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« Costume Designers Guild Hustling for 'Gatsby', '12 Years a Slave', 'Her' | Main | BAFTA nominations »
Wednesday
Jan082014

Will Eight Be Enough? BAFTA & Best Picture Predix

If you haven't been to the Oscar charts as of late, know that the final predictions will be up Monday night come rain or shine (Sunday is too crowded - Golden Globes Day and after that yours truly is off to LA and Sundance for festivities). The Best Picture chart, though, which I've just updated, might stay as is.  

I am currently predicting 8 nominations for Best Picture though the number can annoyingly vary from as little as 5 and as many as 10 (note: we've only seen 9 since the voting process changed). But the way I see it in my crystal ball, which goes from foggy to crystal clear from year to year (win some you lose some), it'll shake out like so:

LOCKS / NOMINATION LEADERS:
12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Gravity
IF WE STOPPED AT FIVE: Nebraska, Capt Phillips
BUT WE DON'T, SO: Wolf of..., Dallas Buyers Club
AND ALSO Philomena 

BAFTA nominations, which hit while we were sleeping, have not significantly shaken up our perceptions of the race as they can very occasionally do. Philomena's strong showing at an awards show originally meant to honor British film (which has since devolved into: Oscars Cross-Atlantic Edition) is not unexpected but I also don't think it unmeaningful. [more...]

 Philomena is an easy sit, gently moving, and headlined by an international treasure who is on the verge of retirement. If the crowds who've been turning out for it and talking about it are indication, it will be popular with Oscar voters. Since the British Academy holds the last significant nominations of the season they're the last minor influence on Oscar balloting, which is now closing (the bulk of ballots are already in), and the last tiny snapshot of what might be in the ether. From here on out, it's all about the awards ceremonies, red carpets, box office boosts, acceptance speehes, and of course the small matter of Oscar Nominations (January 16th).

ALMOST!: Her, Lee Daniels' The Butler, Inside Llewyn Davis, Saving Mr Banks, and Blue Jasmine
VOTE SIPHONERS: All is Lost, August: Osage County, Before Midnight, Blue is the Warmest Color, Fruitvale Station, Rush, Short Term 12  

single sad men who play string instruments

If any of the five "almost!" titles make it to the big show, you couldn't call it shocking though they would be mild surpises given the way the pre-season played out. But, as ever, I am fascinated by the notion of which films are pulling more votes than we think though they'd never actually win the nomination so I always list them as "Vote Siphoners". If any of those rose up, it would be a shock.

All of the "almost" titles definitely have fanbases but the question is how passionate and how large those fanbases are? It might be a stretch to say but I believe that Her and Inside Llewyn Davis -- which once looked much stronger for nomination play -- are actually eating into each other's fanbases. To explain: both are very late releases in very limited release from respected "cool" filmmakers with no easy Oscar hooks. (Please to note: Quality of Execution has not and never will be an "easy" hook as it's difficult to pull off or agree upon.) They've both been, I'd argue, sorely damaged by the amount of conversation that The Wolf of Wall Street has been hogging and the amount of business that American Hustle has been doing. Everyone knows that December can be a hugely lucrative month, in terms of box office and critical adulation and Oscar results. Not everyone admits, but it's no less true, that December is always a major gamble since every single film of note (even the ones that are no longer in release) competes for the same limited supplies of time and editorial and cultural oxygen through Oscar balloting. 12 Years a Slave and Gravity would have been major in any month, but I think Captain Phillips and Dallas Buyers Club hanging on the way they have with across-the-board precursor support is a very good indication of how smart they were to come out before the blitz. If you're a strong movie that needs to become embedded in the conversation but you're unflashy and not an obvious behemoth, October and November are smart moves. (Not that that strategy always pays off either: I really did expect All is Lost to be a slightly stronger Best Picture / Best Director threat.)

Of the vote siphoners the "shock" nomination that would delight me most and maybe surprise me least (at least in retrospect) is probably Blue is the Warmest Color. It's an atypical choice but past Foreign Films which people obsessed over and which weren't eligible for the foreign category have sometimes shown strength on nomination morning... albeit usually in the Best Director category. Hmmmm...)

P.S. Over the years my strong feelings on the release date topic have misled people into thinking that I always think December is a bad move. This isn't true at all. Release Wolf of Wall Street in September, say, and I'd say it's toast in the Oscar race, burning brightly through all it's oxygen by now, so the delays and bright "will it or won't it be 2013?" spotlight probably helped. If August: Osage County had released a few months earlier, it would be toast even in the acting categories (though a summer release would have been very smart had the quality been there) though this doesn't mean it's barely-released strategy was the way to go either. American Hustle's flashiness is also a great fit for December which has no aversions to loud, festive, slightly-drunk-feeling parties populated by beautiful people.

Thoughts? 

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Reader Comments (26)

That would be awesome if Abdellatif Kechiche could snag a Best Director nomination for Blue is the Warmest Color. I think he totally deserves it!

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave

I really hope that Blue Jasmine makes it in.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobMiles

Her is the big question mark to me. It does seem like the kind of movie the Academy just won't get though. It also may not have enough pushes in other areas to get a slot for the end.

I wonder about Blue Jasmine though. The only hint we had that The Blind Side was getting in was Bullock clearly leading the Actress race. It could very easily happen.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Nathaniel -
I'm curious...you seemed a little hesitant that Amy Adams was even in 6th place in this race in your recent post. Does this BAFTA nomination change your mind at all? Right now, I think I'm predicting her.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMitch

AOC was doomed before shooting began. It should have been done a la Angels in America. For cable, uncut and over two showings if necessary. There is so much more freedom with television and prestige properties with possibly limited appeal stand a better chance of being made and made well when the needs/expectations aren't as high.

I'm a little surprised at DBC not showing at all but not at Streep being cut. Even though she won BAFTA for the Iron Lady, it was not a popular performance with many and hasn't stood up. Dench, Thompson, Bullock and Blancett were always sure things here. Dench will get a lot of support and may pull off an upset here. Its been 12 years since she won (even though she has a shelf full).

Also the best British film category. All that money spent locally means support and with CA running out of production room, London is a perfect place to film.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I think BAFTA's snub of Streep is reflective of the overall negative response to her last Oscar. The perception across all groups that this was undeserved could have led to this result, same with AMPAS.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I just think BAFTA like to spread the wealth... The nominations do not after or match Oscar nominations most of the time.She won the BAFTA for Iron Lady... So what exactly are you saying about the organization??? That they messed up 2 years ago and that is why she is not nominated today??

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Meryl not making it in has nothing to do with The Iron Lady win. It's because there's loads of competition in Best Actress this year.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobMiles

To clarify, I think with this snub that BAFTA is endorsing the pervasive feeling in general that The Iron Lady performance was not worthy of an award, Oscar or otherwise.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

But Rob, Meryl never had trouble with competition before. She often made it in a lineup of heavy hitters.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Her Iron Lady performance can be argued either way whether it was amazing or not... But she really won in 2011 due to her narrative of going 30 years without one..
BAFTA history with Streep is a messed up one... And the Oscars truly love her.. she did not even win the BAFTA for Sophie's Choice

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

I'm a little regretful that Before Midnight probably won't be showing up in director, actress, actor, best picture. What a wonderful and rare artistic collaboration.

There are however, lots of films, performances, and craft expertise that I love in some of the front runners, so I'm going to try to just observe and enjoy and save my judgement for the red carpet gowns.

Although it annoys and puzzles me that almost every year, the supporting nominations are so uninspired.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Jamie, I just looked up the Actress nominees that year...BAFTA awarded Julie Walters for Educating Rita. HUH! That's just weird. LOL

Interesting, but Jessica Lange was up for lead actress for Tootsie and not for Francis. Hmmm.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

typo--Frances, sorry

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Well... In some way Brooksboy... That is what I am saying... BAFTA nominations for Best Actress rarely match up exactly to Nominations Oscar morning... Everyone thinks that the snub is this huge thing.. And it may be.. But I think from looking at history that the nominations today will not match up and that leaves one of the women on the list today vulnerable and not Streep...
Also I think Oscar ballots were due today...

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Good for you for going out on a limb, but I don't buy the idea that Philomena is in the top 8 films. Every year, BAFTA causes people to overestimate the chances of the year's major British picture (see also Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Skyfall...). I've fallen for this before; not going to do it this year!

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Jamie, I agree, in recent years, there's usually one or two BAFTA nods that don't match up with AMPAS.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

brookesboy - Maybe it's just because after all the nominations and her finally winning again, people just think she's had enough recognition for now, unless it's undeniable. In other words, they've had enough of Meryl for now!

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobMiles

Rob, exactly what I was thinking. Unless it's simply magnificent, even by Meryl's standards, a performance by her is just not gonna earn a nom. She will now be judged against her own skill, not against that of others.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I don't think that the general feeling is that Streep didn't deserve the oscar for The Iron Lady, though. I think Streep got squeezed out of a tough category and a largely botched campaign/release strategy. I think Streep benefits that AMPAS will definitely watch the movie and it feels more like an AMPAS film than a BAFTA film.

Right now, and this is a really poor analogy, I would equate Streep to Munich/Spielberg in 2005. Odd release strategy, but enough pre-release feeling that it would get nominated. I think Streep's in the same boat.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

I'm surprised more hate hasn't been directed at "Philomena". I personally loved it, but coming from Harvey and its "a very special episode" style campaign I wasn't expecting to. I expect if it gets a Best Pic nomination or a surprise win for Dench, coupled with being non-subversive, even warm (as you say an "easy sit") that undeserved scorn will follow.

Jeez I always go all pessimistic at Oscar time, I should work in that.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJJsDiner

It will be very interesting to see if Meryl or Amy get in for Oscar (Adele and Brie are OUT now). Blanchett, Bullock, Dench, and Thompson are safe, and I'm feeling that the tide for American Hustle will lead to a best actress nominee for Amy Adams.

Out of all the categories I think best actor here at the BAFTA will lose 1 or maybe 2 men. McConaughey is definitely safe with Oscar, as well as Ejiofor, Hanks, and Dern. I'm thinking DiCaprio takes that final slot with Oscar but it could just as easily be Bale or Redford. Maybe Whitaker, but Isaac and Phoenix are likely out.

I still think best supporting actress is really strange. Julia Roberts has received Critics choice + SAG + Golden Globe + BAFTA. I think it's pretty apparent she's going to make it, as well as Lupita and Lawrence. Does anyone else think June Squibb could be a surprise snub a la Shailene Woodley and Paul Giamatti? Payne performances have a history of being snubbed (also with Reese Witherspoon).

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

You know what? No guts no glory, no BAFTA no problem, I'm STILL predicting Adele gets in. And throw in the movie too. And you know what? Now that I've stepped totally beyond the pale, might as well stick to Lea Seydoux for my predictions. I'm going to get the last slots in those categories wrong no matter what, so if I have to be wrong, I'm gonna stick to my guns while I do it. I'll go rogue all over this season. Oscar Isaac gets a nomination! James Gandolfini makes it into Supporting Actor! Stories We Tell makes it in for documentary feature!

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTB

TB--Sing out Louise!

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Henry--Step on this crazy train brother! I could do this all day!

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTB

I think it still matters that Adams did not get SAG nomination... I would take that over a BAFTA

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

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