Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Oscar Predictions September

Though I needed to update my prediction charts (done!) it always feels a bit foolish to do so immediately before the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals where buzz suddenly dissipates, congeals, ferments, explodes, flip-flops or otherwise ch-ch-ch-changeeesssss.


In the new charts you'll find big losses for Avatar. It's not that I haven't lost faith in James Cameron's ability to deliver a spectacle but that so much of the film appears to be entirely CGI. It'll have natural disadvantages in some of the categories I expected it to be a contender in because AMPAS still prefers the weight of actual objects and the atmosphere of actual sets to CGI generated ones. Which is probably a good thing when it all shakes out.

With so many big or baity or intriguing looking movies moving to 2010 (The Wolf Man, The Tempest, Shutter Island) and still more not truly settled release date or distribution wise there's a lot of movement in the charts. I'm probably taking a big risk predicting so many nominations for Sherlock Holmes for example and there's maybe not enough here for Up in the Air which is just beginning to hum rather than buzz yet. Guy Ritchie does not make people scream "OSCAR!" but the below the line team is delicious Academy bait, if you ask me. I mean: Philipe Rousellot behind the camera, Jenny Beavan's costume design magic, Sarah Greenwood heading up art direction and sets, um ... yes please!

We -- and by we I mean everyone who predicts Oscars professionally on the web and everyone who does so at home -- always think we know more about the acting categories in early September than we ever ever do. Keep that in mind when you're looking at anyone's predictions. It's not over till it's over and in fact it's barely begun. Expect shake ups to come. But where?

Index of Predicted Nominations | Picture | Director | Actor | Actress | Supporting Actor | Supporting Actress | Screenplay | Costume Design | Technical Categories (Visual) | Technical Categories (Aural) | Animation

Keep in mind these charts do not reflect my opinion of worth (that's what I sprinkle throughout my editorials throughout the year) but my sometimes faulty sometimes incisive prophesies about what Oscar will glom onto.

I'd also suggest reading the Film School Rejects long but necessary explanation of the new voting roles to determine "Best Picture" (if you haven't already). No, it's no longer as simple as checking the box by your favorite film's name.

turn and face the strange ch-ch-changessss

The foreign film pages and the actress psychic point totals (thus far) will be up as soon as I can manage. But in the meantime, discuss. Who'd I forget. Which film do you think is going to firm up its release date in time? Are there any more delays coming? Pull out your crystal golden ball in the comments...

48 comments:

Jim T said...

I really hope jude gets nominated (if he deserves it) because I think his star is kind of fading.


I wanted Dench to get a nomination but I read that her role is too small. Will she get another chance? She doesn't have any projects scheduled except Bond.

Nathaniel, why do you think Monsters vs Aliens will be nominated instead of 9? I mean, the former has the box office (perhaps the latter will too) but critics didn't like it. 9 seems to be doing OK with critics and it seems more serious.

Once again, good job!

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Nat, you really think Transformers will get a visual nods...I mean they lost to The Golden Compass [deservedly so] and this one seems way more hated than the last...

I don't like the new Oscar voting rule for Best Picture...I wrote a quite long winded post on it...but in short I don't think people will care to carefully sit down and rank ten films...its just too taxing...and these voters are human.

erica said...

Nat,
I would love to see Jude Law get nominated he is an fantastic actor. Also I think people are underestimating Sherlock Holmes base on the trailer. It could be darker than they think.

Robert said...

This is really shaping up to be a good year for animated film. Of course we haven't seen The Princess and the Frog, The Fantastic Mr. Fox or 9 yet, but there have already been 3 animated movies that deserve to win.

Also... Terrence Malick is bald? I don't think I've ever seen a picture of him without his hat on... and by that I mean that one picture of him with his hat on smiling. I think the picture that Nathaniel posted is the 2nd picture I've ever seen of Terrence Malick.

Victor S said...

2 nominations for Desplat and none for his amazing Chéri score?? I don't think so.

Ramification said...

I read somewhere they are going back to re-shoot scenes for Sherlock Holmes with Brad Pitt since the studio was not pleased, that does not bode well for the picture

erica said...

The studio release a statement saying Brad Pitt is not in the movie. this was a rumor started by a tabliod paper in London.

brianmaru said...

I do expect Bright Star to do quite well, saw it last week. Whishaw is superb in it and Cornish is quite good too, but could see both getting overlooked. It's very moody, and doesn't necessarily lend itself to actorly moments through out.

Hyde said...

LOL I don't think of Sherlock Holmes. never cross in my mind. but we'll see then.
I'm sort of hoping of Jude Law comeback. I have Hamlet Broadway ticket.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMBlcH0V63E

I can see Clooney getting nominated again. It's his area (=comedy).

Jorge Rodrigues said...

