In Contention


Cut straight to the predix

Posted by Guy Lodge · 8:43 pm · October 27th, 2010

I spent some time this morning weeding and updating my current nomination predictions, and had planned to introduce them with today’s Long Shot column. As it turns out, LFF wrap-up business, a pair of catch-up screenings (one of them with a Supporting Actress contender who you may have heard sets the screen ablaze) and a backlog of interview transcription meant the column simply didn’t get written. Tomorrow, with apologies.

In lieu of a column, however, I can at least serve up the predictions — I know how much you folks like to pick at them. Although, by this post-festival stage in the season, certain contenders are beginning to turn concrete, there’s still plenty of room to play with question marks. So once again, don’t take this omission or that against-the-grain inclusion too seriously: when it comes down to it, we’re all just trying things on until the precursors kick in.

Among the notions I’m flirting with in this update is that “Winter’s Bone” could be this year’s critical indie cause in the race, that the Bening-Moore question may be a moot one to voters watching their screeners for the first time and that they may just take a shine to “The Way Back.” Check out my updated predictions here. (Remember they can always be accessed at the bottom of the right-hand sidebar.)

[Photo: Sony Pictures Classics]




Related Posts

→ 70 Comments Tags: , , , , | Filed in: Daily

70 responses so far

  • 1 10-27-2010 at 9:11 pm

    Patryk said...

    Guy, I’m curious about why Miranda Richardson (in a weak category) and Sally Hawkins (in a strong one) are out. I was thinking they were solid, at least.

  • 2 10-27-2010 at 9:36 pm

    Jacob S. said...

    I’m wondering about why you and Kris have kept The Wolfman in the “Best Makeup” category all this time. The movie’s been forgotten, and was the makeup *really* that good?

  • 3 10-27-2010 at 9:38 pm

    matsunaga said...

    Follow up on Patryk’s question, it seems like all the possible shots for Made in Dagenham were shut down from top 5… Do you think the film isn’t strong enough to hold on those categories? Or any flaws that you see might affect its campaign?

    After the trailer was released, the films grows to me, that I’m really excited to see it…

  • 4 10-27-2010 at 9:56 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    @ Jacob: Well, in their defense, there’s almost always a “surprise” film that everyone either disliked (Norbit) or had forgotten about (The Time Machine) nominated in the Makeup category. I could easily see The Wolfman sneaking in.

  • 5 10-27-2010 at 10:04 pm

    Square Eyes said...

    Guy can we expect a review of Animal Kingdom?

  • 6 10-27-2010 at 10:42 pm

    Billy Buddusky said...

    Uh, someone wanna wake up Guy. Where’s HELENA BONHAM CARTER for Supp. Actress? She’s the fave to win right now and you don’t even list her. Been drinking too much of that Oscar blogger amnesia juice, I see.

    R.I.P Oscar-winner Lisa Blount :(

  • 7 10-27-2010 at 11:41 pm

    Paul said...

    Umm… Still no love for Natalie Portman?

  • 8 10-27-2010 at 11:48 pm

    Billy Buddusky said...

    Wow, I completely overlooked that Natalie omission. With that, this column is officially rendered as relevant as an Andrew Dice Clay film retrospective at MOMA.

  • 9 10-28-2010 at 12:09 am

    Marcus said...

    Last predictions were ridiculous, this prediction are pure nonsence.

  • 10 10-28-2010 at 12:28 am

    Silencio said...

    @Paul, the prognostication game’s got little to do with love. :)

  • 11 10-28-2010 at 12:32 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Jacob: Two words. Rick. Baker.

    Patryk and Matsunaga: The film could go either way, I think. Hard to say until it actually opens. So I’m trying something out, maybe temporarily. (And unlike Kris, I’m not convinced Richardson has enough to work with.)

    Square Eyes: We don’t tend to review films this long after their US release, but I’m sure I’ll touch on it at some point. Good film.

    Billy: The “fave to win” is entirely your own assertion. She has no big ‘money’ scene in the film. I’m sure she’ll be on lots of ballots, but I’m sceptical how many #1 votes she’ll get. I like to predict the surprise snubs too.

