Friday, October 08, 2010

Oscar Chart Revisions: Best Picture and Director

For as much as the internet would like you to think it's all figured out by now -- "The Social Network vs. The King's Speech: To the Death!" -- in truth, things are never settled in early October. I think 6 films are still looking solid for inclusion in the magic 10. But things can always change.

An awkward moment in the Academy's waiting room.

Anywayyyy, Check out the Best Picture Chart which gets a shake-up in both order, text, and predictions: Two new films enter the top ten and two timid "eligibility" releases exit. Just a hunch but I don't think this is a year for timid qualifying releases given how much of the conversation the top six films have already hogged. They're not budging. Who will be bold enough to challenge them?

Best Director is also revised. More Oscar updates over the weekend and a new episode of "Best Pictures From the Outside In." No fooling. We're finished.

27 comments:

vatz said...

I haven't seen "The Town," but considering the B.O. and critical response, it's more than a long-shot, non?

John said...

as much as all the articles and press agents keep saying, 'IT'S NOT A FACEBOOK MOVIE - IT HAS SUBSTANCE'. i still keep thinking of it as a the facebook movie and in 20 years we'll look back and say, hm 2010 - the year facebook took over the world and the oscars. how sad. i wish i had been alive when casablanca won.

cal roth said...

Great we'll have Best Pictures From The Outside In to chew.

James T said...

Again, excellent work!

I don't know if I agree on all of your picks but I don't know if I disagree either.

Should I ask you to share some thoughts on Meek's Cutoff and Another Year or you're planning to write at Tribeca about them? If so, at least something about Williams's and Manville's performances? You were obviously less impressed by the films than most were, but is the same true re: the perfs?

And, at last!!, Best Pictures From The Outside In! Can't wait!!

Andrew R. said...

Let's see.

SAFELY IN:
1. Social Network
2. King's Speech
3. Inception-so far, my favorite movie of the year, but I haven't seen Social Network.
4. Toy Story 3
5. Kids Are All Right

I don't think these require explanations.

VERY LIKELY:
6. 127 Hours-it will likely move to the first category when it debuts. But there is Into the Wild's failure to consider. And the gross out factor.
7. Another Year-Still in the race IMO. We've had weirder release dates. But yeah, Leigh will probably not be a contender.
8. True Grit-the trailer is a wow, but Westerns are such an iffy genre.

GOOD LUCK:
9. The Fighter-Just doesn't seem very big.
10. Secreteriat-Sadly, the reviews have been about as good as Blind Side. Ebert raved over it, too. Yurgh.
11. Black Swan-I hope so. I really hope so. C'mon! Nominate it!
12. Winter's Bone-deserves a slot so far, but no momentum AT ALL.

I DON'T SEE IT HAPPENING:
Way Back-Uh, one week and no momentum/marketing/ANYTHING. Good luck.

Rabbit Hole-What with iffy release dates until now, it's a little unlikely.

Love and Other Drugs-I think Hathaway is in, but the movie? Ehhhhhh...

The Town-he's not at Eastwood's level by a long shot. But it is quite good. Still not Academy friendly.

Somewhere-Golden Lion despite mixed reviews means a small chance. Very small.

monkey said...

Hey nathanial what about For Colored Girls?

Jorge Rodrigues said...

At this time, like I said, I really feel, like Nathaniel, there isn't a frontrunner just yet.

"The Social Network", like "Inception" before it, will garner a lot of praise, sure, but A LOT of backlash too. And if I had to pick one of the two current power horses of the race to win the prize, "The King's Speech" SCREAMS Oscar winner much more than "The Social Network".

This being said, I am dumbfounded at how "127 Hours" is being able to cruise through the Oscar race without any significant criticism, everyone always assuming it is IN. I know everyone loves Boyle now after "Slumdog Millionaire", but this film seems much more "Trainspotting"-y to me than "Slumdog Millionaire"-y - it's not a crowdpleaser by no means. It can do well, but I have my doubts.

Another film I'm going to single out is "Secretariat". I'm growing tired of everyone assuming it's in the race. WHY? I know it has everything Oscar likes but... Are we forgetting this is Disney + Diane Lane + John Malkovich (not at all in the Oscar favorites' bunch) AND we are assuming it's a top-10 pick just because it's about horses?

