Wednesday, December 22, 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 17, 2010

Rabbit Hole
Nicole Kidman has both a Golden Globe nomination and a SAG nomination for her lead performance, and it’s possible that’s all the film will get, though she’s also vulnerable to an overcrowded category. Since it’s adapted from a successful play, it may also snag a Best Adapted Screenplay nod. Costars Aaron Eckhart and Dianne Wiest could still figure into their respective races, but it’s a little late at this point and there are at least six solid contenders vying for five slots in each race already.

Casino Jack
Kevin Spacey landed a Golden Globe nomination for his performance as Jack Abramoff. His last Comedy/Musical nomination, for “Beyond the Sea” in 2004, was as far as he went, and I think he’ll have to be content with that recognition (and a potential win in a category with no frontrunner). The film isn’t buzzing for any reason besides his performance.

Tron: Legacy
This film is one of the fifteen finalists for Best Visual Effects, and may well show up there. It could also score bids for Best Sound and Best Sound Editing.

Awards Happenings

This week isn’t nearly as hectic as last week, but it’s still somewhat hard to keep up. In some cases, we have critics and awards groups bestowing awards after presenting nominations last week. Since it may be more manageable, I’ll take it group by group and hopefully won’t miss much. I’m also ignoring individual critics’ top ten lists, but there’s plenty out there, and you can read about all them at The Film Experience and Awards Daily. If it loads, you can try using this chart as well.

SAG Nominations: Read about each of the five categories separately, but here’s the scoop: “True Grit” is back in the game thanks to nods for Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld, ditto Robert Duvall, Mila Kunis is stronger than ever, so are “Black Swan” and “The Fighter,” and watch out for two surprise nominees, one very deserving (John Hawkes from “Winter’s Bone”) and the other not so much (Hilary Swank from “Conviction”).

Las Vegas Film Critics Society doles out its winners along with a list of nominees. Of note in the Best Picture list of ten is “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” with “Toy Story 3” conspicuously missing (and “The Kids Are All Right"). Winners include TSN, Fincher, Franco, Portman, Bale, and Adams.

Detroit Film Critics go for TSN, Danny Boyle, Firth, Jennifer Lawrence, Bale, and Adams. “Winter’s Bone” wins Best Ensemble.

Chicago Film Critics nominations swap “The Fighter” for “Winter’s Bone” in the Best Picture category and nominate Lesley Manville (woohoo!) though it’s Nicole Kidman who misses out in favor of Michelle Williams. A cool category: Most Promising Filmmaker, which nominated Banksy (Exit Through the Gift Shop), Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), David Michod (Animal Kingdom), Aaron Schneider (Get Low), and John Wells (The Company Men). All solid choices. Cianfrance won the category, and the rest of the winners are all as expected.

Dallas-Fort Worth Critics do awards plus a top ten Best Picture list, again leaving off “Toy Story 3” in favor of “The Town.” Could this happen at the Oscars too? Doubtful. It’s all TSN, Franco, Portman, Bale, Leo. Nothing new, though “127 Hours” takes Best Cinematography.

Houston Film Critics awards TSN Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Screenplay, handing out the other awards to Portman, Bale, and Steinfeld. Awards Daily points out that their fun inclusion is “We Are Sex Bob-Omb” from “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.”

Florida Film Critics Circle chooses TSN, Firth, Portman, Bale, Leo. Sound familiar? What people are pointing out about this particular group is that they gave four honors to “Inception,” for cinematography, art direction, screenplay, and visual effects. All decently likely wins at the Oscars.

St. Louis Film Critics hand out their awards to the usual suspects, though "Micmacs" takes Best Foreign Film and Best Artistic/Creative Film, and there's also a cool best scene category, shared by "127 Hours" and "Inception."

London Critics Circle has nominations which are, of course, British, which means that they have special categories for British films, directors, and actors. This results in a few fun modifications to what we’ve been normatively seeing. “127 Hours” scores nods for British Film and British Director, but not for star James Franco, while plenty of other Americans, like Jeff Bridges and Ryan Gosling, do make the cut. A few performers get double nods, like Andrew Garfield (The Social Network and Never Let Me Go), Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech and Alice in Wonderland), and Rosamund Pike (Made in Dagenham and Barney’s Version). Lesley Manville obviously gets mentioned for “Another Year,” as do four of her cast mates! Two especially cool nominations: Tom Hardy for British Supporting Actor for “Inception” and Jessica Barden for Young British Performer for “Tamara Drewe.”

Satellite Awards, my personal favorite. The nominations came out three weeks ago, and now we have the winners. Sure, we have “The Social Network” for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Fincher for director, Firth for actor, and Bale for supporting actor, but then it gets interesting. “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” wins Best Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical, and star Michael Cera also takes his category. Noomi Rapace takes Best Drama Actress over Natalie Portman and Anne Hathaway wins the comedy category over Annette Bening. In a more Oscar-plausible bit of excitement, Jacki Weaver snags Best Supporting Actress. My favorite win, of course, is “Please Give” for Best Film Editing over the likes of “Inception,” “Shutter Island,” “The Social Network,” “The Town,” and “Unstoppable.” You don’t see that anywhere else.

Additionally, Awards Daily has the list of the 248 films officially eligible for the Best Picture race. I’ve screened 170 films so far this year, and what’s crazy is that only 95 of them are on this list.

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