Every week between now and January 25 when the nominations are announced, movies and stars will help themselves — or sometimes, hurt themselves — in the Oscar race.
For the fifth week (last week's post right here), we continue our coverage of Vulture's Oscar Futures to find out who's up, who's down, and who's currently leading the race for a coveted nomination – only significant change is “Another Year” falling off the radar with “The Fighter” claiming its spot back, and Natalie Portman stronger than ever.
This week, I’ll start adding more categories for predictions – we’ll begin with Foreign Film, and everyone can say if they saw any interesting foreign movies this year. For next week, which would you rather see first, predictions for Documentary or Screenplay?
UP: Toy Story 3. "We have the biggest and best reviewed film of the year. If not this year, and not this movie, when?" wonders Disney chairman Rich Ross. It's not completely out of the question, says Tom O'Neil. (umm, okay then. That will happen.)
Down:Another Year. Dave Karger downgrades it to long-shot status. Nice new trailer, though.
CURRENT PREDIX: 127 Hours,
UP: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan. As buzz on Swan (and especially Natalie Portman) grows, Aronofsky tells David Poland his next movie won't be the stinker you're expecting: "I'm being hired [for Wolverine 2] to do what I always do." Good news.
DOWN: Tom Hooper, The King's Speech. Even if Speech wins Best Picture, as many think it will, most are still predicting Fincher will win here. Hooper needs to take it up a notch.
CURRENT PREDIX: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan; Danny Boyle, 127 Hours; David Fincher, The Social Network; Tom Hooper, The King's Speech; Christopher Nolan, Inception.
UP: Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter. A huge wet kiss from 60 Minutes last night.
DOWN: Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network. People are still talking about the movie and its supporting performances, but excitement over Eisenberg seems to have cooled way down.
CURRENT PREDIX: Javier Bardem, Biutiful; Jeff Bridges, True Grit; Robert Duvall, Get Low; Colin Firth, The King's Speech; James Franco, 127 Hours.
UP: Natalie Portman, Black Swan. Following Swan's AFI Fest premiere, she's officially the front-runner. Tom O'Neil and Steve Pond try to gin up the competition between her and Annette Bening, but both sound like they think Portman's got it.
DOWN: Lesley Manville, Another Year. Jeff Wells, who doesn't think she has a chance in lead, mounts a campaign to get her to switch to supporting.
CURRENT PREDIX: Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right; Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole; Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone; Lesley Manville, Another Year; Natalie Portman, Black Swan.
UP: Christian Bale, The Fighter. The cover of the new Esquire says this race is all over.
DOWN: Michael Douglas, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Now here's a campaign we haven't heard much about lately. "Was it all a joke?" wonders Stu Vanairsdale.
CURRENT PREDIX: Christian Bale, The Fighter; Armie Hammer, The Social Network; Ed Harris, The Way Back; Sam Rockwell, Conviction; Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech. (lol at their Hammer insistence)
UP: Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech. The Gurus o' Gold have her pretty far in the lead. Also, is she due for a "career-tribute" Oscar?
DOWN: Miranda Richardson, Made in Dagenham. The movie's unimpressive first weekend might not bode well.
CURRENT PREDIX: Helena Bonham-Carter, The King's Speech; Melissa Leo, The Fighter; Miranda Richardson, Made in Dagenham; Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit; Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom.
Eligible Movies and rules: This year, we have 65 films, each selected as the sole entry from its country, in contention for a spot in the final five.
AMPAS breaks the unwieldy process into four different color groups: Red, White, Green, and Blue with each section assigned 16 films (although RED gets an extra one as it is currently laid out). Screenings for the large volunteer committees began in October with the Canadian entry Incendies and end Thursday January 13 with a 9:40 PM screening of Latvia’s Hong Kong Confidential (not to be confused with Hong Kong’s Echoes Of The Rainbow screening November 12). After this 3-month process is completed, and the top six scoring movies are selected, another uber-Academy committee presided over by Foreign Language committee head Mark Johnson will choose 3 more movies from the initial 65 entries. Then these 9 films will be judged by specially selected groups in LA and NY who will whittle the list down to the 5 official contenders. After years of controversy over glaring omissions from the big committee like Brazil’s City Of God among others, the Academy reverted to this 3-step nomination process in order to protect some of the more internationally well-regarded, but perhaps edgier, entries from embarrassing slights in the Oscar process.
You can see the full list of nominees over here:
And over here, what each which group got assigned to watch: Full List at the Bottom
CURRENT PREDICTIONS: MEXICO's dark drama, "Biutiful", starring Javier Bardem as a man who only has months to live and SOUTH AFRICA village AIDS drama, "Life Above all", are both considered favorites to make the shortlist. South Africa's film got a 10-minute standing ovation at Cannes, and is the sort of sentimental drama that the traditional Oscar voters really go for....Another South African AIDS drama, "Yesterday", got an Oscar nomination with weaker reviews. A young girl and her sick mother face prejudice from their traditional community. It's one of the first features made in Sepedi, South Africa's fifth most spoken language. While a lot of people say the film is too dark and dismal, Mexico's "Biutiful" has the benefit of a strong Best Actor campaign for Javier Bardem, and it's famous names may entitle it to a spot on the three-film shortlist from the elite committee even if it's too much of a downer for the big committee.
CANADA’S "Incendies" , which tells the story of two Canadian twins of Lebanese descent- a boy and a girl- that learn after their mother's death of a long-lost brother who was somehow left behind in Lebanon. This movie, based on an acclaimed play, has great reviews, positive buzz, and comes from a country that the Oscar committee has really liked recently. It’s in.
Closing up, we have a couple of festival favorites – TURKEY’S "Honey", the Berlinale winner about a child that becomes silent after his father disappears while out to fetch honey. This is the final piece of a trilogy about a man's life, and what's interesting is that it was told backwards so this is about his childhood. Another favorite, this time at Cannes, and likely final contender, is FRANCE’S "Of Gods and Men", based on an incident in which seven French monks, who had previously lived in harmony with the Muslim population, were allegedly executed during the Algerian Civil War.
Other Possibilities : Germany's WHEN WE LEAVE, Peru's CONTRACORRIENTE (UNDERTOW), Iraq's SON OF BABYLON and Czech Republic's KAWASAKI'S ROSE. THAILAND’S Apichatpong Weerasethakul is always an art-house favorite, with his Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives becoming the first Thai film to win the Palm D’Or, this year. That said, many feel the film’s red-eyed monkey ghosts aren’t necessarily going to be a big hit with many of the Academy’s conservative viewers, and are choosing to leave the movie out of their predictions for now.
Source: NY Mag
Additional sources: 1, 2, 3