Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday Oscar Watch

Welcome to a weekly feature here at Movies with Abe, Wednesday Oscar Watch with Abe. At this point, plenty of likely contenders are being released. I’ll be looking every Wednesday at the awards chances for all of the films released the previous week. Additionally, I’ll be recapping any awards-related developments and announcements from the past week. Chime in with your thoughts on the Oscar chances for these films in the comments section.

Films released December 10, 2010

The Fighter
This film has been doing well recently, picking up plenty of buzz for supporting performers Christian Bale and Melissa Leo. While Bale’s bad-boy reputation may hurt him, the performance really is that good and the reviews are that strong for him that it shouldn’t be a problem. Leo is definitely in, and costar Amy Adams is probably in too. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t stand much of a shot because, as stated in my review, his role doesn’t demand that much of him. The film is probably fine – though not safe – for Best Picture, and sliding into categories like Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing may be tougher.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Film number one in the series scored three nods, for Makeup (which it won), Sound, and Visual Effects. Nothing for number two, but this one has been announced as a finalist for Best Visual Effects (see all the way below), so it could contend there, but doubtful anywhere else.

The Company Men
This film stars a few Oscar winners, including Ben Affleck (who won for writing), Kevin Costner (who won for directing), and Tommy Lee Jones (who actually won for acting). Unsurprisingly, Jones has the best shot out of any, though it’s hardly a good one and quite unlikely.

Awards Happenings

What didn’t happen this week when it comes to awards? Besides the Golden Globe nominations (announced yesterday) and the SAG nods (announcing tomorrow – predictions coming tonight), both of which have/will have individual commentary by category, there are plenty of critics groups that have revealed their honorees this week. To avoid reposting everything, I’ll go category by category and try to aggregate everything. Read the Best Picture blurb first in order to get the abbreviations. This is another Very Long Post, so apologies for any inadvertent acronym or group mix-up. If you’re interested in all the nominations for all the critics groups, click the links for each group that should take you to either The Film Experience or Awards Daily – those are the sources I always use. These groups don’t necessarily have the same (or any) weight on eventual Oscar nominations, but it’s always worth noting what a certain group of people pick just to see what a lineup can look like.

Best Picture: It’s looking increasingly likely that the list is going to be “127 Hours,” “Black Swan,” “The Fighter,” “Inception,” “The Kids Are All Right,” “The King’s Speech,” “The Social Network,” “Toy Story 3,” “True Grit,” and “Winter’s Bone.” Nipping strongly on the heels of “The Kids Are All Right” (snubbed by the Broadcast Film Critics Association) is “The Town,” which also took the spot of ineligible British production “The King’s Speech” on the American Film Institute (AFI)’s list. The New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO) honored “Another Year” (a legitimate contender) and true longshots “Blue Valentine,” “The Ghost Writer,” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (not a contender). Otherwise, the frontrunner appears to be “The Social Network,” which won the Best Picture prize from the New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC), Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), Boston Society of Film Critics (BSFC), NYFCO, Toronto Film Critics Assocaition, San Francisco Film Critics, Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA). I’ve always thought TSN would win Best Picture, and though it’s still early to call, I’m still thinking that. And since I neglected to post about it last week, it’s worth noting that the National Board of Review (NBR) included “Hereafter” and “Shutter Island” in their top ten list, and, not nearly as relevant, the Houston Area Film Critics swapped out “Winter’s Bone” for “Kick-Ass” in their top ten. Phoenix subbed in “Shutter Island” and “Never Let Me Go” for “Black Swan” and “The Fighter.” San Diego crowned "Winter's Bone" its winner. Golden Globes impact: Besides some quirky comedy additions – “Alice in Wonderland,” “Burlesque,” “Red,” and “The Tourist” – the most notable thing about the Globes is that “True Grit” and “Another Year” were completely shut out, while “Winter’s Bone” and “The Town” each earned only one nomination (for acting) apiece.

Best Director: David Fincher gets a huge boost by winning everything, though it’s worth noting that at the LAFCA he tied with Olivier Assayas for the foreign production “Carlos,” presumably inconsequential and even ineligible due to its technical status as a television mini-series (I haven’t seen it – if you know more than me, please say so). Nothing else to report, just add Nolan, Hooper, Boyle, Aronofsky, and maybe the Coen brothers (though San Diego did nominate Debra Granik, and award Aronofsky). Golden Globes impact: And let’s be sure to throw David O. Russell (The Fighter) into the race after his Golden Globe nod, where he replaced Boyle and joined Fincher, Hooper, Nolan, and Aronofsky.