    As for Portman, she’s still in my #6 spot. I’ve been over this: for now, I’m holding back due to the trickiness of her vehicle and the glassiness of her character, neither of which I’m convinced older and/or more conservative members of the acting branch will embrace. She could crack my predictions any day now, however. Get over yourselves.

  • 12 10-28-2010 at 1:22 am

    GlenH said...

    I’d just like to point out to the more strident commentators that it is October. You could at least wait until the critic’s awards and whatnot before declaring people essential picks and blowing up on message boards.

  • 13 10-28-2010 at 1:25 am

    Billy Buddusky said...

    Guy, the big difference is I’ve SEEN all the films most likely to be nominated with the exception of True Grit. I don’t rely on hearsay, or what other bloggers say. The Leigh film is totally dismissable, and Manville will turn into this year’s Abbie Cornish. If you need further proof, please let me know when that Sally Hawkins train pulls into the station all you bloggers were crowing about two years ago. To leave Portman off is like leaving Javier Bardem out for No Country, claiming he was just too darn mean (and he got away with murder) for older Oscar voters to ever acknowledge him. It’s a risible omission.
    And to choose Kristin Scott Thomas, who’s been giving the same performance for ten years running now, over Carter is a cause for further hilarity. As many people saw Nowhere Boy as I’ve Loved You So Long, and we all know how that wound up for Thomas. Thank God you don’t make my football picks.

  • 14 10-28-2010 at 2:13 am

    Chris said...

    Well I, for one, really like the predictions.
    Please dont kill me.

  • 15 10-28-2010 at 3:41 am

    Glenn said...

    I like Billy Buddusky negates his own point right when he’s trying to make.

    Yes, it might seem silly to leave Helena Bonham Carter or Natalie Portman off at this stage, but after all the awards that Sally Hawkins won two years ago (including the Golden Globe!) leaving her off your predictions would’ve looked churlish, too.

    Nobody knows anything.

    Plus, that Bardem analogy is a silly one since an middle-aged actor giving a typical Supporting Actor performance (flashy villain) in the Best Picture frontrunner is a bit different to a younger actress giving a performance of an untraditional character in a film that might not even be nominated for Best Picture in a field of ten.

  • 16 10-28-2010 at 4:07 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    What Glenn said. And Billy, I’ve also SEEN the films you’re referring to, so find another “big difference.” Or, you know, just take a chill pill and accept these predictions as the bit of fun they are.

  • 17 10-28-2010 at 4:14 am

    Nigel Bridgeman said...

    I’m calling it now – The Way Back will win Best Picture.

  • 18 10-28-2010 at 4:17 am

    Michael said...

    I can’t believe how seriously people are taking this. These are just Guy’s predictions from the end of October. No offense intended but he doesn’t know anything more than anyone else does at this point. I think it would be fun if a documentary film were nominated for Best Picture, but the fact that the Actor’s branch is so big I strongly doubt that would ever happen, even with a film as informative and harrowing as Inside Job. But good for Guy for putting it out there like that. And really, who cares if he doesn’t have this actor or that actress on his list of five predictions. Everyone needs to just calm down a little bit and not get your own personal preferences in the way of someone elses.

    On a side note, I would be perfectly satisfied if the top 10 predicted films that were voted by the InContention community ended up being the actual nominated best picture films. I think the balance on display in those 10 films is really exciting, although I realize it is doubtful that those will all turn out to be nominated after all.

  • 19 10-28-2010 at 4:25 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Nigel: I’m starting to lean that way myself.

  • 20 10-28-2010 at 4:36 am

    Loyal said...

    I’m looking at the categories you predicted for The Way Back. So it would win Best Picture and…

    Best Director – seems unlikely
    Best Supporting Actor – seems unlikely
    Best Cinematography – seems unlikely
    Best Film Editing – seems unlikely
    Best Sound Mixing – seems unlikely

    I guess I’m having a problem seeing the path to BP with those six nominations.

  • 21 10-28-2010 at 4:47 am

    Michael said...

