!

Did the Precursors Kill Amour and Beasts... or Will Quality Prevail?
Back in the early fall I felt all super-star pundit when I was predicting a substantial nomination tally for Amour (Pic, Dir, Screenplay, Actress, Foreign Film) and a very small but potent nomination bookend set (Pic & Screenplay only) for Beasts of the Southern Wild. I figured Haneke's critical momentum (he's now basically a God among the taste-making set) would pay off but the precursors weren't all that kind to the picture, really, relegating it to its Foreign Ghetto for the most part. "Stay in your box!" Remember the days when Foreign Films could break in to the Best Picture lineup? They seem so inexplicably long gone. And since the critics groups didn't put their muscle behind Hushpuppy preferring the movie stars and A list Hollywood efforts from Lincoln to Argo, Beasts might now be shut out entirely on Nomination morning.

How many Best Picture Nominees will we have?
The way I see it there are 6 sure things: Lincoln, Argo, Les Miz, Silver Linings, Life of Pi, and Zero Dark Thirty and then things get tricky. Given the many variables from precursors to right-now discussions to general Academy taste in the past I'd say there are 7 more distinct possibilites, from wouldn't surprise me at all biggies to dark horse "wow, they pulled it off!" darlings: Amour, Django Unchained, The Master, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Skyfall

Current Academy rules allow a fluctuating number of nominees (5 to 10) for best picture and last year, the first year of the system, we got 9. Because of that everyone assumes we'll get 9 again. I'd like to go on record that I'm hoping for only 5 just to watch the internet's smug head explode since everyone is like 'these 9 or 10 films are locked!' 

Who on Earth is Going to Take the Fifth Slot in EVERY Acting category?
Well... we'll save this to the final prediction article because damn this year is crowded.

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Reader Comments (57)

The zero (0?!) noms for Kill Bill irks me to no end. I wonder if Kill Bill would've had a better chance at Oscar recognition if it had been one film instead of two? (Though never a film in AMPAS' wheelhouse, I do suspect permission to delay gratification coupled with a seemingly underwhelming follow-up certainly didn't help Kill Bill's chances.)

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

My two predictions.

1. Lots of nominees for Best Pic. I don't see one film garnering too much of the percentage, and think there are at least eight noms for most any year of the new rules.

2. To go with this, The Master is getting a Best Pic. I know there isn't a ton of history to go on, but it's the true critic's darling. Metacritic showed that no other film was #1 on more lists this year, evening beating Zero Dark Thirty. It won't have a ton of support, yet I'm positive there is the minimum 5% ala The Tree of Life.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianZ

Nice piece, I like it! And your mural at the top of the page really makes me realize how ridiculously undervalued QT's performers have been by the Academy.

With that said, most reasonable people are NOT thinking that "Django is in for a major Oscar nom haul on Thursday" for the very reasons that you point out. They think that QT career momentum, reviews, public love/box office, and film/performer buzz makes it a not horrible bet for (but by no means a lock for) best pic, director, and supporting actor noms. Personally, I think it will get best pic, think QT may squeak in for best director, and could see Waltz or Dicaprio going either way.

But you are completly right. The internet and the public does not equal the academy. For better and for worse.

I have not seen Lez Mis yet, but your attitude makes me chuckle. Note though, it is not just the internet that is giving it bad notices - my area has alot of freely distributed journal/magazine type things that all seem to universally hate it.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

I am rooting that Django Unchained gets a Best Picture nomination on Thursday. I found it to be stimulating and fresh at the same time, an intense bloody roller-coaster from start to finish. Yes it's a bit controversial in it's racial tones, but I feel Tarantino was just going for shock value and also to enrage the audience enough to stay with Foxx's character once he (SPOILER----) finally gets the revenge.

I am hoping both Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz make it in for Supporting Actor, though right now the consensus is only Waltz will prevail. Tarantino will miss out on Best Director, but I still say he gets an Original Screenplay nod.

