Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Oscar Race: First Post-Nomination Charts

Fresh off the nomination announcements, here are Cinema Squared's first post-nom Oscar charts, featuring all the big nominees and fresh predictions now that the full Oscar field finally has finally been unveiled.

1. Avatar
2. The Hurt Locker
3. Up in the Air
4. Inglourious Basterds
5. Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire
6. Up
7. An Education
8. The Blind Side
District 9
A Serious Man

Outside looking in: The Messenger, The Last Station, Julie & Julia, Star Trek, Nine

Note: Okay, so...here we are. The first field in the new 10-nominee system is set, and it is nice, eclectic group. I'm sort of surprised, looking at the balance in this field, that we didn't also see a film like Julie & Julia represented -- pleasant comedy with a female bent. But there was plenty of love for a variety of genres, a variety of tones, a variety of focal points.

At this point, it becomes a two-film race. I will give the advantage to Avatar at this stage, simply because the box-office juggernaut, the visual effects phenomenon, the gargantuan epic must be considered the favorite at this point. But The Hurt Locker is a much closer number two than most will openly admit, and it is clawing at Avatar's blue heels. An expanded campaign coupled with the film's embrace by the PGA and DGA could mean Hurt Locker leaps to a victory here. Time will tell.

The rest of the major categories after the jump...

1. Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
2. James Cameron, Avatar
3. Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
4. Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
5. Lee Daniels, Precious

Outside looking in:  Lone Scherfig, An Education; Neill Blomkamp, District 9; Pete Docter, Up; Clint Eastwood, Invictus

Note: I say the DGA win vaults Bigelow to the top of this list. The eventual result will depend partly on the campaigning over the next month, but mainly on how the story holds up. Will Hurt Locker open in theaters once again, giving Academy members the chance to see it on the big screen? And will non-3D screenings diminish the impact of Avatar? Right now it's Bigelow's to lose...my guess is that she will take it.

1. Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
2. Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
3. Carey Mulligan, An Education
4. Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
5. Helen Mirren, The Last Station

Outside looking in: Zoe Saldana, Avatar; Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria; Marion Cotillard, Nine

Note: Bullock seems like a runaway freight train. Streep was a lock for months, but Bullock became a sensation, The Blind Side became a huge hit, and then the awards started flowing in. Bullock is such a good person and her speeches are so charming and that performance was truly her career best. Oscar voters will want to honor her.

1. Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
2. George Clooney, Up in the Air
3. Colin Firth, A Single Man
4. Morgan Freeman, Invictus
5. Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Outside looking in: Tobey Maguire, Brothers; Viggo Mortensen, The Road; Ben Foster, The Messenger

Note: Bridges takes it. Not much anyone can do to stop it. Clooney deserves this one, and a PR push could boost his chances, but I think he wants to stay out of that game-playing. So...Bridges. Done.

1. Mo'Nique, Precious
2. Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
3. Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
4. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
5. Penelope Cruz, Nine

Outside looking in: Julianne Moore, A Single Man; Samantha Morton, The Messenger; Diane Kruger, Inglourious Basterds; Susan Sarandon, The Lovely Bones

Note: Not even worth much discussion. Mo'Nique.

1. Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
2. Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
3. Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
4. Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
5. Matt Damon, Invictus

Outside looking in: Alfred Molina, An Education; Alec Baldwin, It's Complicated
Note: Waltz is locked at this point. Would be nice to see Harrelson get out there and campaign, because he does fabulous work...but at this point Waltz seems inevitable.

1. Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
2. Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
3. Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy, Up
4. Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman, The Messenger
5. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, A Serious Man

Note: Two-man race between Boal and Tarantino. Can't ever count out Tarantino, the Dean of Film Writers in the last decade...but that Hurt Locker screenplay is extraordinary...way better, really, than Tarantino's Basterds script, which is funny and clever but that's it. Say Boal is the front-runner at 51%, with Tarantino at his heels at 49%.

1. Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
2. Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious
3. Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, District 9
4. Nick Hornby, An Education
5. Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche, In the Loop

Note: I'd say Reitman and Turner's extraordinary Up in the Air screenplay is an 85% favorite here, just about locked. Since the film will likely be overlooked in every other category, this will be the chance for the Academy to honor the film. Its closest competitor is Fletcher's Precious script, which might have a better chance if the film still held the momentum in built in the October/November timeframe, but it doesn't. It's Up in the Air's to lose.

More discussion to come...and updated charts should arrive on a weekly basis from here on out...


Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.so you also can read my blog.

J McKiernan said...

Thanks for your nice comments, and thanks for the visits.

That goes for all of you readers out there. Keep coming, keep commenting...and we will keep trying to do good work for you.

Anonymous said...

This is my 2nd visit so thought I would comment. I'm most excited to see that Up has been nominated. Is this not the first time an animated feature has been up for best picture? I thought Wall-E might have got a nom last year but it wasn't to be. Keep up the blogging and hope you get a chance to check out mine.

Mark - http://seeandhearmark.blogspot.com/

J McKiernan said...

Beauty and the Beast was nominated in 1992. Up is the first animated film to be nominated for BP since.

WALL-E, in my opinion, was the best film of 2008 and is one of the best films of the last decade. It is a crime it wasn't nominated, though it surely would've been under the 10-nominee system. It's one of the good things (really, the only good thing) about the Academy's move to include 10 BP nominees.

Glad you're here. Keep coming back!

K McKiernan said...


I adored UP. Soon you will see its placement on my top 10 of the year list. It is not #1, but it is quite high. Amazing movie. And although I adored Wall-e, to me, the first 20 minutes of UP is about the most lovely, magical moment in film since I can remember.