Best Actor: It’s all about Colin Firth this week, though Jesse Eisenberg squeaked by with one more vote from the BSFC. BFCA had six nominees, giving Ryan Gosling a nod along with Bridges, Duvall, and Franco. St. Louis and San Francisco both had five nominees, leaving off Gosling. San Diego also recognized Aaron Eckhart (Rabbit Hole) and Colin Farrell (Ondine), their winner. Golden Globes impact: Good news for Gosling; not so much for Bridges and Duvall, both of whose films were shut out completely. Also, Kevin Spacey (Casino Jack) earns a comedy nod, and Johnny Depp earns two.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman takes Boston, NYFCO, and SEFCA, and Annette Bening wins the NYFCC. In a wonderful surprise, Kim Hye-Ja gets crowned Best Actress in LA for “Mother,” which was eligible for Best Foreign Film last year but, since it didn’t make the cut, could still get honored this year. Doubtful, of course. The same goes for Tilda Swinton (I Am Love), honored by San Diego. Another surprise inclusion from the BFCA: Noomi Rapace for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (also nominated by St. Louis and Houston), joining Portman, Bening, Williams, Lawrence, and Kidman. Naomi Watts is also in the mix thanks to the St. Louis Film Critics Association, which bizarrely left Bening off its list. Detroit, Phoenix, and San Diego throw in Carey Mulligan for “Never Let Me Go” (why not “The Greatest”?). Lawrence wins Toronto, while Williams takes the San Francisco prize. No Lesley Manville anywhere yet except for her National Board of Review win (and a supporting nomination & win from San Diego) – very troubling. Golden Globes impact: Still no Lesley Manville, but Halle Berry (Frankie and Alice)? Also Angelina Jolie (The Tourist) for comedy, and a boost for Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine).

Best Supporting Actor: A whole lot of Christian Bale and Geoffrey Rush, though LAFCA once again mixes it up and throws in the terrific Niels Arestup for “A Prophet,” ineligible because the film got nominated for Best Foreign Film last year. Mark Ruffalo takes the NYFCC, which is important since he hasn’t gotten all that much lately. Joining Bale, Rush, and Ruffalo at the BFCA are Garfield, Renner, and Rockwell. Who misses the boat when it gets whittled down to five? St. Louis only had five nods, and both Garfield and Ruffalo missed the boat in favor of the awesome John Hawkes for “Winter’s Bone.” Houston substituted Rockwell and Ruffalo for Bill Murray, whereas Detroit opted for six and voted for Hawkes over Ruffalo. San Francisco and San Diego went with Hawkes and Toronto chose Armie Hammer (The Social Network), a fun pick. Phoenix threw in Matt Damon (True Grit) and San Diego nominated John Hurt (44 Inch Chest). Golden Globes impact: Hello, Michael Douglas (Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps). Goodbye, Rockwell and Ruffalo?

Best Supporting Actress: Names like Melissa Leo, Jacki Weaver, and Hailee Steinfeld, plus Juliette Lewis from “Conviction” thrown in by Boston. BFCA nods include the first three and Amy Adams, Helena Bonham Carter, and, interestingly, Mila Kunis. Minus Kunis is probably the Oscar list at this point. St. Louis adds a different “Black Swan” actress, Barbara Hershey, leaving off Weaver. Houston demoted Julianne Moore to supporting, while Detroit put Greta Gerwig of “Greenberg” (such alliteration) here. Phoenix tossed in Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass) and Kristin Scott Thomas (Nowhere Boy). San Diego added Dale Dickey (Winter's Bone) and Blake Lively (The Town). Golden Globes impact: Maybe Kunis isn’t off the Oscar list, as she joins the ranks in this category.

Other categories:

Best Foreign Film: Though it’s ineligible at the Oscars, I’m still excited that “Micmacs” got nominated by St. Louis, in both this category and the Best Comedy race, where it joined “Easy A,” “I Love You Phillip Morris,” Jack-Ass 3-D,” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.”

Best Animated Feature: With the NYFCC only, “The Illusionist” managed to eclipse “Toy Story 3,” which won all other prizes.

The Best Visual Effects contenders have been narrowed to fifteen: "Alice in Wonderland,” "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," "Clash of the Titans," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1," "Hereafter," "Inception," "Iron Man 2," "The Last Airbender," "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief," "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," "Shutter Island," "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice," "Tron: Legacy," and "Unstoppable." My comments: There’s no way that “The Last Airbender” deserves to be honored for anything, least of all its unimpressive effects. “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” on the other hand, was awesome, and I would love to see that happen. Otherwise, it sure appears that serving as background to Leonardo DiCaprio is helpful in this category, huh? This list will be trimmed to seven in January.

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