Will it win any? Hard to say. Tommy Lee Jones is looking good to win his second Oscar (and a deserved one this time), but if DiCaprio can win the Globe perhaps the tides will switch. But I am thinking the academy won't honor the pretty boy until he's up for a lead trophy again.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason Travis

I'm betting that we'll have 8 Best Picture nominees: the 6 locks, plus The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Django Unchained. However, I think Django is going to top out early, with Picture, Screenplay and Supporting Actor nominations and that's it.

Can I just take a second to say how just plain weird the strength of Life of Pi has been? I don't hear anyone talking about the film. At all. It's just there, nominated for every precursor, but unlike every other lock, it has no win heat behind it, nor has it ever. I just find it's recurrent presence bizarre.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

I am rooting that Django Unchained gets a Best Picture nomination on Thursday. I found it to be stimulating and fresh at the same time, an intense bloody roller-coaster from start to finish. Yes it's a bit controversial in it's racial tones, but I feel Tarantino was just going for shock value and also to enrage the audience enough to stay with Foxx's character once he (SPOILER----) finally gets the revenge.

I am hoping both Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz make it in for Supporting Actor, though right now the consensus is only Waltz will prevail. Tarantino will miss out on Best Director, but I still say he gets an Original Screenplay nod.

Will it win any? Hard to say. Tommy Lee Jones is looking good to win his second Oscar (and a deserved one this time), but if DiCaprio can win the Globe perhaps the tides will switch. But I am thinking the academy won't honor the pretty boy until he's up for a lead trophy again.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason Travis

I'm hoping for a big haul for Skyfall, which likely won't happen, and that Helen Hunt doesn't get a shock snub.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteryoy

@Kevin: I agree 100%!

Nobody I speak to talks about Life of Pi. Why is it constantly making the cut. Are voters just being sheep and marking it down because everyone else is? Is it because Ang Lee is attached to it? Personally it looks like a CGI cartoon. I don't get the hype- maybe I will watch the movie and then find out.

BTW- Why hasn't Roger Ebert reviewed Les Mis and Django Unchained? You would think those would have been top priorities but I check his site and there's no review.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason Travis

Django : rides the Basters momentum to a best pic, screenplay and supporting actor noms plus a few below the line (possibly costumes and song), Quality and controversy aside it was fun to watch and that's why I think voters will remember it fondly.

If PGA is an indication I think Beasts gets in for best pic, screenplay & Wallis gets 5th actress spot with Riva just missing out. Amour will probably get screenplay and foreign film a la A Separation.

I see what you are saying about Skyfall. Gets 3-5 but all below the line, no acting and no best pic.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

I'm anxious about how THE MASTER will do outside of Supp Actor and Original Screenplay which are the sure things nomination wise.

off topic: I saw THE PAPERBOY. Kidman is a treasure. I also liked all of the performances in the film. Cusack was having a ball playing a retarded racist murdering hillbilly. All the controversial scenes covered in the press are much ado about nothing.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Kevin, I agree about Life of Pi. I'd predict it to be snubbed, but it's gotten everything you'd expect it to get and all of my trusted sources count it as a lock.

It's rather mean-spirited of me, but I'd love for it to miss just to show Fox that yes, you do have to campaign, and also to emphasize that it's love for a film and not respect for it that gets a film a nom. As it is now, its success goes against everything I understand about the nomnations process and current Oscar buzz.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Jason, Ebert posted a while back that he's been having back (or was it hip?) problems and is on pain meds, making it hard to write. He barely popped out a Top Ten list.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

I can't believe how tight ALL of the acting nods are this year, it always seem that by the time we get to this point you can usually predict the 5 in most categories. I'm HOPING it goes like this.

DDL (lock)
Denzel (lock)
Cooper (5th slot beating out Joaquin)... but I dont think these will be the final 5, I feel in my gut that Jaoquin will make it in and hawkes, jackman, or cooper will be out.