The race, as I see it:

VERY LIKELY
The Social Network
The King's Speech

LIKELY (ASSUMING THEY FARE WELL)
The Fighter
True Grit

COULD GO EITHER WAY, BUT HAVE THE STATUS AND FANBASE TO PULL IT OFF
Inception
Toy Story 3
The Kids Are All Right
127 Hours
Another Year
Winter's Bone

DIFFICULT TO PREDICT
Get Low
Made in Dagenham
Black Swan
The Town
Somewhere

EVERYONE KEEPS ASSUMING THEY'RE IN THE RACE
Rabbit Hole
Secretariat
Love and Other Drugs

EVERYONE KEEPS ASSUMING THEY'RE OFF THE RACE
Conviction
Shutter Island
Hereafter
The Way Back
Never Let Me Go
Fair Game

At the moment, I think Inception, Toy Story 3, The King's Speech and The Social Network are safe bets, 127 Hours and True Grit are good bets too. The rest of the field is... complicated to guess. The Fighter, if good, will probably be here, given the project size. I can't count out Never Let Me Go just yet, as well as Conviction and Hereafter. I imagine The Town, as a manly movie, will have a lot of votes too (and can be an option for the last spots on the top-10), and The Kids Are All Right, since it gathered a lot of early praise and joins two of the most revered actresses in Hollywood today, will be another good option.

What I don't get is the heavy betting on Another Year and Made in Dagenham. How many Mike Leigh movies were embraced by the Academy? And how many Brit comedies as light as this one have made the cut (even considering that the Sally Hawkins snub is a good counterweapon, won't they feel more obligated to honor the actress, not the movie - this is the complete opposite of Inception, which if they feel that honoring Nolan will be tough, they can always acknowledge the movie)?

Hmm. I have serious doubts.

NATHANIEL R said...

vatz -- i just... i dunno. it seems to me that Ben Affleck will one day get the Clint Eastwood spot: solid director who everyone worships because intrinsically we worship movie stars. But i'm guessing they'll make him pay a few more dues. plus a heist movie just seems... i dunno. too generic for them to really go for it.

john -- maybe you're right. i don't think it's a safe bet for a win or anything but i do think it's now a lock for a nomination.

james t -- i'm still chewing over my reaction to those two movies. i'll probably see ANOTHER YEAR again since I generally like Mike Leigh movies more than I did here. But, even if i liked it more the films of his that the academy have embraced have had very strong (if still completely character-driven) narrative arcs. Another Year is more like 4 observational vignettes and I'm just not sure about Oscar's response. We'll see. Obviously i wanted to join this party as i love his style and troupe but it just didn't quite work for me in a big way. Good movie for sure though.

andrew r -- no momentum? how could it really have momentum yet? (winter's bone) it needs precursors and top ten lists. But given its legginess at the box office and IF it gets a strong campaign. We'll see.

Jorge -- maybe you're right about 127 hours. One thing that's interesting about this year's race is that apart from Secretariat and The Kings Speech and Another Year the contestant do seem to all be skewing rather young whether it's through cast, storyline, genre, or modernity.

eventually i'll start complaining as I do but right now I am actually really excited to see how this develops. I can see that we all might be surprised.

monkey -- i know i've been neglecting talking about that one. Must rectify.

cici said...

John - your ridiculous attitude doesn't help. i'm guessing you haven't seen it either.

Rich Aunt Pennybags said...

Hey nathanial what about For Colored Girls?

Yes, I was wondering the same thing. There are some definite question marks because of Tyler Perry, but I think as long as he sticks to the original material, he should do a decent enough job. I think it's a good sign though that they did move the date up. I also think that at least one actress can make it into the supporting actress race because there's no clear frontrunner yet like there was last year. There might even be a double nomination in that category from this movie just because only HBC seems really solid in the supporting actress category at this moment since many of the other names at the moment seem to be too unknown and/or in too small of films right now.

This being said, I am dumbfounded at how "127 Hours" is being able to cruise through the Oscar race without any significant criticism, everyone always assuming it is IN. I know everyone loves Boyle now after "Slumdog Millionaire", but this film seems much more "Trainspotting"-y to me than "Slumdog Millionaire"-y - it's not a crowdpleaser by no means. It can do well, but I have my doubts.

I agree about 127 Hours although I finally put it into my top 10 predictions a few weeks ago after being reluctant to do so because it seemed like every other Oscar prognosticator had in their top 5 not just top 10 Best Picture predictions. I'm still very hesitant because Into the Wild seemed to have a lot going for it too, but it ended up missing in the end. I can see the justification that because Boyle just won they might nominate him again right away because a lot of times winners end up making crap right after, but as I've thought from the beginning, he's never been an Oscar pet although he could be just like PSH became one after he finally won his Oscar.

I disagree about Secretariat though. Well even before the reviews, after seeing a still of Diane Lane here at The Film Experience back during the summer I think, I just got the instantaneous feeling that Lane would be nominated for Best Actress. I really didn't think about Best Picture, but when the first positive reviews came out, I began to think like a lot of other people that it did seem like the perfect mix of Seabiscuit + The Blind Side, and with there being 10 spots now, it seemed like a good bet since I could see a lot of the conservative voters ranking it up high because it was a safe movie for them. I don't know if it will do as well as those other two films at the box office, but I think it has to be seen as a hit in order to be nominated.

Julian Stark said...

Am I the only person that has a sneaking suspicion that The Kids Are All Right is going to win Best Picture?

Brady said...

Julian - probably. It won't.

My list goes something like (in order of definiteness)

1. The King’s Speech
2. 127 Hours
3. The Social Network
4. Inception
5. Another Year
6. The Kids Are All Right
7. Toy Story 3
8. True Grit
9. The Fighter
10. Black Swan

I really think Another Year has the writing and the directing. Mike Leigh is a perennial favorite and he hasn't been honored yet.

Black Swan is going to need box office, Natalie Portman, and something else strong like cinematography or score.

screenday.wordpress.com

cal roth said...

When AMPAS changed the rule to make a lineup eith 10 movies, I thought we'd see a foreign nominee every year, but it's not happening.

cal roth said...

It must have been a bad day for you, a Clint & Swank hater.

tony rock said...

I think it's silly when ppl say "well Into the Wild didn't make the cut." Yes, in a 5-slot field, it didn't make it. But I guarantee in a 10-wide field it would have. So, sorry, but you just can't compare 127 Hours or any movie in this race to films released during 5-wide years. There is no comparison because the circumstances become different when there's 5 more slots. This is obvious and shouldn't have to be said, but people keep forgetting it anyways.

NATHANIEL R said...

cal -- i think the foreign film nominated for Best Picture isn't happening anymore because the preferred tactic is now to release yourself the year after you get all the rave reviews. (sigh)

tony -- agreed on Into the Wild being in "the ten". I think that Editing nomination was telling. Editing is a hard nomination to get unless you're either a well loved action picture or a Best Picture nominee. Since it was neither...

Volvagia said...

The 5 in 07:

No Country
There Will Be Blood
Juno
Michael Clayton
Atonement

The Additional 5:

Definitely:

Into the Wild (Editing nom, even though it's not an action movie.)
The Diving Bell and The Butterfly (4 noms, including director)
Ratatouille (Until we know otherwise, Pixar's always getting in if we're guessing at the 10 slot field.)
Sweeney Todd (3 noms, plus Burton's status as "pop auteur.")

Battling for Final Slot:

The Savages
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
The Bourne Ultimatum
Away From Her

Volvagia said...

And, personally, I'd say drop Secretariat. Things like Secretariat need 3 things: 1. A 60% minimum score on RT. 2. High ticket sales. 3. A later release than EARLY OCTOBER, to make sure the Academy members don't have a long time to make their decision on what it's worth. It could get 2, and has 1, but it's release means it doesn't have 3. (If you don't believe me: The Blind Side was released a month and a half later. Even then, it probably got in by the skin of it's teeth.)

Volvagia said...

If an animation director is going to get nominated, it's going to one of the "name" animation directors. Pixar has got a solid stable, but no specific director stands out above any other. I'm thinking of Selick (4 pictures and, although 2 (James and the Giant Peach and Monkeybone) have problems, you can't say they don't look great), Miyazaki or Bakshi if that Last Days of Coney Island thing ever gets released.

OtherRobert said...

I really don't think the rise of sci-fi last year was some new Academy trend. Aren't there enough effects, editing, and other technically minded people in the Academy to garner a good bit of Number 1 votes for tech-heavy films? With a 10-wide field, it just seems like it's actually going to shake out to allow some genre pictures to sneak in but have no chance of taking the top prize.

I find it hard to imagine that films like Pan's Labyrinth, Amelie, or even Aliens that landed surprising nominations (in quantity and category) wouldn't have snuck in had the field always been 10-wide. The sci-fi/genre support is strong enough to get nominations but not strong enough to guarantee wins unless the film is so critically and commercially successful it can't be ignored.

Danielle said...

Wow, losing faith in Another Year, eh? It's been through the festival circuit and won pretty great reviews.. I don't see it missing out. Also think The Way Back is too emotional/epic of a story + Weir's overdo factor to be left out. I think these two should replace Winter's Bone and The Fighter (the latter looks horrible and cheesy... can't see AMPAS going for it).

The other 8 we agree on!

Arkaan said...

