Oscar Eye: How The Gotham Award Nominations Could Influence The Race

By Katey Rich 2011-10-20 13:19:12discussion comments
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Oscar Eye: How The Gotham Award Nominations Could Influence The Race image
Sure, the Oscars are the main focus of this weekly column, but if you follow the awards race you know there are so, so many prizes that come first, from awards handed out by various critic's groups to independent film awards like the Indie Spirits to the dreaded Golden Globes. And this week two of those smaller awards-giving groups were getting all the headlines. First up was the New York Film Critic's Circle, a group usually thought to be above the fray, when they pushed up the date of their awards voting by several weeks. They'll vote and announce their picks on November 28, making them the first critic's group out of the gate but also meaning they'll almost certainly miss some of the late-season releases that they barely had time to catch in the first place.

And today, much less obnoxiously, the Gotham Independent Film Awards announced their nominees, choosing among both tiny indies with no shot at Oscar glory-- like Bellflower and Meek's Cutof-- and much bigger fish, like The Descendants and The Tree of Life. The Gothams don't typically predict the Oscar race all that well-- though in 2009 they handed their top two prizes to The Hurt Locker and last year rewarded Best Picture nominee Winter's Bone, they also lean heavily toward performers you'll only be hearing more about many years from now, like last year's Breakthrough Performer award for Ronald Bronstein. But this year's nominations do suggest that The Descendants has real staying power among indie film fans in addition to the general audiences who are really likely to love it when it hits theaters next month. And the two nods for Beginners, a May release struggling to hang on to attention this late in the season, might mean that the movie-- especially the potential Best Supporting Actor nomination for Christopher Plummer-- is hanging on there better than we think.

With all the focus on awards and nominations already being handed out it's hard to remember that there are films in competition still coming to theaters, but hey, there's a solid two and a half months left in this year. This week I got the chance to catch My Week With Marilyn, which is pretty much a bore beyond Michelle Williams's performance (more on that later), and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which should be as formidable in the Best Supporting Actor race as I expected (more on that later too). And indeed, it's on to the charts, where for now, the Gotham Awards and the New York Film Critics Circle aren't making much of an impact… yet.

oscar winner prediction
BEST PICTURE

As mentioned above, The Descendants got a small but maybe symbolic boost from The Gotham Awards, meaning that even though it's a George Clooney made by a studio, it's got the indie cred to appeal to even skeptics-- so far. As for the films I saw this week, My Week With Marilyn seems like a non-factor for the Best Picture race, while I'm left wondering about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a very twisty and very refined movie that still doesn't have that super passion that gets people screaming "Best Picture!" (think of Syriana compared to Crash). So we'll see how excited critics get, and how much positive buzz about the performances can carry this.

MORTAL LOCK

NONE
 
LIKELY CONTENDER

The Artist
The Descendants
The Help
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
 
STILL IN THE RUNNING

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Hugo
The Ides of March
The Iron Lady
J. Edgar
The Tree of Life
War Horse
Young Adult
 
OUTSIDE CHANCE

50/50
Anonymous
Carnage
Coriolanus
A Dangerous Method
Drive
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Jane Eyre
Like Crazy
Martha Marcy May Marlene
My Week WIth Marilyn
Rampart
Shame
Take Shelter
We Bought A Zoo
Win Win


oscar winner prediction
BEST DIRECTOR

The same reservations I have about Tinker Tailor as a Best Picture nominee apply to Tomas Alfredson here-- the movie is exquisitely directed, but maybe not showy enough to bring him in as a relative newcomer. But really, this all depends on how well the film is received, so let's see how that turns out. Beyond that I also interviewed Alexander Payne this week for The Descendants, and man, that is a smart guy who is good at doing press. I'm really excited to see him get his nomination here-- but of course, no mortal locks just yet.
 
MORTAL LOCK

NONE
 
LIKELY CONTENDER

Tomas Alfredson, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Woody Allen, Midnight In Paris
Michel Hazanvicius, The Artist
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Bennett Miller, Moneyball
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
 
STILL IN THE RUNNING

George Clooney, The Ides of March
Stephen Daldry, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Clint Eastwood, J. Edgar
David Fincher, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Steve McQueen, Shame
Steven Spielberg, War Horse
 
OUTSIDE CHANCE

David Cronenberg, A Dangerous Method
Cameron Crowe, We Bought A Zoo
Drake Doremus, Like Crazy
Sean Durkin, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Roland Emmerich, Anonymous
Ralph Fiennes, Coriolanus
Jonathan Levine, 50/50
Phyllida Lloyd, The Iron Lady
Tom McCarthy, Win Win
Mike Mills, Beginners
Oren Moverman, Rampart
Jeff Nichols, Take Shelter
Roman Polanski, Carnage
Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive
Jason Reitman, Young Adult
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Tate Taylor, The Help
 

oscar winner prediction
BEST ACTOR
OK, so Gary Oldman. I'm not the first person to point this out, but the performance he gives in Tinker Tailor is magnetic, perfectly measured.. but also quiet and completely unshowy. It's perfect for the film, but not Oscar baity at all, and even a veteran like Oldman can get overlooked when going for something that subtle. I still expect him to get in, but what could be a much-deserved career win for Oldman might get pushed out by, say, George Clooney's equally great work in The Descendants.