Lawrence (lock)
Chastain (lock)
Watts (lock)
Weisz (I think she will be the surprise beating out Mirren, although this might be far too beautiful of a final 5 lineup.. maybe it's foolish to think they wont go with an older nominee, or with hushpuppy)

Supp. Actor

Hoffman (lock)
Arkin (lock)
Deniro (lock)
Jones (lock)
McConaughey (this is what I WANT to happen, but I think that the last spot will most likely go to Waltz, and this is probably the most predictable of the categories to determine the final five, even with so many possibilities)

Supp. Actress

Hathaway (lock)
Field (lock)
Hunt (lock) - although wouldn't it be funny if they decided she wasn't supp?
Kidman - I no longer think she's the 5th slot, she seems to have secured her nomination
Dowd - Again, this is what I want, I think that Adams will take this spot, but this is my ideal 5 lineup.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

It'll be fascinating to see how "The Master" fares. There's definitely an art-film contingent in the Academy, but it may be fragmented this year with "Zero Dark Thirty," "Amour," "Beasts," and "Moonrise." I think it's fun to speculate about who exactly these art-film voters are. I mean, Ang Lee and Madonna were Academy members who came out for "Tree of Life" last year. Lee will be voting for himself this year, but I can see Madonna going for "The Master" unless P.T. Anderson pissed her off for some reason. (Meat Loaf voted for "War Horse," which always makes me laugh.)

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterOwen Walter

Tarantino and the Academy have an interesting relationship. Here's my reasoning behind the past ins and outs: Pulp Fiction probably felt like lightning in a bottle to the Academy, and quirky film nerds making interesting choices are likely to drop off the face of the earth. He was an anomaly. While I consider Kill Bill his best epic (and his best movie), it was Inglorious Basterds that found a venue for his violent tendencies that was totally acceptable for the Academy to stand behind. If you're going to have a gleeful bloodbath, Nazis are the perfect target (ESPECIALLY in the eyes of the Academy, who will watch/reward any and all Holocaust movies).

So what is he to them now? A prestige director, quirks and all, who is now ready to be brought under their wing as an accepted favorite on a regular basis? Or is he the director with the cool factor that they don't love, but are happy to say they nominated? I think the nominations or lack thereof will tell us what's up. I don't think he makes the cut for Director though. (If he does, they completely love him now.)

I've done enough rambling about Life of Pi on the site, so let me just say as someone who loves it, I expect passionate support. The campaign was handled badly, but they love Lee and I think they'll respond to this. It will be interesting if BP ends up just being the six, and it would make sense - everyone may be defending their top pick among them. When the new system came out, I argued stronger years would have fewer nominees, so we'll see.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

My guess is that Tarantino is liked and respected by the Academy.

1) He loves the movies. He's so enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the art form and it's practitioners.
2) That's why they always ask him to speak at The Governors Ball, etc. when awards are given to others. He knows and appreciates the technical work of others and is sincere and enthusiastic in his praise.
3) Actors appreciate that he hires actors that are good, not just famous, popular, male, or white.
4) His movies create discussion, where people talk like movies are important and you have to go see them right now in the theatre.
5) His movies make money.

But sometimes it seems they are somewhat ambivalent about the movies themselves. Too one of a kind, too original, too genre.

So I don't know. I think it's weird that some of the directors and picks that have been dubbed "locks" don't have half the appeal and track record of Tarantino.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteradri

About Amour's Oscar possibilities and the old days of foreign Best Picture nominations: correct if I'm wrong but in those days didn't they release acclaimed foreign films for people to actually see before Oscar deadlines and the end-of-the-year glut?
Did the studio really think a Palme d'Ore winning film of universal acclaim by a well respected master filmmaker had to by buried in a January release date? Personally my anticipation to see Amour has turn to frustration after seven months and now I'm looking more towards the film from a very different Austrian film idol (the one working under a Korean genre director) this January.
God it feels weird to admit that.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJJ'sDiner

Evan, I think people do love Life of Pi, although probably not enough for it to make anyone's number 1 choice. If anything the fact that it's making all these precursors without the campaign shows that it is hitting certain guilds on its own merits, rather than through some much plugged pre-established prestige narrative.