    I’m actually beginning to think that The Way Back could benefit from this lack of buzz, or rather more muted amount of it. People have seen the film, and the advance word is great, but it hasn’t been pushed to the front of the line so far at this point and that could actually end up helping it. As has been mentioned many times, it is down to timing and luck, and peaking late in the game in a type of film that doesn’t get made anymore (and being so different from the rest of the nominated films) might actually do the trick. I’ll have to see it first, but for now that would not bother me if it ended up winning the whole shebang.

  • 22 10-28-2010 at 4:56 am

    amanda said...

    I like the predictions, but I just have one question. You have “Inside Job” in the top 10, and I totally see a doc getting in, but why “Inside Job” over “Waiting for Superman”, which seems to be more popular right now. It seems to be getting all the press and buzz. I haven’t seen either, although I plan to, but was just wondering your reasoning.

  • 23 10-28-2010 at 5:06 am

    Eric said...

    I agree 100% with your Best Actor and Supporting Actor nominations, Guy. Well done. I hope they turn out this way. Your Actress predictions however…Well, it doesn’t really matter. Its October. I will give you props on the Bening/Moore predictions. I’ll be sticking with that until the precursors tell me otherwise.

  • 24 10-28-2010 at 5:30 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Loyal: What exactly seems “unlikely” about Peter Weir getting an overdue Oscar? Or Ed Harris, for that matter?

  • 25 10-28-2010 at 5:59 am

    Estefan said...

    I’m still 100% positive that Tangled will get into animated feature over The Illusionist.

  • 26 10-28-2010 at 6:41 am

    Andrew F said...

    Well, I for one always enjoy Guy’s predictions. “No guts, no glory”, right?

  • 27 10-28-2010 at 6:50 am

    red_wine said...

    @Estafan
    The Illusionist has tremendous world-wide acclaim. The animators would be silly to ditch a title which brings glory and recognition to their craft.

  • 28 10-28-2010 at 7:02 am

    red_wine said...

    Interesting predictions but I don’t think Mike Leigh is getting in. Ditto Inside Job, the film while illuminating, has more educational value than cinematic value. How is it different from a two hour special on BBC world.

    The Way Back? I’ll wait for my reviews. I wonder whats gonna win?
    Kings Speech – might be too “fussy period piece” to win
    Social Network – brilliant but lacks a kinda oomph factor, similar to Up In The Air but SN is the better film
    127 Hours – no
    Toy Story 3 – might be the most likely but it has the inescapable animation stigma.
    So it might be The Way Back or True Grit.

    Guy, how would you rank the Top 5 Best Picture contenders on the basis of likelihood at this point?

  • 29 10-28-2010 at 7:02 am

    Graysmith said...

    Definitely no guts no glory. I don’t agree with several things (like Granik over Cholodenko if there were to be a female director nominee), but at least they offer a different viewpoint and way at looking at it.

  • 30 10-28-2010 at 7:12 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Red_Wine: Rankings are too finicky for me, but if I were predicting five — oh, the good old days — they’d probably be The Social Network, The King’s Speech, The Way Back and Toy Story 3, with Winter’s Bone as this year’s chosen “little indie that could.”

  • 31 10-28-2010 at 7:13 am

    RichardA said...

    I’m calling for Winter’s Bone nod and win for Best Cinematography. The cinematography is poetic and beautiful which is a complete paradox to what we’re actually looking at: crime, poverty, being on edge of survival.

  • 32 10-28-2010 at 7:16 am

    Michael W. said...

    I’m not sold on The Way Back.

    I have had The Fighter as the best picture winner since april. Nothing has happened that has made me change that prediction.

    The reviews will be exciting to see though.

  • 33 10-28-2010 at 7:36 am

    Sean D said...

    Nice Predictions Guy! Wow, people are jerks here. I don’t get the point of predicting the Oscars unless you’re taking fun risks and assessing which contenders are most likely to be snubbed. Where’s the fun in choosing the most likely all the time?

    I share your skepticism for ‘The Fighter.’ Right now Bale’s the only nominee for that film I have in my predictions. I think ‘The Fighter’ is going to be this year’s ‘American Gangster’; kind of fizzle out due to critics and not see much relevant Oscar success.

    But I sure hope this cause for Jacki Weaver’s nomination catches on. Easily the most memorable performance of the year thus far.

  • 34 10-28-2010 at 7:39 am

    Loyal said...

