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Oscar Watching: Crow is the Food of the Season

We’re at the point where it’s better to throw in and summarize some official predictions, updating them as we move along, than to summarize the events of the week. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, the most nominated film at the Screen Actors Guild’s SAG Awards, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globes, and the Broadcast Film Critics Association’s Critics’ Choice Awards, remains the one to beat for best picture, best actor, and best adapted screenplay. It also looks to win several other major races.

The last few months of the Oscar race always bring a few surprises, but this week brought them in spades. Many expected nominees are missing from these nominations in some respects, while unexpected names seem to glide to nomination glory. I can’t be the only one eating crow this awards season.

But I digress. Let’s see how the top eight Oscar races have changed this last week.


Best Picture

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel lurked below the line of more obvious contenders for most of the season, but with (admittedly predictable) top nods from SAG and at the Golden Globes, it might be more of a player for Fox Searchlight than originally expected. Django Unchained finally makes waves, scoring top nods with both the BFCA and Globes, but let’s see how buzz for that one builds over the weeks. It’s silly to call an Oscar race over and done with at this point, but whatever: Lincoln wins best picture.


1. Lincoln

2. Zero Dark Thirty

3. Argo

4. Les Misérables

5. Amour

6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

7. Silver Linings Playbook

8. Beasts of the Southern Wild

9. Life of Pi

10. Moonrise Kingdom

11. Django Unchained

12. The Master

13. Promised Land

14. Skyfall

15. Flight


Best Director

Does that curious Globe snub spell trouble for Tom Hooper, or is he getting in for Les Misérables no matter what? Paul Thomas Anderson won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s best director honor, but will that translate into an Oscar nod for The Master? It’s doubtful. Spielberg probably wins the Oscar for Lincoln.


1. Steven Spielberg for Lincoln

2. Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty

3. Ben Affleck for Argo

4. Michael Haneke for Amour

5. David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook

6. Ang Lee for Life of Pi

7. Tom Hooper for Les Misérables

8. Wes Anderson for Moonrise Kingdom

9. Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild

10. Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained


Best Actress in a Leading Role

As this week passes, my pipe dream of Emmanuelle Riva winning best actress for Amour also vanishes due to snubs at SAG and the Globes despite her wining the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s best actress prize (alongside Jennifer Lawrence’s Silver Linings Playbook turn). She’ll be lucky for the nomination.

Meanwhile, Rachel Weisz made the cut in the Golden Globes’ best actress in a motion picture drama race for The Deep Blue Sea. Throw in her surprise win with the New York Film Critics Circle, and we’ve got a contender. The Globes also nodded Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone), Helen Mirren (Hitchcock), and Naomi Watts (The Impossible) in the same category. Chastain and Lawrence vie for the win, with the latter in a better position.


1. Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook

2. Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty

3. Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild

4. Marion Cotillard for Rust and Bone

5. Emmanuelle Riva for Amour

6. Naomi Watts for The Impossible

7. Helen Mirren for Hitchcock

8. Rachel Weisz for The Deep Blue Sea

9. Judi Dench for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel


Best Actor in a Leading Role

The Oscar blogosphere lost its cool when SAG snubbed Joaquin Phoenix’s brilliant turn in The Master. This exclusion challenges his position in the race, but I still expect him to pop up in Oscar’s lineup. Bradley Cooper’s Oscar chances for Silver Linings Playbook rise dramatically as he picks up nods from the BFCA, HFPA, and SAG. Of course, he’s still in a competitive race, and Lawrence is the film’s main get. Hugh Jackman, John Hawkes, and Denzel Washington all earn mentions from those three groups for Les Misérables, The Sessions, and Flight. We can probably count on them filling out Oscar’s top five.

Meanwhile, Richard Gere finally picked up a precursor nod from the HFPA for the little-seen Arbitrage. This season’s provided myriad surprises already, so we can’t dismiss him – or anything else – outright. However, if Gere couldn’t get in for Chicago

Oh, and Daniel Day-Lewis wins. That’s all


1. Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln

2. Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables

3. Joaquin Phoenix for The Master

4. John Hawkes for The Sessions

5. Denzel Washington for Flight

6. Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook

7. Richard Gere for Arbitrage

8. Anthony Hopkins for Hitchcock


Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Nicole Kidman’s given us what might be the biggest surprise of the season thus far: Globe and SAG mentions for The Paperboy. Yes, she might snag an Oscar nod for a critically divisive box-office bomb in which she urinates on Zac Efron. Few expected The Paperboy to make its way into Oscar season despite the raves for Kidman, but she’s probably getting her fourth nomination.

Who might miss out on a fourth mention, though, is Amy Adams. Her work in The Master won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s supporting actress prize, but SAG snubbed Adams as they did fellow LAFCA winners Riva and Phoenix, her Master co-star. The Globe nod keeps her in the mix to an extent, but that might not be enough with the last-minute surge for Kidman.

Anne Hathaway leads this race for Les Misérables, but don’t dismiss Sally Field for Lincoln.


1. Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables

2. Sally Field for Lincoln

3. Maggie Smith for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

4. Helen Hunt for The Sessions

5. Nicole Kidman for The Paperboy

6. Amy Adams for The Master

7. Ann Dowd for Compliance


Best Actor in a Supporting Role

The only acting race this season without a clear front-runner, the honors and nominations announced this week did little to clear up this confusing race. Most surprisingly, Javier Bardem scored BFCA and SAG nods for Skyfall. I doubt he lands with Oscar for that role, but he netted a best actor mention for the little-seen Biutiful, so he’s not out of the race just yet. Meanwhile, Matthew McConaughey missed with Globe and SAG despite his win with the New York Film Critics Circle, so I wouldn’t anticipate a nomination for his Magic Mike performance. I’m guessing Tommy Lee Jones wins for Lincoln.


1. Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln

2. Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master

3. Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook

4. Alan Arkin for Argo

5. Leonardo DiCaprio for Django Unchained

6. Dwight Henry for Beasts of the Southern Wild

7. Javier Bardem for Skyfall

8. Matthew McConaughey for Magic Mike

9. Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained

10. Eddie Redmayne for Les Misérables


Best Original Screenplay

No real changes here: it looks like Rian Johnson (Looper) and Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained) fight for that last spot. Mark Boal sits atop the list with Zero Dark Thirty, though Amour and Moonrise Kingdom might be threats.


1. Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty

2. Michael Haneke for Amour

3. Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola for Moonrise Kingdom

4. Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master

5. Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained

6. Rian Johnson for Looper

7. Matt Damon and John Krasinski for Promised Land

8. John Gatins for Flight

9. Reid Carolin for Magic Mike


Best Adapted Screenplay

Ol Parker (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) get majors boosts here, but I still can’t see either in the top five just yet. Tony Kushner still leads with his Lincoln script.


1. Tony Kushner for Lincoln

2. David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook

3. Chris Terrio for Argo

4. David Magee for Life of Pi

5. Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild

6. Ol Parker for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

7. William Nicholson for Les Misérables

8. Ben Lewin for The Sessions

9. Stephen Chbosky for The Perks of Being a Wallflower


Read previous Oscar Watching columns here.

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Donovan Warren

Donovan Warren

Donovan Warren loves the wonderful world of film and all that comes with it. He specifically loves long takes, fabulous actresses, and keeping up with the Oscar season - even when it's far too early to make sense of anything.