That said, I agree that the passion does seem very very muted. I wonder if it's a result of how the Oscar Race (tm) is now not-so-much reported on by blogs, as it is partly created by the blogs themselves, so that if the narratives/critical dissent/PR-fed stories aren't there for the film, then the blogs aren't going to really talk about it.

Then again, we all said the same thing about movies with muted receptions in past years, Frost/Nixon comes to mind in particular, so maybe the LoP situation isn't that peculiar.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlice

I just painstakingly went through my predictions and found myself with all of the same questions. As I started going through the techs I realized that Les Mis is probably a lot stronger than Django. I ended up predicting Les Mis for 9 noms and Django for 3 (Pic @ No. 8, Supp. Actor with Leo, and Screenplay).

I did get a little Skyfall happy though. i'm seeing it like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. They both have Daniel Craig so why not? Lots of surprising technicals. Sound! Editing! Cinematography!

Thank God Lincoln is here just to give a lot of categories at least one easy nomination. This year is bananas.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrady

I truly hope Beasts doesn't get snubed and pray for Best Picture and Best Actress nominations for that wonder of filmmaking. Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Cinematography and Best Original Score noms for Beasts would be a proof of justice from the AMPAS.

I believe Tarantino may have a good shot, I believe he won't get a Best Director nod and a Best Picture nom may don't happen, but I guess he has good chances in the Best Original Screenplay category. Plus, Django imay have a chance at scoring one acting nomination (it's a DiCaprio Vs Waltz for that free spot in the Best Supporting Actor shortlist) and to compete in the Best Costume Design and Editing fields.

This way, my predictions for BEST PICTURE (I predict 8 nominees for this year):
1. Argo
2. Zero Dark Thirty
3. Silver Linings Playbook
4. Lincoln
5. Les Misérables (no matter what it's an epic musical, featuring great performances from big Hollywood stars)
6. Beasts of the Southern Wild (I believe there are enough "indie AMPAS members")
7. Life of Pi
8. Django Unchained

(9. The Master; 10. Moonrise Kingdom; 11. The Best Exoctic Marigold Hotel)

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEd

I think the lack of support for Life of Pi is imagined by some who didn't respond to the film. The campaign hasn't been aggressive by Fox. But I expect it to make the Best Picture list, director list, and in several of the tech categories (Cinematography, Visual Effects, Music, Sound, possibly Editing, Production Design, Song). Ang Lee is already being recognized by two guilds this season. I think the Academy is aware that Lee did something special with 3-D. The film has made $300 million internationally. I do hope if it does get the top nominations, Fox will do something more for the film.

The film I don't see making the list is The Master. Not when there are other films to get passionate about. I see Beasts getting in there before The Master.

My friend in the DGA voted for Beasts, Zero Dark Thirty, Moonrise Kingdom, Life of Pi and Argo.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGabriel Oak

I think DJANGO and SKYFALL will land a handful of nominations, but will ultimately miss out on Best Picture. Like you reiterated in your article, Nat, the internet is not the Academy.

I still have hope that AMOUR makes it in, but I feel BEASTS is slipping quite fast. It just didn't get the accolades it should've to be a stand out for voters to notice. AMOUR did take the LAFCA which definitely boosts its chances and Michael Haneke for Best Director.