    “Loyal: What exactly seems “unlikely” about Peter Weir getting an overdue Oscar? Or Ed Harris, for that matter?”

    The entire scenario. I guess if Weir wins the DGA it becomes likely. But that in itself is unlikely to happen.

    I guess I’m looking for something more than “I’m starting to lean that way myself.” As far as I can tell, you’re the only Oscar bloggers leaning towards a BP win for The Way Back, or at least you’re the only one who has gone public. Same for Ed Harris and Supporting Actor.

    Bit more information would probably help.

  • 35 10-28-2010 at 8:35 am

    Estefan said...

    “The Illusionist has tremendous world-wide acclaim. The animators would be silly to ditch a title which brings glory and recognition to their craft.”
    Except every single review I’ve read of Tangled has been glowing, to the point of comparing it to Beauty and the Beast. Not to mention Glen Keane is a lot more respected in the animation industry than Sylvain Chomet. If they snubbed Miyazaki last year, it’s entirely possible for them to not nominate Chomet.

    Like I said, I am 100% positive that Tangled will get the animated feature nomination. Once the film is finally released, the Negative Nancies will slowly fade away as they see what a blatant lie the advertising is.

  • 36 10-28-2010 at 8:44 am

    Pete said...

    Boyle is going to get a Best Director nod, I don’t see how that won’t be happening.

  • 37 10-28-2010 at 9:09 am

    GlenH said...

    @Estefan
    Which reviews of Tangled are you referring to? I can’t find anything other than anonymous reports from people you haven’t seen a finished version.

    @Pete
    What’s your reasoning? Does the academy have a history of rewarding flashy direction? Is his past history of nominations a factor? Is there a lack of competition?

  • 38 10-28-2010 at 9:10 am

    GlenH said...

    *who* not *you*, sorry.

  • 39 10-28-2010 at 9:55 am

    Joe W said...

    Guy, Aronofsky in for director with no BP nom, or a nom for Natalie? I know you want your picks to stand out against the norm (and Kris’) but don’t be silly.

    And Winter’s Bone for a directing slot? I think you’re putting way too much weight on the Gotham Awards.

  • 40 10-28-2010 at 10:56 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    “I don’t get the point of predicting the Oscars unless you’re taking fun risks and assessing which contenders are most likely to be snubbed. Where’s the fun in choosing the most likely all the time?”

    Sean D, I owe you one steak dinner.

  • 41 10-28-2010 at 11:09 am

    Ibad said...

    No Tom Hooper? It’s pure Academy bait, apparently takes what sounds like quite a boring concept and makes it riveting, and he already has a DGA nomination of his own (so it’s not like the Directors would be accepting a complete unknown into their crew).

  • 42 10-28-2010 at 11:09 am

    Pete said...

    Glen,

    My reasoning for Boyle’s nomination:

    1. It isn’t a “past history of nominations”, it’s that his last film netted him the Best Director Oscar. If anything, his direction appears to be garnering the same level of critical praise as Slumdog. Once you get in the Oscar club, doing work that reminds the voting bloc of past or recent glories is going to vault you ahead of arthouse films that aren’t playing in the theaters anymore. This rationale is also why I think the Coen brothers snag a Director nomination if True Grit lives up to it’s hype.

    2. Boyle is extremely well-liked in the industry, and is seen as a genuinely down to earth person willing to go the extra mile for their film. He pressed a lot of flesh during Slumdog, and has been very out front of 127 Hours. I’m not sure Granik or Aranovsky have that kind of edge working for them.

    3. Leaving aside the Lone Director phenomenon (which frankly could pick up Fincher more than Boyle I suspect), I don’t think that anyone really has either Winter’s Bone or Kids are Allright in their Top Five Best Picture contenders.

  • 43 10-28-2010 at 11:36 am

    Billy Buddusky said...

    “Where’s the fun in choosing the most likely all the time?”

    Uh, perhaps to prove you’re knowledgable???

  • 44 10-28-2010 at 11:59 am

    Vince in WeHo said...

    I doubt that any film with get a director’s nod without getting a Best Picture nod, considering the field has been open to ten slots. It’s always been by thinking that, before last year, if a film captured a director’s nod, but not Best Picture, it was a nomination they just fell short of.

