Friday, October 22, 2010

State of the Race: October Edition

Best Picture
Another Year
The Fighter
The Kids are All Right
The King's Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
The Way Back
Other Contenders: Black Swan, Made in Dagenham, For Colored Girls, The Town, Secretariat, Winter's Bone, Shutter Island, Blue Valentine, Never Let Me Go, Love & Other Drugs, Morning Glory, Rabbit Hole, How Do You Know, Fair Game
Commentary: Over the last several weeks, this race has started to shape up, as we continue to get more and more predictions that are starting to look the same. For now, it looks like the big battle may come down between The King's Speech and The Social Network, two vastly different films, yet both very popular. After that there are a few films whose stocks are either rising or remaining intact. The summer's three big contenders Inception, The Kids Are All Right, and Toy Story 3 have maintained theri buzz, and still look like strong contenders heading into the Fall. Some film festival favorites have also continued to generate some attention including Another Year and 127 Hours. The newest edition to the race is Peter Weir's The Way Back, which got great reviews, but had yet to find a distributor, then didn't have a release date, but has now been pushed into the race and is a strong contender. The last two contenders have yet to be seen, mostly. True Grit simply looks like a great project, and early word on The Fighter is that it is a good contender for the nomination, but not neccesarily the win. Of course that was from a money side, not a crtical side, so the word is still muted.

Best Director
Mike Leigh "Another Year"
Tom Hooper "The King's Speech"
Danny Boyle "127 Hours"
David Fincher "The Social Network"
Joel & Ethan Coen "True Grit"
Other Contenders: Lisa Cholodenko "The Kids Are All Right", Christopher Nolan "Inception", Darren Aronofsky "Black Swan", David O. Russel "The Fighter", Tyler Perry "For Colored Girls", Ed Zwick "Love & Other Drugs, Martin Scorsese "Shutter Island", James L. Brooks "How Do You Know"
Commentary: This one is still competetive as ever, with many contenders waiting in the wings to steal a spot. David Fincher and Tom Hooper seem like the two biggest contenders, as are their movies. Danny Boyle is popular, and his 127 Hours is getting rave reviews. I'm going with Coen Bros. simply because of their track record, although the movie could bomb, so you never know. The last spot is up in the air. Peter Weir should probably be on this list, but I still need some more word on The Way Back. I think its in for Picture, but Director is more intense. I went instead with previous nominee Mike Leigh who is loved by the Academy.

Best Actor
Jeff Bridges "True Grit"
Robert Duvall "Get Low"
Jesse Eisenberg "The Social Network"
Colin Firth "The King's Speech"
James Franco "127 Hours"
Other Contenders: Javier Bardem "Biutiful", Paul Giamatti "Barney's Version", Mark Whalberg "The Fighter", Kevin Spacey "Casino Jack", Jake Gylenhaal "Love & Other Drugs", Paul Rudd "How Do You Know", Ryan Gosling "Blue Valentine", Sean Penn "Fair Game"
Commentary: This one is surpringsly not as competetive as I think it is, although I could be completely misjudging it. Colin Firth and James Franco are probably the two leading contenders, but Robert Duvall is right behind them. Jeff Bridges is probably a shoo-in, but True Grit has to be good. I went with Jesse Eisenberg for the last spot, he may not be as good as say Sean Penn or Javier Bardem, but the movie's popularity may bring him into the mix.

Best Actress
Annette Benning "The Kids Are All Right"
Nicole Kidman "Rabbit Hole"
Leslie Manville "Another Year"
Julianne Moore "The Kids Are All Right"
Natalie Portman "Black Swan"
Other Contenders: Naomi Watts "Fair Game", Jennifer Lawrence "Winter's Bone", Sally Hawkins "Made in Dagenham", Anne Hathaway "Love & Other Drugs", Diane Lane "Secretariat", Michelle Williams "Blue Valentine", Carey Mulligan "Never Let Me Go", Hilary Swank "Conviction", Reese Witherspoon "How Do You Know"
Commentary: For the first time, I am moving Julianne Moore and Annette Benning both into the top five. If they let in Benning, they need to let in Moore. Leslie Manville is still in, although I'm convinced that pushing her for supporting would not only guarantee a nod, but maybe a win. Natalie Portman is still the best bet to knock off Bening for the top prize. Finally I went with former winner Nicole Kidman who is supposed to be great in Rabbit Hole.

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale "The Fighter"
Ed Harris "The Way Back"
Andrew Garfield "The Social Network"
Mark Ruffalo "The Kids Are All Right"
Geoffrey Rush "The King's Speech"
Other Contenders: Justin Timberlake "The Social Network, Sam Rockwell "Conviction", John Malkovich "Secretariat", Matt Damon "True Grit", Jeremy Renner "The Town", Colin Farrell "The Way Back", Bill Murray "Get Low", Jack Nicholson "How Do You Know", Dustin Hoffman "Barney's Version"
Commentary: Geoffrey Rush seems to be the only lock so far in the race, but I think that the wonderful Andrew Garfield is safer than most people think. Early word is that Christian Bale is great, as is Melissa Leo (see below), so I kept him in the top five for now. Mark Ruffalo is fantastic in The Kids Are All Right, but he has been snubbed before, so I'm shaky on that prediction. Finally I went with the great Ed Harris, who I am secretly (ok not much of a secret anymore) hoping finally wins an overdue Oscar.

Best Supporting Actress
Helena Bonham Carter "The King's Speech"
Melissa Leo "The Fighter"
Miranda Richardson "Made in Dagenham"
Hailee Steinfeld "True Grit"
Dianne Wiest "Rabbit Hole"
Other Contenders: Jacki Weaver "Animal Kingdom", Saoirse Ronan "The Way Back", Barbara Hershey "Black Swan", Thandie Newton "For Colored Girls", Kimberly Elise "For Colored Girls", Phylicia Rashad "For Colored Girls", Macy Gray "For Colored Girls", Loretta Devine "For Colored Girls", Amy Adams "The Fighter", Sandra Oh "Rabbit Hole", Marion Cotillard "Inception"
Commentary: This is really still a wide open race, particularly if For Colored Girls is really good. I went with Dianne Wiest and Miranda Richardson for being old-school Academy favorites in baity roles. Melissa Leo is getting quite a lot of buzz for The Fighter, and she is personal favorite of mine. We know Helena Bonham Carter is good, and if The King's Speech is a popular as we think it is going to be with the Academy, she will join the ride. Finally I went with newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, because if True Grit is a bad ass as it looks, she is easily in (plus she is the lead pushed as supporting).

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