I can see Best Picture lining up like so:

I absolutely hate the LES MIZ backlash that just seems endless. I LOVED it and do acknowledge its flaws, but all this LES MIZ hatred needs to stop. Thankfully, its continual success at the box office is wonderful and audiences do like it. If it gets the most nomination tally including Best Director, it has a really great shot at winning. However, if Tom Hooper is missing from the shortlist, it'll be a tough battle for it to win.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKent

Another thing really helping AMOUR is the incredible trifecta of awards (Picture, Director, Actress) it just received from NSFC ;)

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKent

And Matthew McConaughey also just won the NSFC's best supporting actor award for Magic Mike (and, er, Bernie)!

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

I'm predicting 9 nominees: the top 6 + BEASTS + MOONRISE + DJANGO. I had left off DJANGO but there seems to be a lot of talk about it in the media (not just the internet) and the box office suggests it's had no trouble being seen. Unlike AMOUR - why release this so late?

After getting my hopes up with CASINO ROYALE, I don't think SKYFALL will make a huge splash. But four tech noms would still be a great outcome, given Bond's history with Oscar. Still unsure about Bardem - that SAG nod is persuasive - but I see him fighting Waltz for the 5th slot.

Possible shocker snubs? What if Bigelow is left off Directing? The Directors' Branch has a terrible record for nominating women and there were those weird media stories about Bigelow (speculating about her relationship with Boal) that could suggest a backlash. Also, I could see Adele not being nominated for Song since the Music Branch seem to delight in being contrary.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G

Oscar ballots were in yesterday so the results of today's NSFC won't influence Academy voters.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

The lack of love for Jackie Brown was just wrong, but damn, all this time I thought Uma was nominated for Best Actress in Kill Bill...that's crazy.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBia

I didn't see any sort of great acting or any type of deserving it from Lee Jones in Lincoln,i thought it was a standard gruff scowling part with no real insight and that was given by Merkesen.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMARK

I actually think people may still be underestimating Judi Dench in the Supporting Actress category, especially if they choose to nominate one of the Django actors over Javier Bardem. She seems like a logical backup choice for Academy members who didn't like The Master (thus eliminating Amy Adams) but also couldn't bear to nominate anything or anyone from The Paperboy (which would mean Nicole Kidman). I'm predicting Kidman now, but I wouldn't be totally surprised if the fifth Supporting Actress slot went to Judi Dench. It also doesn't hurt that she's probably got some goodwill from Marigold Hotel. Plus, she's Judi Dench. If I were to make any "no guts, no glory" pick in the acting categories, it'd be her.

And as of now, I'm guessing Django gets snubbed. I keep saying this, but it gives me a Girl with the Dragon Tattoo vibe in terms of awards prospects. It could still end up with 4 or 5 nominations, but as of right now, I'm not predicting it for Best Picture. I reserve the right to change my mind if Tarantino gets a DGA nod on Tuesday. But then again, David Fincher got a DGA nod last year too, so even that wouldn't make it certain.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEdwin

My thoughts on those pesky 5th slots…

- I’ve been sticking with this ever since I saw the film. It just feels like something a small but significant enough number of members in this particular branch will really respond to and rank #1.

ACTOR: Joaquin Phoenix
- because he’ll get more #1 placements on ballots than Cooper. Plus don’t they always snub the hottest (vulnerable) male contender in the end. (Fassy, DiCaprio, Gosling, Hirsch, McAvoy, etc)

BEST ACTRESS: Wallis & Riva (for 4th and 5th slots)
- so many year end interviews with celebs (Affleck, Mirren, Channing, etc) all cite how Wallis just blew them away. I don’t quite buy the age thing given that Castle Hughes landed a lead nom and Paquin managed to win in sup. Meanwhile, I think the real battle is between the foreign gals and I’m currently going with Riva since she’ll probably land more #1 placements than Cotillard. Worst case scenario is they split the vote a Wallis and Mirren end up taking those last two slots.

SUPP ACTOR: Christoph Waltz
- think how they cited Wahlberg over showy villain Nicholson in ’06. McConaughey deserves it and he does have a shot despite the shocking Globe snub if, as you mentioned Nathaniel, he’s considered ‘liked’ in the industry.