Nathaniel, one thing that Another Year has going for it would be I can imagine it playing VERY well to older crowds. Indeed, much of the film is concerned with how you live after you're past the "mid-life" phase. The vignettes will strike a chord (wanting to see your adult child settle down,

Volvagia, Secretariat needs to be Seabiscuit. It is Seasbiscuit.

That said, I'm not convinced on 127 Hours OR The Kids Are All Right. Right now, I think

The King's Speech
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
---
Another Year
Inception
Rabbit Hole
Secretariat
The Way Back
--
Black Swan
The Fighter

Now, I don't actually think Black Swan will make it in.

Also, Blue Valentine just got an NC-17. What for? Who knows.

NATHANIEL R said...

arkaan -- BIZARRE. I've seen Blue Valentine and i can't imagine why it would get an NC-17. There's a couple of sex scenes but it's nothing gratuitous at all as I recall. I mean i didn't see any peen and I don't even remember seeing Michelle Williams breasts. WEIRD.Unless i am having a bad case of faulty memory (always possible)

NATHANIEL R said...

Danielle -- i don't know. it's those release dates that are making me lose faith and what i said about it being a vignette non-story film. I can't remember when they've ever gone for a movie like that. Secrets and Lies and Vera Drake both had very tightly confined story arcs.

But it's mostly the release date. Those last second Dec 31st releases (Another Year) almost never pay off and the one-week qualifiers (The Way Back) rarely score oustide of acting nominations... which they do get if the actors are either famous or hard to ignore for some reason -- usually biopic focused.

Volvagia -- i'm with Arkaan on this one. There's nothing wrong with October releases. They get in fairly often.

And if anything THE BLIND SIDE would have gotten even more nominations had it opened in October... because it was a film that kept building. At first people weren't taking it seriously but then it just kept winning new fans and more spectacular box office. Had that opened in late December I don't think we would have seen the Best Picture nod since people would have still been like "are you serious?"... that film had the advantage of being a surprise and then showing legs at the box office. You can't show legs at the box office that help with nominations unless you open earlier than nominations ;)

and again i'd like to go on record as saying that the RT % scores mean very little when it comes to Oscars. The past two years or so people have been very very obsessed with those scores but they really don't have any direct correlation -- partially because the system is so bizarre. Since if youre a tomato-meter critic (as i am) you either have to vote fresh or rotten and you may not vote inbetween. So even if you only mildly dislike or mildly like something it counts as a resounding NO or a resounding YES. so the percentages, if you ask me, are deeply flawed.

Andrew R. said...

@Nate-There's also the buzz factor, which Winter's Bone most certainly does not have.

For Colored Girls will probably play into the acting categories (I say that Janet Jackson for Lead and Loretta Devine for Supporting are definite possibilities), but Picture, Director, and especially Screenplay seem unlikely.

Now for Director. Before I begin, I want to say they really should expand the Director race as well.

I say Fincher, Nolan, Hooper, and Boyle are locked in as of now. That fifth slot...hmm.

Possibilities include Cholodenko (did Bigelow break the curse or not?), Mike Leigh and the Coens (fanbases need to rally), O'Russell (just seems unlikely), and Aronofsky (what with love for The Wrestler, he will have to get noticed EVENTUALLY).

I'll go with either Coens or Cholodenko.

And the Blue Valentine NC17 rating makes me furious. I ranted about it for quite a bit.

Rob T. said...

So far I've seen and enjoyed 4 of your 10 predicted "best picture" movies--Toy Story 3, The Kids Are Alright, Winter's Bone and Inception--and agree on the likelihood of all of them except Winter's Bone. (Which I'd love to see nominated, but suspect it's more likely to get an acting or screenplay nomination if not both.) The Social Network will likely be the next movie I see in a theater, partly because it looks genuinely interesting and partly because I'm curious as to what all the fuss is about.

I'm still a little suspicious of what strikes me, from a distance, as the "prestige picture"-ness of
both The Social Network and The King's Speech. As potential "best picture" winners, neither seems to fit well next to a narrative labyrinth like Crash or a feel-good visual treat like Slumdog Millionaire.

Perhaps I'm looking at this the wrong way, though; perhaps movies like Crash and Slumdog Millionaire are the aberrations and The Social Network and The King's Speech represent a return to the status quo, as today's hot filmmakers learn to make "prestige pictures" that today's audiences want to see. If the Academy continues to prefer what I think of as more "purely cinematic" movies, however, then both The Kids Are Alright and Inception may have a better shot at the top than most people think right now.

cal roth said...

I think the Coens will be nominated. And Hooper is obviously the weak link - that Atonement/Finding Neverland/Elizabeth/Sense of Sensibility slot, the prestige British nominee that gets shafted in Best Director.