Monday, December 28, 2009

The Ballots Are Coming! The Ballots Are Coming!

Ballots for the 82nd annual Oscars went out to the nearly 6,000 AMPAS members today. So anything happening right now is GOLD. What'll be on their mind when they open up those ballots in a day or three? How many screeners did they make it through over the holiday break or will they just vote for their friends and their friend's friends again? My predictions in all categories have been updated over the past week and I hope to investigate a couple of the fuzzy technical categories in more detail very soon.

The eligibility list is also available (a lot more films played in LA to qualify than I suspected here in NYC). Awards Daily points to a great reminder about the ballot math works. Though the accounting process is interesting I find it's best not to think about it too much. It's such a wormhole to another mentally loony dimension from which one may never return. The buzz is more reliable than these dizzying mathematical equations.

Here's the next juicy things on the awards calendar...
  • Dec 31st Online Film Critics Society nominees (I expect Sam Rockwell in Moon gets his first Best Actor mention)
  • Jan 3rd, National Society of Film Critics winners
  • Jan 5th, Producers Guild nominees
  • Jan 7th, Directors Guild nominees (this used to be very exciting since it was actually more telling about the future Best Picture lineup than it was the Director lineup. But with 10 nominees coming in Best Picture some of the magic will be over. I'm guessing we get: Bigelow, Cameron, Eastwood, Reitman and Tarantino)
what'chu waiting for?


brandz said...

Nathaniel, your original screenplay and adapted screenplay nominee predictions are identical. i think you need to adjust the adapted screenplay grouping. love all your other predictions, btw. mine pretty much fall in line with yours.


hmmm. i don't know what you're talking about. the page looks fine to me.

what is wrong exactly (i sometimes f*** up templates but these seem correct?)

brandz said...

when i click on original screenplay i see original screenplay predictions. when i click on adapted screenplay i see original screenplay predictions.


oh sorry... it's all on the same page. you just have to scroll down.

Marsha Mason said...

It's weird how that math works. If you thought aobut it and didn't follow year after year, you'd totally think tepid shit like "The Reader" and "Finding Neverland" would never get nom'd. No one would have them first, so they would be the first to be re-distributed. Tart shit like "Mulholland Dr." would stand a better shot at the Oscars than anything else.

So there must be enough tepid people who put the tepid shit at the top to keep it through the first few rounds, whereupon it racks up the third- and fourth-place votes from the first films to go and crosses the finish line before the tart films, which aren't anybody's third or fourth.

Odd how this intricately designed system gives us the same results as the Globes and SAGs, which I believe have much simpler balloting.

God how awesome would it be if they published all the rounds of voting!

-Marsha Mason, math whiz

brandz said...

oh, i get it now. a wee bit misleading but it's probably me too. not that computer literate. thanks for the clarification.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Mr Fox instead of Invictus for screenplay.

OtherRobert said...

Nine flopped pretty hard, didn't it? Will that be on the voters' minds? Or are they firmly in the pro-Rob Marshall camp? I mean, other than "Cinema Italiano" getting nominated and probably winning, what do we know will happen with Nine at the Oscars? I'm already trying to pretend I didn't know DDL or Marion Cotillard were in a film this year to lessen the disappointment, but that's not working.

On the plus side, Laurent and Kruger have a better shot at a nomination in Supporting Actress now, and Daniels for Director. I hope. Possibly. Maybe. My horses are basically out of the race: 9 was DOA; Nine was DOA; Good Hair didn't qualify for the Documentary bake off but is on the eligible film list; District 9 seems to be spinning its wheels shy of tech categories; and Coraline will be lucky to get in for Animated Feature. Only Precious is left, and that's probably only going to win for Supporting Actress, barring any unfortunate kitten burning incidents.

Alex said...

I'm looking at the eligibility list...I didn't think ANTICHRIST was eligible(?)

Dean said...

Yeah, Fantastic Mr. Fox has been nominated for Adapted Screenplay by the BFCA and has won from San Diego, San Francisco, and Utah film critics. Also District 9 was nominated by the Globes. I think both of those should be somewhere in your predictions.

Anonymous said...

I'm concerned about Nine. I personally loved it but critics aren't taking notice and it's flopping. It's so dissapointing, because it's so underrated. I think also think you're underestimating A Single Man. That's been doing pretty well with critics and I could see it taking Nine, A Serious Man or even Up's spot.

