Subscribe To Oscar Eye: How The Golden Globe, SAG And The Critics Have Affected The Race Updates
So this week's column is coming a little late. Anything happen that I missed out on?

OK, OK, fine, I'm kidding. There's been a ton going on in the world of awards this week, as groups from my own tiny little New York Film Critics Online to the Golden Globes have weighed in on what they consider the best films of the year, whether in the form of actual awards or just nominations. It's enough to drive you crazy, especially if like me you're constantly trying to get a read on the awards race as a whole, figuring out if this or that snub actually means anything, if we suddenly have to catch up with Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, or if Les Miserables is over as a frontrunner before it even began.

I've been hashing out a lot of this throughout the week, so in the interest of not repeating myself, I point you to a conversation I had with Sean O'Connell about the SAG Award Nominations and then about Golden Globes, plus a rundown from Sunday about the weekend's critic's awards, and then the Critics Choice Awards picks, in which both Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln were looking quite strong.

From there, we're going directly into the charts, where we'll talk about all of these categories in more detail. A lot going on. A lot of work to do. And a lot of changes in the awards race all at the same time.

oscar winner prediction
BEST PICTURE

The Mortal Lock and Likely Contender categories combined represent what has been, with very little variation, the standard 10 contenders listed by critics and guilds alike. Yes, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel found its way in with both the SAG Awards and the Globes, and yes, Beasts of the Southern Wild failed to do much with either group. But counting on the Oscars general angle toward prestige-- and the fact that Beasts wasn't even eligible with SAG-- I still think this group stands, with Life of Pi as the likeliest fifth nominee but still to o shaky to be a lock. I'm fascinated by the strength of Django Unchained, which took far more Globe nominations than I would have expected. I still don't think it will make it into the Academy's Best Picture ranks, provided they don't pick a field of 10. If I had to guess at this point I'd say six Best Picture nominees, maybe 7 if Moonrise Kingdom or Amour gets a lot of love. But the way the field is winnowing down, our options are suddenly looking disappointingly limited.

MORTAL LOCK

Argo
Les Miserables
Lincoln
Zero Dark Thirty
LIKELY CONTENDER

Amour
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook
STILL IN THE RUNNING

Flight
The Master
Skyfall
OUTSIDE CHANCE

Anna Karenina
The Impossible
oscar winner prediction
BEST DIRECTOR

The inclusion of Quentin Tarantino instead of Tom Hooper in the Best Director lineup at the Globes was a genuine surprise, and suddenly Hooper and Les Mis seem a lot weaker than I would have figured-- but that's probably taking the Globes a bit too seriously. Right now both Les Mis and Django are waiting for audience acceptance to tip the scales in their favor, and how that happens could really determine how Oscar voters finally decide who to choose when filling out their ballots after Christmas.

MORTAL LOCK

Ben Affleck, Argo
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Tom Hooper, Les Miserables
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
LIKELY CONTENDER

Michael Haneke, Amour
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
STILL IN THE RUNNING

NONE
OUTSIDE CHANCE

Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master
Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom
Sam Mendes, Skyfall
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
oscar winner prediction
BEST ACTOR
There are a lot of odd nominees from the Globes in the Musical/Comedy category, and sadly none of them save Hugh Jackman or Bradley Cooper likely stands a chance of making it into the Oscar five. The field is just too damn crowded, to the point that I still don't feel like there are any guarantees aside from Daniel Day-Lewis, who will really just be joined by four other actors who he'll beat in the end. It feel like any of the five in the Likely Contender category could just miss out, which is pretty exciting in terms of looking toward the future, but maddening in terms of actually trying to make predictions.

MORTAL LOCK

Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
LIKELY CONTENDER

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight
STILL IN THE RUNNING

Anthony Hopkins, Hitchcock
Jean-Louis Trintignant, Amour
OUTSIDE CHANCE

Jack Black, Bernie
Matt Damon, Promised Land
Jamie Foxx, Django Unchained
Richard Gere, Arbitrage
oscar winner prediction
BEST ACTRESS
Emmanuelle Riva and Quvenzhane Wallis were both left out of the SAG and Golden Globes lineups, but Riva won her share of critic's awards, which ought to be able to keep her in the conversation, and Wallis is looking strong as well. But either Watts or, believe it or not, Weisz is looking like a legitimate spoiler. If one of them pops up on nomination morning, it will be an excellent rejoinder to the idea that it's been a weak field for Best Actress all along.

MORTAL LOCK

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
LIKELY CONTENDER

Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
STILL IN THE RUNNING

Naomi Watts, The Impossible Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea
OUTSIDE CHANCE

Judi Dench, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Keira Knightley, Anna Karenina
Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
Meryl Streep, Hope Springs
oscar winner prediction
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Is there any way to just knock Alan Arkin and Robert DeNiro out of the conversation, giving them a "nice work but not this year" nod, and leaving more room for the really interesting contenders in this crowd? There are so many fascinating performances to come from, and except for Tommy Lee Jones the veteran actors aren't giving any of them. The field has only gotten wider this week, with a surprise SAG nod for Javier Bardem, a strong appearance from Leonardo DiCaprio, and a sudden decision that Christoph Waltz is a supporting actor after all. It's the deepest, most fun category, and yet they're going to find a way to disappoint me anyway.

MORTAL LOCK

Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
LIKELY CONTENDER

Alan Arkin, Argo
Javier Bardem, Skyfall
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
STILL IN THE RUNNING

Russell Crowe, Les Miserables
Dwight Henry, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Eddie Redmayne, Les Miserables
OUTSIDE CHANCE

Jason Clarke, Zero Dark Thirty
Garrett Hedlund, On the Road
Jude Law, Anna Karenina
Ewan McGregor, The Impossible
oscar winner prediction
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Helen Hunt, who has hung in there despite the perception that The Sessions is fading, is now a lock alongside Hathaway and Field. And then in comes blazing Nicole Kidman, who I haven't been giving a fraction of a chance all year, but whose totally nutsy and committed performance in The Paperboy has scored SAG, BFCA and Golden Globe nominations, all this week. Can she make the cut? She's at least a contender now. Just when we thought this category was going to stay boring, too….

MORTAL LOCK

Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
LIKELY CONTENDER

Amy Adams, The Master
Judi Dench, Skyfall
Ann Dowd, Compliance
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy
STILL IN THE RUNNING

Samantha Barks, Les Miserables
Kelly Reilly, Flight
Amanda Seyfried, Les Miserables
OUTSIDE CHANCE

Salma Hayek, Savages
Frances McDormand, Promised Land
Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Kerry Washington, Django Unchained Jacki Weaver, SIlver Linings Playbook

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