I'm glad that you consider that Desplat will receive two nominations this year... And I'd also pick Coco Avant Chanel instead of Chéri. The Frears film does not know how to use its amazing soundtrack... Whereas the Fontaine film... Delightful. Desplat completes the film. It's such a pleasure to our ears.

But I hope he wins. He deserves it. He's amazing.

Hardy said...

I'm not sure how Desplat sleeps, with all the films he scores.

And I'd put Precious as a contender in Cinematography as well?

par3182 said...

i fear you're a little optimistic with that best film line-up; it seems too good to be true. where's the overpraised piece of crap like crash, chocolat, finding neverland or slumdog millionaire?

and does emma thompson's brilliant scene stealing in the an education trailer not transfer to the film?

Jake D said...

Wow, you think Depp will get nominated for Public Enemies? You say it yourself: "Summer films need to be true hits to stay in major Oscar play." Public Enemies was definitely not a hit, and Depp was not much more than adequate, IMO.

Patrick Gratton said...

Hey Nathanael, it seems to me like you're missing the boat by omitting Christian McKay critically acclaimed performance in Me & Orson Welles in your Best Supporting Actor chart. I thought the film was picked up for a Stateside release in November of 2009. Anyways I saw the film, at TIFF last year and McKay was amazing and his performance alone elevated the film. Just a heads up

billybil said...

Dear idealistic Nate!

I thought this 10 movies for Best Picture deal was supposed to open it up to crowd pleasers so that the TV audience tunes in to watch. But the only movie you have from the top 25 so far this year is UP (#3).

Here are the top 5 as of this week:
Transformers $399 mil
Harry Potter $294 mil
Up $290 mil
The Hangover $270 mil
Star Trek $257 mil

So if AMPAS members cooperate with the "goal" - couldn't we see HARRY POTTER or STAR TREK in the Best Film nominations?! Certainly depending on how it does at the B.O., this puts AVATAR in a stronger position too. (Of course, I'm not saying AMPAS members will cooperate but...they might.)

I have to say I think TREE OF LIFE, BRIGHT STAR and maybe UP IN THE AIR need to come off your list to make room for the 3 movies above.

And what about a Supporting Actor nomination from The Hangover? Ed Helms (the guy who lost his tooth) maybe? He was pretty damn funny! Or an argument could even be made to nominate Zach Galifianakis. Now wouldn't that be a shocker!! Someone over at Warner Bros. should get busy campaigning!!!

Iggy said...

As just an spectactor of how all this works, and from a certain distance I try to keep, I'm most curious about the Inglorious Basterds case.

I'm really surprised by the enthusiasm people talk about it*, but for what I've read (have skipped many things to avoid spoilers) it sounds to me like "just" the usual Tarantino. So if you had to name just one, what would be the most outstanding feature of this movie? That thing that makes it special? I'm intrigued, because though everyone seems to be thrilled, no one dares to say it will be a BP nominee.

And also, on a more raised eyebrow attitude, or more cynical one if you want, what has happened from last year to this one? Last year, everyone had WWII movies fatigue, there were lots of "no more Nazis movies, please" all around and that cost The Reader to be instantly labelled as Nazi porn. So, what should prevent me from labelling (as unfairly as with any label) the Basterds as Nazi gorish porn?

*surprised because every enthusiastic comment is introduced by the "I didn't expect to like this".

cal roth said...

Cotillard is going lead for Nine, I'm telling you.

Anonymous said...

jake d beat me to it about depp, i dont think he has a chance in hell to get nominated for public enemies. I havent heard a peep about him since the film was released. that being said i feel day-lewis unless he flops horribly is prolly as much a lock as freeman. most of the roles u consider female centric happened earlier in his career and i feel since his career restart in 2004 has shown levels he didnt or could not reach in movies like Last of the Mohicans and Age of Innocence.

NATHANIEL R said...

cal --- if Cotillard goes lead, it will cost her the nod. and i'm pretty sure they'll know this so i doubt it.

they did beef up her role but calling it a lead is still a stretch and there's definitly enough contenders to fill out a best actress roster already.

billybil the people who are "idealistic" are the ones in the media that keep expecting the academy to totally change their tastes to suit the box office results. They've been proven wrong every year and yet they keep trying to convince the public that the academy is going to soon nominate movies like star trek and the hangover.

why on earth would they do this? it's the same 6000 people it was last year give or take...

as for harry potter. i stand firm in my belief that franchise pictures can't make it unless the original did (with the dark knight being the final proof of that)

patrick i'll believe that orson welles release date when it happens ;) it's taken forever.

jake mostly i have Depp in there because the best actor crowd is weak weak weak this year... i think the studios behind the HOLBROOK and BRIDGES pictures would be CRAZY to wait till 2010. In a weak field, go for those career honor statuettes.

Carl said...

I think a good case can still be made for "Avatar" in the Best Picture field. If Cameron has retained his Midas touch with box-office-friendly fare, this could put up impressive numbers early. The 3-D work appears to be genuinely breakthrough, and the film appears to be set for accolades in several technical categories (I think you may be missing a bet with art direction, but I do not know how that branch feels about CGI-heavy filmmaking). One of the last movies to come up with game-changing technical breakthoughs, huge box office and a collection of technical nominations was "Star Wars". That is the model I see for "Avatar", despite its December start ("Star Wars" was one of the early 'summer blockbuster' trend setters.)

Actually, I like your entire 11 through 15 (if "Biutiful" gets released) better than your current 6 through 10. All subject to change, of course, once America sees them.

billybil said...

Thanks Nate - that makes perfect sense and is reassuring.

Gilidor said...

You rank 25 potential Best Actress contenders and still no love for Zooey Deschanel? As far as I'm concerned, if the Oscars were tomorrow, she'd WIN in this category.

Marsha Mason said...

Why is Connelly getting killed? "Creation" is premiering at TIFF. Is buzz terrible?

They should have cast ole Marsha Mason. I kind of look like a 150-year-old Galapagos Turle!

Jeremy said...

I would like to second the Anonymous commenter who suggested that Depp and Day-Lewis should be flipped on your rankings.

There may be something to your "female-centric" theory, but it's also worth noting that all four of his nominations coincided with the film's being nominated for Best Picture. And all the times he wasn't nominated, neither was the film for Best Picture. So if you have Nine on the Best Picture list, I'd put Daniel Day-Lewis on the top five.

(And with four nominations over his last nine films, isn't Day-Lewis more of an "Oscar regular" than Depp?)

Lastly, as to the "franchise pictures can't make it unless the original did": I'd like to stand up for The Silence of the Lambs as the second film in the Hannibal Lecter franchise (Manhunter going unrecognized). Then again, I also like to tell people that The Lion in Winter is the sequel to Becket.

Sam Dodsworth said...

I still don't understand pushing Saoirse Ronan into Supporting. I get it that people like Mary Badham and Tatum O'Neal went there in the past for lead roles, but Saoirse Ronan is an older, more well-known, and more respected actress than those two were.

Also, she's a previous nominee, and everyone seems to agree it's a lead role... plus look at Keisha Castle-Hughes and the category controversy with Kate Winslet last year (concerning the studio pushing her for supporting, which might not even happen)

And I'm just going to throw it out there again that I think Cairo Time will be a big success after Toronto. It could be a contender for Best Actress or Screenplay, if not more (as long as it's good of course)

billybil said...

Just to throw my 2 cents into the ring - here are my 10 best pic predictions right now and the other nominations I think they might get:

Amelia: Pic, Actress, Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume, O. Score

Avatar: Pic, Edit, Art Dir (too much CGI???), MakeUp, Visual FX, O Score, Sound Mix, Sound FX

An Education: Pic, Actress, S. Actor, A.Screenplay

Hurt Locker: Pic, Dir, O Screenplay (?), Editing, S FX

Invictus: Pic, Dir, Actor, A Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Dir

Lovely Bones (this is the real "if" to me right now - this counld be a fail): Pic, Dir, S. Actor, S. Actress (Ronan), S. Actress (Weisz - not Sarandon), A Screenplay, Cinematography

Nine (this could me a miss too, I guess): Pic, Dir, Actor, Cinematography, Editing, Art Dir, Costume, Song, Sound Mix

Precious: Pic, Dir(!!), Actress, S. Actress, A Screenplay, Song(?)

Up: Pic, O Screenplay, O Score

Up in the Air (right now seems more likely than Informant or Men Who Stare at Goats): Pic, Actor, A Screenplay

NoNo said...

Am I the only one who thinks Amelia will be the film to crash and burn or is that just wishful thinking?

cal roth said...

I think Ronan goes supporting and Weisz goes lead. From things I've been reading, Ronan's part is an observer: the real drama is about her parents.

Jorge Rodrigues said...

If they don't change it too much from the book, she's the lead.

In the book, the story also revolves around her family but always concerning her point of view.

But as much as I'd like Ronan to win for this performance, I also think the studio will campaign Weisz for lead and Ronan for supporting.

Anonymous said...

Wouldnt "amelia" be this years crash?

Jorge Rodrigues said...

God I hope not!

rubi-kun said...

Something which might not have crossed people's minds: since Avatar is mostly CGI, if the CGI takes up 75% of the film and assuming there's been a lot of professional animator touch-ups rather than just straight-up mo-cap it could be eligible for Best Animated Feature. Would make both that category and Best Picture more interesting if both it and Up are nominated in both categories to allow for some actual competition.