But back to Nine, I think it'll get a surprise nomination because the Academy will want to keep it's promise that the musical is back. I think everyone will be furious though for the haters, seeing as The Reader got in. But I love Nine so I hope for the best.

I'm predicting it for...

BEST ORIGINAL SONG - "Cinema Italiano"

Stephen said...

I'm hoping to see a 'Nine' snub in the acting categories. I think the performances are good (and in some cases really good), but isn't Rob Marshall so annoying (honestly, lose the It's All In My Head gimmick and try something new)?

That's not really fair to the actresses, I know, but none of them are in my Top 5 so I think it's okay. ;-)

For the record, my list looks like this:

1. Mo'Nique
2. Farmiga
3. Kruger
4. Moore
5. Wiig/Keener (I can't decide)

amir_uk said...

That eligibility list was great to flick through - thanks Nathaniel.

The big WTF for me was Frankie and Alice. I didn't think they'd want to bury Berry's chances in a one-week LA 2009 eligibility release. Must be awful. Hmm...

Which titles took you by surprise?

Guy said...

Not to be "that guy," but Sam Rockwell's first Best Actor mention was at the British Independent Film Awards!

(Sorry, I love the BIFAs, so I had to stand up for them... ;)

Victor S said...

Nine flopped the same way Memoirs of a Geisha did, and its probably have the same end: lots and lots of technicals nominations.
And with 10 nominees, even Memoirs a Geisha, as bas as it was, would have made the list based only on the year-long frontrunner status, the same thing is happening with Nine.
With 10 best picture spots you need 500 votes to be nominated, and I'm preety sure you can find about 50 Academy Members (or even more) on Nine's full credits.
Harvey is not letting it go away. If he somehow managed Best Picture nominations for Finding Neverland and The Reader with only 5 spots no way he's gonna drop the ball with 10 spots.

Glenn said...

Apparently only one movie that begins with the letter K was released in 2009. I'm not sure why, but that's an interesting stat.

Seeing Julia on there is depressing. At least if it had failed to be eligible then Tilda's snub wouldn't burn. Alas.

Antichrist qualifies because I think I read that the Academy recognises VOD is a viable release method IF it coincides with a cinema release. Hence Two Lovers is also eligible.

Fergie is the first name listed for Nine. Then Kate Hudson. That really does tickle me.

Robert said...

I'm still hoping for some surprises and I think AMPAS is usually good to deliver on them (last year it was The Reader. Before that Gilroy and Reitman. Before that Linney and Jones.) I second the suggestion that Nine is faltering at absolutely the wrong moment for it.

Liz said...

I don't see "Fish Tank" on the eligibility list. I know it isn't getting a stateside release until January, but did it get a qualifying run in L.A.?

Not that it has a chance or anything, just curious.

Liz said...

And the same goes for "A Prophet" as well.

I've always been a little fuzzy on the foreign language rules. Are foreign-language movies eligible that category first, and then all other categories the next year?

Paul said...

I'm pleasantly shocked by "Inglorious Basterds" reception. It's terribly uneven (from the A+ creme scene all the way to F for some of the 'Basterds' sequences) and I don't think it would work half as well on the small screen, so it's kind of interesting.
Otherwise I'm not particularly interested in hearing the same titles over and over. I'll catch up if "The Hurt Locker" actually wins the big price.

Robert said...

Also a good time to remember that the Oscar race isn't a race at all. Names who've been absent almost all season can still make it. It helps to be out front at this point, but it's not necessary.


Liz -- the way foreign films work is they're submitted for the foreign film category but get their US release the following year (as is often the case) it works like so.

they are eligible for every category in the following year (the year of their release) IF and only IF they were passed over for a Foreign Language Film nomination the year before.

So something like HERO which came to theaters after its submission for foreign film was not eligible in any category (despite the great technical achievements) because it had been nominated for Best Foreign Film.

This year if UN PROPHETE mysteriously doesn't show up as a "nominee" for FOREIGN FILM, it'll be eligible in all categories (except foreign film) next year.

THE WHITE RIBBON (since it got a qualifying release) is eligible for everything this year.

It does tend to be very confusing.


another good example in understanding it -- and the opposite case of HERO -- is "city of god".

it did not get nominated for foreign film when submitted (and critics were pissed) for 2002.It opened in January 2003 and was thus eligible for every category (except foreign film) in 2003 and shocked everyone to actually rack up the nominations 12 months later ;)

Robert said...

And another thing. Are we buying the whole "Avatar is now the front runner" thing?

Arkaan said...

NO, I'm definitely not buying the fanboy fueled "Avatar is the frontrunner."

NicksFlickPicks said...

@Nathaniel: I am not sure, but I thought that rule had changed, and that Foreign Film submissions were ineligible now whether or not they were ultimately nominated? Or are underfunded and duly pessimistic distributors just loath to make them eligible? Gomorrah and Everlasting Moments were passed over last year as finalists, got cinema releases in '09, and yet they aren't listed as eligible this year. Nor are Tulpan, Lion's Den, O'Horten, or Three Monkeys, which were all in the same situation. This isn't proof that the rules have changed, but I don't see a single example of one of last year's unnominated submissions proving eligible this year.

NicksFlickPicks said...

Also, 2007 submissions Silent Light and You, the Living which both got their much-delayed commercial runs in 2009 are not eligible.

Anonymous said...


You list Mulligan as receiving the BIFCA Award. Is this a typo? I've never heard of this organization. She did receive a nom for BFCA but what is BIFAC?

Just curious. Thanks.

Liz said...

Thanks so much, Nathaniel.

That whole thing seems so unnecessarily convoluted.

GFH said...

OFF-TOPIC: In your updated predictions, you say Carey Mulligan won an award called "BIFCA". I've googled it but couldn't find anything. Which award is that?


Nick... oops. i didn't notice that. Maybe that has changed. If it has than SONY PICTURES CLASSICS is looking terribly stupid for not releasing UN PROPHETE this year.

GFH... i'll have to fix that later. i'm not sure what i was typing . i definitely type too fast.

Liz said...

OK, I just looked at the Academy's rules on their site, and I think Nathaniel is still right, but Nick's point about movies like "Gomorrah" still holds:

"Motion pictures that are nominated for the Foreign Language Film award shall not be eligible for Academy Awards consideration in any category in any subsequent Awards year.

Submitted pictures that are not nominated for the Foreign Language Film award are eligible for Awards consideration in other categories in the subsequent year, provided the pictures begin their seven-day qualifying run in Los Angeles County during that calendar year."

Seriously, this is just stupid. Just release the damn movie!

The Know Nothing Know It All said...

I'm confused. I get that a film submitted for consideration in the foreign film category one year is not eligible for awards the following year, even if it gets a release. Here's my question, and anyone feel free to jump in and answer. Are the days gone where a film can get a foreign film nom and a best picture nom in the same year (a la "Crouching Tiger")? Also (and this is totally off-topic) but I've heard a rumor that the rules changed so that double nominations in directing (like Soderbergh) are no longer possible. Can anyone confirm or deny?

NicksFlickPicks said...

@KNKIA: I actually don't know if the stipulation about double-nominations has changed, but I don't think so. It's just that some categories like Director allow it and some like the acting categories don't. As for Foreign Films, there is no reason why a movie submitted and nominated in Best Foreign Film and commercially released in the U.S. during the same calendar year couldn't be nommed in both categories.

@Liz: If that's true, then my point about Gomorrah probably doesn't hold, because I'm pretty sure it didn't have a "qualifying" run in LA in '08; its commercial release was this year, as were those for all the other titles I mentioned. But I know a lot of distributors don't even bother to put independent and/or foreign titles up for awards when they feel like the chance for a nomination combined with the cost for any kind of advertising or campaign just isn't worth it.

Anonymous said...

James Cameron was also one of the editors for Avatar. That should be updated.

George P. said...

The biggest surprise on the list for me was "Frankie and Alice" as well. When DID Halle Berry's film finish filming and it got a one-week Los Angeles release?

Andrew R. said...

Now that Nine is screwed (so's Lovely Bones), I think the nominees for Best Picture are:

Up in the Air
Hurt Locker
An Education
Bright Star
Serious Man
Inglourious Basterds

None of these films are Oscar-y. Precious is female, Up in the Air is comedy, Hurt Locker is Iraq, Up is animated, Avatar is sci-fi, Basterds is Tarantino, Serious Man is Coen Bros, and the other 3 (Bright Star, An Education, Invictus) are just not good enough.