With release dates recently shifting (The Soloist to 2009 and The Road probably headed that way ...among others) it's time for a major Oscar overhaul. I'm starting with the actors. I think it's safe to say --or as safe as it can be to say at this point -- that we can narrow our Lead Actor candidates to nine or ten. [Everyone together now: "But there can be only five"] I hope the campaign battle gets bloody and stays at least nine-wide (it's more fun that way) but recent years have seen the true candidates narrowed to 6 or 7 quickly by the abundant precursor organizations. Those early awards bodies (SAG, BFCA, Critics, NBR, Globes) agree far too often considering how subjective the whole idea of "Best" is, don't they? How did it all become so conformist?
Not "maverick" at all, these Oscar competitions. But then, that word doesn't seem to mean what it used to mean, now does it?
Meanwhile: Supporting Actor continues to remain more of a mystery ...outside of Heath Ledger's ghostly Joker. But then, the Supporting categories always are. It's so much easier to suss out Oscar appeal lead performances early on. The supporting players are always better at hiding within the plot synopsis and editing decisions. The supporting players need "best in show" citations, good campaigns, strong "clip" scenes, and enough screen time to make a case for themselves, and usually love for the film itself --none of which get really clear until the films open.
And finally... is Last Chance Harvey (trying that age old and eternally annoying 'day after Christmas' limited release to Oscar qualify) starring Dustin Hoffman & Emma Thompson an American President type of charmer (i.e. well liked but too lightweight for real Oscar attention ~ that's the vibe I get from the trailer at least) or something more. The trailer for your consideration: