Oscar Eye: How The New York Film Festival Has Affected The Race

By Katey Rich 2011-10-14 09:24:47discussion comments
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Oscar Eye: How The New York Film Festival Has Affected The Race image
The New York Film Festival wraps up this week, and though I've barely set foot in Lincoln Center for the occasion (I know, I know, it frustrates me too), the festival has managed to put a little bit of direction into the Oscar race in a way it hasn't in recent years. Leading the pack for Oscar buzz is Michelle Williams, whose role as Marilyn Monroe in This Week With Marilyn had critics praising her even when they couldn't stand the movie. The comparisons have already begun to The King's Speech, another slightly fuzzy English drama with a tremendous star performance at the center, though critics seem to be a little less kind to this one. What really matters, though, is how audiences respond, and we'll have to wait a few weeks, until November 4, to see how that shakes out. Williams isn't yet a guaranteed nominee, but she's seeming very likely, joining a pack of Best Actress hopefuls that isn't especially large, but very competitive.

Martin Scorsese's Hugo, which screened as a work-in-progress on Monday, didn't shine quite as much light on the race, as it's very clearly a children's film that's also a bit of propaganda for the importance of preserving old films (really). But as people have been saying over and over again about The Artist, the silent French film that's also a love letter to old Hollywood, movies about movies get the Academy all excited, and it's possible to imagine Hugo worming its way into their hearts the way it did for many members of the NYFF audience, who were saying things like "It's a mess, but I was totally charmed." But Best Picture, Best Director and any acting prizes seem really, really unlikely; if anything, you might see it running around with big effects movies like Rise of the Planet of the Apes or X-Men: First Class to take up some of the technical awards.

Those are the two most recent Oscar-baity premieres, and the others have been lower key or mere extensions of films that have played at other festivals. The Iranian film A Separation continued to dazzle audiences, which makes it a strong contender for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, along with Mexico's Miss Bala, which also had a ton of supporters. Michael Fassbender's hollowed-out, devastating performance in Shame won a whole new round of love, and while I still think it's a tough, tough slog to get anyone in the Academy to actually watch the movie, his nomination is seeming like far less of a long shot. Wish I could say the same for the cast of Carnage, which I felt pretty high on after its NYFF premiere for press but seems to have sunk like a stone--even I barely remember seeing it. It's not out yet-- nothing really is at that stage-- but it might be an entertaining movie for adults that somehow gets left out of the race. There's one every year.

Beyond that, it's on the charts!

oscar winner prediction
BEST PICTURE

The Descendants closes the New York Film Festival this weekend, so expect to start hearing a lot again about the movie that I think is being slowly, slowly built up as an awards powerhouse. I've kicked Carnage and Drive down to the "long shot" category-- sorry, guys-- and next week I'll see My Week With Marilyn and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy to get a better sense of how those two might fit in. Hugo sticks around in "still in the running" since, flawed as it is, a movie that's a love letter to movies will not go unnoticed.

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

I've swapped Steve McQueen and Nicolas Winding Refn in their respective spots-- Drive had its chance to be the out-there indie of the fall and kind of lost it with bad box office, but Shame seems to be building slowly with a few surprises left to go. It's a wild hunch, but why not stick with it for now.
 
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
It was an oversight to leave out Asa Butterfield of Hugo before, so I've fixed that, in addition to adding Demian Bichir, whose performance in this spring's indie A Better Life won a lot of fans among critics. Neither Butterfield or Bishir seems terribly likely to get the nomination, but they'll be in the running, and that counts for something.

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
The critical praise for Michelle Williams has solidified what now feels like a six-way race, with Rooney Mara and Elizabeth Olsen in the wings as youthful spoilers. It's hard to even imagine anyone else making it in there, though of course, underestimating Tilda Swinton never got anyone anywhere. For now, though, it looks pretty steady.

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
Michelle Williams soaked up a lot of the praise for My Week WIth Marilyn, but Kenneth Branagh was right there with her for his portrayal of Sir Laurence Olivier, and he seems like a likelier nominee than ever. I'm also embarrassed to just now realize that I've left out one of the biggest contenders, Christopher Plummer for Beginners. He goes right up there on the top of the list, since he's a veteran who only just earned his first nomination, and is more than deserving of another for this performance

MORTAL LOCK

NONE
 
LIKELY CONTENDER

Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Brad Pitt, The Tree of Life
 
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
I did a little pruning in the bottom categories, taking out Marisa Tomei in The Ides of March-- Evan Rachel Wood has a slim but better shot, and it's not worth competing-- and the two women of 50/50, given how little impact that movie has made so far. It's so hard to cull in other categories, but this one is packed with long-shot possibilities and it seems only fair to start narrowing things down.
 
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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