I also think you're really underestimating Where The Wild Things Are. At the very least, the directors branch loves Spike Jonze and he has a better chance in that category than Lars Von Trier (Antichrist will NEVER get nominated for anything). And, you know, when I saw District 9 the other night, it actually sort of reminded me of Slumdog Millionaire in a way, and it did receive huge applause at the Academy's screening, so I figure at least Editing and Screenplay are solid chances if not a flat-out Best Picture steal.

Sean said...

They let Weisz's character say a whole 3 words in the trailer...and i guess alot of her main subplot got left out of the adaptation...supporting for sure....Ronan will be lead.

Sean said...

Also, things could get more interesting if Peter Weir's The Way Back gets a confirmed 2009 release...Weir's lost Best Director, what like 4 or 5 times?...perhaps its his time?... And that cast looks killer...Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Saoirse Ronan, Colin Farrell, and Mark Strong...

cal roth said...

I doubt this Ronan nomination: observing doesn't give you Oscars. Will she cry and weep alone in Heaven for her family? Grief gives people Oscars. Go Weisz!

Jim T said...

Why do you want Amelia to fail? I wish every film is as good as possible because I want to live in a world of good films.

My best actress nominnes I'd like to see:

Ronan (or in supporting)
Streep
Mulligan
Swank (please, prove to us you are a great actress so that your 2 Oscars don't seem as bad as they do)
Pfeiffer (or Watson)

Jim T said...

I also want Mirren in supporting. She is not an only 3 times nominee actress. She deserves more. It's not like she's 40. She doesn't have a lot of time. I don't mean to be bleak. :p

Sean said...

I think you can remove Peter Capaldi from your chart. I loved the film and his performance, and I'd probably put him on a Best Supporting Actor shortlist, but I can't see the American public or the Oscars embracing the film.

brandz said...

i'm surprised emma thompson isn't even on your radar in the supportung actress category for 'an education'. aslo, i think it's meryl's year this time around. i think of all the many years of movie enjoyment she has given us, the wonderful performances, the numerous nominations and 25+ years since a win.

NATHANIEL R said...

brandz i really loved Emma in an education but the reason she's not there is she has only two scenes (and brief ones at that) and i think that might be tough traction wise. Plus Carey Mulligan might be all anybody thinks of when they think of their love for the film (though the whole cast is pretty good)

Iron Knight said...

Thanks for the predictions Nate.

I really think DD Lewis will get a nod for Best Actor. And I kind of doubt Up will get a nomination for Best Picture (WALL-E was a superior film). And I could also change the Up in the Air spot in Best Pic for Amelia. Generally, I think this year looks weak in many categories...

Rob said...

Nathaniel, I'm disgusted by the fact that you still haven't seen IN THE LOOP. Seriously, this should be next on your list.

M.L. said...

Would the Academy consider it "too soon" for Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, and Penelope Cruz? It's kind of unfortunate that so many potentially good performances this year are given by actors that have won VERY recently, thus dimming their chances slightly.

It's actually kind of a shame that Cruz won last year for VCB as she's been getting a lot of positive early buzz for ,Nine and she also has Broken Embraces.

This is definitely shaping up to be the perfect year for Meryl to pick up her third Oscar given the weak state of the category and the overall sentiment that she's "overdue", especially considering that her strongest competition is from relatively unknown actresses.

This may be a darkhorse or way premature, but what about Rodirigo Garcia's Mother and Child with Annette Benning and Naomi Watts that's being unveiled at TIFF? This is a female centered drama that originally had a 2010 release date, but seems to be hitting the upcoming festival circuit in perhaps in a bid to obtain distribution for a release this year for awards consideration? If Benning has a lead role and gives a strong performance, perhaps we'll see another Swank-Benning showdown?

NATHANIEL R said...

ML bite your tongue! ;) no more Bening vs. Swank... although I'll definitely take Bening vs. anyone else. and it's NOT a shame that Cruz won last year. that performance was so good. the rare example of a star winning at the right time while they're at their peak, quality wise (which i assume will prove to be 2006-2009 when all is said and done)

Towelie said...

I'm glad to see Avatar falling, because having seen the pre-screening, that looks really really bad. I don't even like the CGI, it all looks fake and stupid. Even though Transformers 2 was really bad, it has the best visual effects.

As for the Animated Feature, I don't know if Monsters vs. Aliens will really get in. Do people even remember that? Last year we had Kung Fu Panda, but that was actually a good fun movie. This is very kid friendly and just "meh...". I'm pretty sure Coraline is ahead of it, and I hope Ponyo is ahead of it aswell.

Matt said...

Nate, I'm surprised you don't have Bruno Delbonnel as a Top 15 contender for his critically hailed cinematography in Harry Potter 5.

Anonymous said...

The only big miss I see on your Actor chart is Patton Oswald for Big Fan. Other than that, good work on your lists.

Jerry said...

@patrick did you see the New York Times preview of Me and Orson Welles? You might appreciate the author's commentary on McKay's performance http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/movies/13durbin.html