SUPP ACTRESS: Nicole Kidman.
- wishful thinking may be getting the best of me here as my brain is saying it’s Smith and Adams for those last two slots. Still, I’m crossing my fingers the #1 ballot placement factor saves the day.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRyanSt

I really think this is James Bond year.

I hated that New Yorker article. It's so patronizing! Don't tell me to go see an opera. I'm not illiterate. I'm perfectly capable to enjoy both genres.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I find ti funny that, no sooner had I finished reading this article and noting your disappointment about the lack of precursor love for AMOUR, then the Critics Choice results come in.........

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWellington Sludge

Seriously, Nat, stop with the Les Miz whining. The movie is severely flawed. It's a B- at best. It's becoming quite predictable which movies you'll like and which you won't, to the point where it's like you're not a true critic (i.e. as objective as possible when reviewing movies). You have your biases, we all know them, and it means you'll take to musicals, most anything that's not hetero-normative, basically everything that's actress-y, and films that wallow in their own over-the-top excess (The Avengers, Burlesque), but you'll downplay most anything violent, realistic, or films concerning serious, topical issues.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertr

I'd say from the top races, Best Director is the one to watch.

Looking at the precursors, things seem to have settled on Bigelow + Spielberg + Affleck, with Ang Lee, Tom Hooper, David O'Russell and Paul Thomas Anderson fighting for the last two spots.

But if you look at it more carefully:

- will the Academy really give a 2nd nomination to a woman - and the 2nd to Bigelow, who just won - in such a short span?
- will the Academy really nominate Ang Lee to go along with all the precursors, even if the campaign for Life of Pi has been next to none? Does that movie have some passionate fans?
- won't the 'musicals just direct themselves' movement claim a next victim in Tom Hooper? I still can't believe that most of us are counting him in, when Baz Lurhmann and Rob Marshall (and this one, the director of the Best Picture winner AND after the Academy had been shamefully bashed by Whoopi Goldberg the ceremony before when she said "well I guess Moulin Rouge! directed itself") did not get in?
- David O'Russell's nom for The Fighter: was it a stamp of approval by the Academy or just mere goodwill towards that film as a whole?
- Paul Thomas Anderson: this seems like a Boogie Nights/Magnolia type of reception for him, where the critics love the movie but the big precursors just love the performances. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Cooper wrestled out Phoenix and Adams didn't show up in Sup Actress. Philip Seymour Hoffman, however, as shown time and time again (2007's Charlie Wilson's War and ESPECIALLY - since it's so similar to this year - 2008's Doubt nomination, in which he also was a co-lead), will get his nom. They can't get enough of him.

So to summarise all I was saying... Director looks very interesting to me (probably will end up boring as hell). DGA will clarify some doubts. Other than Affleck or Spielberg, I feel the race is open. And primed for a surprise, like Nathaniel has been predicting since the summer/fall with Haneke.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

And about the Denby article: even I - who didn't like Les Misérables all that much - have to admit it went too far. Ridiculous.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

@Jorge I'm not predicting Hooper, but Marshall did get in for Chiacgo (I'm assuming we're not talking Nine?). Luhrmann's snub is a fair point though. As for Bigelow, I doubt anyone will blink at her getting a second nod; gender won't matter as much as "past winner," and being a winner only helps her for a nod (I doubt she'll win again though).

Totally agree on Hoffman in The Master though. I'll be shocked if that doesn't happen, even if it's the only nod for the film.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

@eurocheese: My mistake, I was really convinced he didn't get in. Still, my point kind of stands: the Best Pic winner couldn't manage to get his director the win (after he landed the DGA; the Golden Globe went to Scorsese) and the Academy preferred to give the Oscar to a respected, foreign auteur.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

@tr - In a year where Nathaniel embraced Spielberg (Lincoln) and Burton (Frankenweenie) again, defended (kind of) Nolan, stuck up for Hitchcock in the recent podcast and even defended Brave from more fervent Pixar fans I dont' think that assumption is fair.