    I could be wrong.

  • 45 10-28-2010 at 12:11 pm

    Pete said...

    Vince,

    I think you’re on to something. The farce about the 10 film Best Picture roster is that Best Director whittles that down to the Final Five almost straight off.

    The last Best Picture winner without a Director nomination was Driving Miss Daisy in 1989.

  • 46 10-28-2010 at 12:41 pm

    Andrew F said...

    “Screwing things up is a virtue. Being correct is never the point. Being right can stop all the momentum of a very interesting idea.”

    -Robert Rauschenberg

  • 47 10-28-2010 at 2:33 pm

    AdamL said...

    Glad Made in Dagenham has been taken out. I hate that film. (I’ve not seen it, the trailer was sufficient.)

  • 48 10-28-2010 at 3:20 pm

    Billy Buddusky said...

    In honor of Andrew F’s stirring quote about being uninformed…
    “I can see Russia from my house” – Sarah Palin

  • 49 10-28-2010 at 3:38 pm

    Andrew F said...

    Way to miss the point, Billy.

  • 50 10-28-2010 at 3:55 pm

    Billy Buddusky said...

    The point? The point???? Is the point to sound pseudo-hip by going against common sense and intelligence? Gee, I’ll look like I’m really going against the grain by making a prediction for a marginal possibility that’s not going to happen. Well, heck if that’s the case I say forget King’s Speech, Natalie Portman and Colin Firth! I’m going to go out on a limb and say I think Date Night, Katherine Heigl, and Daniel Radcliffe are actually the real front-runners that are flying under everyone’s radar. Ooh, ooh, am I cool now? Does that give me street cred? Can I sit at the Big Person’s table now???

  • 51 10-28-2010 at 4:01 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Loyal: Who’s leaning towards The Way Back for the win? I’ve said I thought it could happen (dependent upon a number of things, mind you), but anyway, the reason you’re not hearing much is so few have even seen it.

  • 52 10-28-2010 at 4:07 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    And by the way, all of your “seems unlikely” designations are, well, wrong. Like Guy said, what’s so unlikely about them? I mean so much so that you’d just cast them off without even really knowing what you’re discussing?

    HAVING SEEN THE FILM, I can tell you that most of them are quite possible. But I’m really dumbfounded you’d say Russell Boyd is somehow unlikely. He won an Oscar seven years ago for his last collaboration with Weir, so…

    Also, the sound mix is killer.

    Harris might not happen (especially with a showier turn from Farrell pulling votes away), and film editing could miss, but the rest are perfectly sound guesses.

  • 53 10-28-2010 at 8:40 pm

    Melissa said...

    About Portman, I’ve seen the film and I get what Guy’s saying. However, she’s Natalie Portman and people have been talking about Black Swan for a while. IMPO, the Oscars are more about campaigning than the actual film themselves. I really don’t see her being snubbed.

  • 54 10-28-2010 at 9:10 pm

    Angry Shark said...

    aw, Guy, I always love your predictions because they seem to be for an idealized version of the Oscars as opposed to the disappointing version we have. I don’t really want to predict Hooper, but if the Academy goes for The King’s Speech the way people at Telluride and Toronto did, it’s pretty inevitable. But at this point it seems a little overblown. We’ll see.

  • 55 10-28-2010 at 9:26 pm

    Billy Buddusky said...

    Angry Shark, why don’t you want to predict Hooper? HAVE YOU SEEN IT? What in the world are you basing your opinion on? Other people’s opinions? You’re dissing a film I’m 99.9% certain you haven’t seen, just to feel like you want to belong to the other outsiders and marginalized souls who come out of their parent’s basements every so often to feel like they have something worthwhile to contribute to society, but in truth offer nothing but a sad echo chamber of negative nothingness.

  • 56 10-28-2010 at 10:02 pm

    Andrew F said...