MORTAL LOCK

NONE
 
LIKELY CONTENDER

George Clooney, The Descendants
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
 
STILL IN THE RUNNING

Matt Damon, We Bought A Zoo
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50
Michael Shannon, Take Shelter
 
OUTSIDE CHANCE

Demian Bichir, A Better Life
Asa Butterfield, Hugo
Daniel Craig, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Michael Fassbender, A Dangerous Method
Ralph Fiennes, Coriolanus
Paul Giamatti, Win Win
Woody Harrelson, Rampart
Thomas Horn, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Rhys Ifans, Anonymous
Jeremy Irvine, War Horse
Christopher Plummer, Barrymore
John C. Reilly, Carnage
Michael Shannon, Take Shelter
Christoph Waltz, Carnage
Anton Yelchin, Like Crazy
   

oscar winner prediction
BEST ACTRESS
None of the things wrong about My Week With Marilyn are the fault of Michelle Williams; she's easily the best thing in the movie, and pulling off a note-perfect portrayal of a Hollywood icon is no easy feat. Hell, with the Weinstein Company behind her, she could even be a threat to win it all. I'm really starting to get impatient now for when we'll finally get a look at Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady. Whether or not she's any good in the movie probably won't be an obstacle-- she's very likely for the nomination no matter what-- but she's a big piece of the puzzle that's annoyingly unclear right now.

MORTAL LOCK

NONE
   
LIKELY CONTENDER

Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
 
STILL IN THE RUNNING

Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia
Felicity Jones, Like Crazy
Rooney Mara, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin
Michelle Yeoh, The Lady
 
OUTSIDE CHANCE

Jodie Foster, Carnage
Emily Watson, Oranges & Sunshine
Mia Wasikowska, Jane Eyre
Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea
   

oscar winner prediction
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
So Michelle Williams definitely is the best thing in My Week WIth Marilyn, but right there behind her is Kenneth Branagh, whose performance as Sir Laurence Olivier is funny, captivating, and just the right amount of serious-- the perfect supporting performance, basically. Provided he doesn't get undone by the movie's general mediocre-ness, Branagh could be a real frontrunner in this category, especially with the likes of Nolte and Brooks looking weaker and weaker. As for the Tinker Tailor men, Benedict Cumberbatch has the strongest shot and the meatiest role. The problem then becomes how they can campaign multiple actors, especially if the film itself isn't quite a heavyweight in the race. Colin Firth and Tom Hardy both have decent shots at nominations here as well, but it's hard to imagine all three getting in. Keep an eye on this category as Tinker Tailor gets closer to release, since this is likely to be where the film has the biggest impact.

MORTAL LOCK

NONE
 
LIKELY CONTENDER

Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Brad Pitt, The Tree of Life
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
 
STILL IN THE RUNNING

Paul Giamatti, The Ides of March
Armie Hammer, J. Edgar
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Ides of March
David Thewlis, The Lady
 
OUTSIDE CHANCE

Niels Arestrup, War Horse
Jim Broadbent, The Iron Lady
Benedict Cumberbatch, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Colin Firth, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Robert Forster, The Descendants
Tom Hanks, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Tom Hardy, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
John Hawkes, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Tom Hiddleston, War Horse
Ezra Miller, We Need To Talk About Kevin
Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method
Patton Oswalt, Young Adult
Seth Rogen, 50/50
Mark Strong, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
 
 
oscar winner prediction
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
There are ads for Bridesmaids running constantly on my TV, which has me still rooting hard for a nomination for Melissa McCarthy. With that looking unlikely, though, I'm also thinking about Jessica Chastain, whose fate seems to solidify around Take Shelter the more that movie gets attention from things like the Gotham Awards. It's weird that she's still kind of a long shot give how ubiquitous she is this year, but sometimes that's just the way things shake out.
 
MORTAL LOCK

NONE
 
LIKELY CONTENDER

Jessica Chastain, The Help/Tree of Life/Take Shelter
Keira Knightley, A Dangerous Method
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Vanessa Redgrave, Coriolanus
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
 
STILL IN THE RUNNING

Sandra Bullock, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Judi Dench, J. Edgar
Carey Mulligan, Shame
Naomi Watts, J. Edgar
Kate Winslet, Carnage
Evan Rachel Wood, The Ides of March
 
OUTSIDE CHANCE

Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Marion Cotillard, Midnight in Paris
Elle Fanning, We Bought A Zoo
Charlotte Gainsbourg, Melancholia
Bryce Dallas Howard, The Help
Scarlett Johansson, We Bought A Zoo
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids

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