Yes, Nathaniel loves musicals and doesn't like dramedies who try too hard to feel important and are dead empty inside (The Descendants, Silver Linings) and yes I felt that Les Misérables was a touchy point (but we all have them) and Cloud Atlas an easy target; but that's the Nathaniel we've come to love!

You come to The Film Experience because you've come to love the way Nathaniel writes. And hell I'm counting on Nathaniel to point the finger at lazy movies for being so much worse that their potential (Cloud Atlas, I'm looking at you). And no one is more fun! Those legendary Zée and Beelzebub/The One who Shall Not Be Named articles...

It's not like Nathaniel has gone full-on Sasha Stone with criticising everyone who dislikes Zero Dark Thirty and before that with all the Social Network love (even I, who loved TSN and considered it my #1 of 2010, thought it was excessive).

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

Nat, one more thing to consider. While the Globes gave some nominations to Jackie Brown and the Kill Bill, neither got a Best Picture nomination (Drama for the Kill Bill films, Comedy/Musical for Jackie Brown). Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds did. So, since Django Unchained did get a Picture-Drama nomination at the Globes, I'd say it's Best Picture chances are looking better than the other two. Also, something of note, ever since the move to ten, just about every film to get a Best Picture nomination from the Critics Choice, Golden Globe and PGA has landed a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. Granted, last year was the first time it wasn't necessarily ten, but that's still accurate (last year those films were The Artist, The Descendants, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball and War Horse, all got Best Picture nominations).

If that holds true this year, then we'll definitely have Argo, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Moonrise Kingdom, Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty as Best Picture nominees (that's 8 nominees). Beyond that, I'd say Beasts of the Southern Wild has a better chance than The Master (since it has the PGA nomination).

Also, Nat, in a year like this where the love seems to be so spread out, I think we'll definitely be getting closer to 10 nominees than to 5.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

I STILL get angry over Thurman's Kill Bill snub. They even had a second chance with part II.
I figured it Johnny Depp could get nominated for Pirates, Thurman could get nommed for KB.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean

Since I was the one to start the Life of Pi talk and I feel it kinda got off-track, let me reframe it: I think it will absolutely get nominated despite a weirdly silent campaign, and I think people do love it. However, I agree with Alice that the passion seems really muted.

That said, as much as I would love to predict that Lee isn't going to get the Director nod, I don't think Haneke has a chance, nor do I think Tarantino will slip in. So I'm predicting both Lee and Hooper, along with the main three (Affleck/Bigelow/Spielberg), despite both of them seeming like weak nominees.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

I hope Hooper does get nominated to slap all the Les Miz haters in the face. Even I have problems with the film but the Denby article was the final straw. Not when he salivates over This Is 40.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGabriel Oak

Stop reminding me that Pam Grier wasn't nominated for Best Actress. -___________-

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

Next Thursday could go *lots* of ways, but lately I've had two thoughts:

1. Maybe Life of Pi could be nominated for Director but *not* Picture. It'd be weird to have a "lone director" in this new era of 5+ Picture nominees, but I think the Directors value the movie way more than most of the other branches -- and it's not going to be highly ranked by actors (the largest branch).

2. Like Django and Amour, I think Flight is something of a wild card. It made Ebert's top ten list, and I could even see it winning a surprise Picture nomination a la Blind Side. On the other hand, I don't think Denzel's performance has people yelling OH MY GOD the way Day-Lewis, Phoenix, Hawkes, even Cooper and Jackman do. He could be a surprise snub like Russell Crowe was snubbed for Cinderella Man and Master and Commander.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDusty

Ugh that David Denby article is annoying. Because of course people with different taste than yours are just that way because they are uneducated. So therefore you are superior to them and it is your right to impose your taste upon them. Not to mention his sexist shout outs to 8-14 year old girls, who of course don't know up from down. Idiot. I thought Les Mis was a giant mess of a movie, but one that was earnest and fun to watch. What's the harm in people liking that? Was it best of the year? Not for me, but it's not my job to tell people what to like. Someone should let David Denby know it's not his job either.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTB

Mareko -- but critics really didn't get behind it either (kill bill) the way they have django which is bananas. god, i love kill bill so much!