    I think Billy needs a hug.
    >>>>>>Billy Buddusky<<<<<<

    Some of us like to have fun with the entire Oscar prediction game and take risks. How great of a feeling is it when there's that surprise nominee or snub, and you can say that you've been predicting it all along? And what about the interesting dialogue that starts by foolishly including the off-kilter in your predictions? If I were to say right now that Cher is going to get a supporting nod for "Burlesque", am I really confident in this? No, I'm not. But maybe it'll kick-start some interesting discussions on why Cher, Oscar Winner, chose to come out of semi-retirement for this film, or the fascinating track record of the musical form, or the film's potential critical thrashing and if anyone can come out unscathed, et cetera, et cetera. (For the record, I'm not predicting this.) Have some fun! You'll feel better.

  • 57 10-28-2010 at 10:17 pm

    Billy Buddusky said...

    But to say you don’t want to predict someone…because of what??? Hooper did a superb job, and you’re hoping he doesn’t get a nom out of what, spite? Childish. SEE THE FILMS!

  • 58 10-29-2010 at 4:15 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    I agree that seeing the films is of paramount importance — though obviously, not all our readers have the luxury of attending festivals and press/industry screenings. You’re blowing a friendly guessing game way out of proportion, Billy, and being rude to boot. Cool it.

  • 59 10-29-2010 at 3:15 pm

    Maxim said...

    “Loyal: What exactly seems “unlikely” about Peter Weir getting an overdue Oscar?”

    Guy, what does this question have to do with what Loyal said? Absolutely nothing. It’s like you are trying to guilt him into agreeing that Peter Weir deserves an Oscar (doesn’t seem that disagreable to me) by daring him to claim otherwise. In other words, it’s a loaded question and your use of the word “overdue” makes it even more so.

    And Billy, I feel ya I really do. On virtually every point that you’ve made because I understand your position. Unfortunately getting angry or worked will not get you any further.

    And it’s not like I disagree in validity of predicting something that doesn’t always seem likely. As long as there’s some logic behind it. It happened before on this site and I give credit to people when they get it right.

  • 60 10-29-2010 at 4:01 pm

    Billy Buddusky said...

    I’m not angry in the least. I’m amused! And SOME PEOPLE are just a little thin-skinned I guess ;) I’m going to go watch Mamma Mia now for the 12th time

  • 61 10-29-2010 at 7:23 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    “Guy, what does this question have to do with what Loyal said?”

    Well, Loyal said — and I quote directly — “Best Director seems unlikely” for The Way Back. So I’m responding directly to his statement.

    Seriously, Maxim, your propensity for argument is beginning to come at the expense of common sense.

  • 62 10-29-2010 at 7:34 pm

    Billy Buddusky said...

    Common sense? Common sense?? This coming from someone who doesn’t include Natalie Portman as a definitive nominee??? I’m more confused than a hungry baby in a topless bar!

  • 63 10-29-2010 at 7:44 pm

    Liz said...

    I thought for sure that Billy Buddusky and Maxim were the same person. Guess not.

    And Billy, there’s nothing less funny than a person continually trying to demonstrate how funny they are with painful one-liners.

  • 64 10-29-2010 at 7:56 pm

    Billy Buddusky said...

    Liz actually there is something less funny than that. Have you ever seen a Judd Apatow film?

  • 65 10-29-2010 at 8:00 pm

    Maxim said...

    Guy, I repeat that what you wrote was a classic example of a loaded question http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loaded_question).
    That’s a fact and I felt compelled to point that out.

    I think that everyone here needs to relax a little. things are being taken too personally too often.

  • 66 10-29-2010 at 8:01 pm

    Liz said...

    I laughed much more at “The 40 Year Old Virgin” than at any of your comments so far, so no, you didn’t get me there. But you never know, something might stick. Stranger things have happened.

  • 67 10-29-2010 at 8:02 pm

    Maxim said...

    Billy, sorry to say but another comment of that nature and I will retract what I said earlier.

  • 68 10-29-2010 at 8:06 pm

    Billy Buddusky said...

    I think Liz likes me :)

  • 69 10-29-2010 at 8:10 pm

    Maxim said...

    Happy to see FYC ads for Gemma Jones. She really is marvelous in the film. And so is Anthony Hopkins. His might be my favorite performance of the year. Would love to see him get a nomination.

  • 70 10-31-2010 at 9:09 am

    Chris said...

    I would just like to thank everyone involved for this genuinely entertaining commentary.