Anonny -- i know it's not *just* the internet. my point it is the media behaves as if 90% of people hate it. But that just can't be true based on my unscientific survey (50% of my friends seem to hate it. the others are tearing up and planning to see it again) and also based on cinemascore and the box office in general.

Kevin -- agree that life of pi has had a strangely muted campaign. i wonder if it will cost them or if it's just too much of an "achievement" technically to be ignored.

Evan -- yep, that's why Ebert hasn't been writing. sad. P.S. are you the same evan i met tonight?

eurocheese -- i think you're 100% right about what it means if he is nominated for directing Django Unchained.

JJ -- i don't know. i'd have to do research (on release dates) but it's a reasonable assumption.

tr -- i'm just trying to provide some balance. almost every other oscar blog has the guns out for Les Miz so why shouldn't i be an oasis for the fans? It would be so boring if everyone on the internet always said the same thing. but you're wrong that i'm *that* predictable and not a real critic because of it. Yes, i am drawn to all the things you mentioned -- it's my opinon that biases should be clearly stated and i've never lied about having them (everyone does)-- but i don't love each movie the same just because it has those elements. I panned A Single Man (major eye candy gay movie) and was "meh" on critical darling Keep the Lights on (gay movie), Chicago Hairspray Dreamgirls Nine etcetera didn't make my top ten lists in their years and most didn't even come close (musicals), I hate Julie Taymor movies, Mamma Mia, and Cloud Atlas all of which wallows in their own over-the-top excess two of which are musicals and one of which is very actressy.... So by your logic, shouldn't i love all those things? ;)

January 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

All right, I'll be very upset if Life of Pi does not get a Best Picture or Best Director nomination. But I'm sensing that the film will get support from the directing and tech branches if not the entire acting branch. And who else could have made Life of Pi but Ang Lee? Several directors tried and failed. Which is another reason the movie is going to get a screenwriting nod since the book was so hard to adapt. And it's even going to get a score nomination. But maybe I'm totally deluded.

January 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGabriel Oak

I'm in the "I know it has flaws but I love it" crowd for Les Mis, but still believe that even in a crowded field it still deserves a nomination. I've just seen it for a third time (think about that distributors who want seats in seats) because it is great to have another big screen musical, I love this musical, and most important wanted to really concentrate on the acting. I doubt it has a chance at Best picture, but if there is any true justice among the Academy voters, Hugh Jackman will be holding his own statue at the end of the evening.

January 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

I can't believe we live in a world, okay, cinematic world where The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel could end up a Best Picture nominee and Amour doesn't. Furthermore, if they don't nominate Riva, that's it, I'm out. It'd be Crash winning Brokeback all over again.

January 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKeegan

The way I see Best Picture, based on the films nominated last year, there are about three types that make up the voting demographics of the Academy. First is the easiest type: THE POPULAR CONSENSUS, movies that have been getting consistent precursor mentions that are sure to get nominated. This year those titles are: Argo, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty. They're in.

Beyond that there will be two major demographics that will be competing for spots. THE CINEPHILE PICKS and THE OLD-FASHIONED MIDDLEBROW. Cinephile picks are the "cool" artsy subset of the Academy who voted in "The Tree of Life" last year. This year, those competing for those votes are: Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, The Master and Moonrise Kingdom. Then we have The Old Fashioned Middlebrow, these are usually the groan-inducing picks that make the Internet's head explode. This year the possibilities include The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and The Impossible.

Of course, they're not set in stone and all but one can pick and choose Best Picture based on this type of analysis.

January 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIrvin

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