With several movies still to be released, we don’t have a good grasp yet on how the major players will be received. But we’re still closer than we were in August. So take a look at where the races stand today. Meet you back here in a month.
Falling off: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, To the Wonder
Rising star: Promised Land
The skinny: While I removed Old Folks in India from contention, I wouldn’t count it out yet. It’s pretty slight, but that hasn’t stopped movies like Chocolat from getting nominated. Silver Linings Playbook is the hottest ticket right now, considering it won the coveted People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival.
Falling off: Kathryn Bigelow, Terrence Malick
Rising star: David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
The skinny: It’s going to be exceedingly difficult for Russell to break into this group, but if his movie’s as big a hit domestically as it was in Toronto, he could be looking at his second nomination.
Falling off: Hugh Jackman
Rising star: Omar Sy, The Intouchables
The skinny: With Hitchcock now in the mix, this is going to be another race that comes down to the wire. The real X factor is Sy, who won the César and could get a major campaign boost from the Weinsteins and an all-but-guaranteed Golden Globe win.
Falling off: Viola Davis, Helen Hunt (moved to supporting)
Rising star: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
The skinny: Now that Won’t Back Down will be mentioned in the same breath as The Oogieloves as the year’s biggest flops, Davis doesn’t have a chance in hell of getting nominated now, even though she should already have two Oscars on her mantle. Riva got raves at festivals for her dying octogenarian, but she faces stiff competition for that last slot from fellow Frenchwoman Marion Cotillard, who plays an injured trainer in Rust and Bone. Only one will make it, but it’s too early to know which one.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Jim Broadbent, Cloud Atlas
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike
Falling off: No one
Rising star: Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
The skinny: Just because De Niro actual acts in this movie instead of phoning it in, isn’t enough to convince me he’s a shoo-in for a nomination. If Broadbent gets in, it’ll be as a way to nominate Cloud Atlas’s sprawling cast. But he could just as easily be shut out because voters can’t pick which actor gives the best performance(s).
Falling off: Judi Dench, Maggie Gyllenhaal
Rising star: Pauline Collins, Quartet
The skinny: I’m going to be extremely pissed if Maggie Smith wins. She’s certainly respectable but her role is so telegraphed, it’s hard to see any effort at all (which might be why she’ll win). But she could be left out if Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut leads another respected Brit (Collins) to her first nomination in ages.
Falling off: Ruby Sparks, Zero Dark Thirty
Rising star: The Intouchables
The skinny: Looper’s critical and commercial successes make it a new player in what’s perceived as a weak race. That’s not a knock on Looper. It’s certainly a factor if a similar sci-fi action flick like Inception can get nominated in this category. The dark horse here is The Intouchables, which barely passes the “not based on material previously published” test.
Falling off: Life of Pi
Rising star: The Sessions
The skinny: A tough category to predict since so many of the major players have scripts based on older plays, articles and novels. No one will side with me, but I think the writers branch will throw the critically acclaimed Bernie a bone here, since its other best chances (Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress) likely won’t beat the rest of the competition.
Falling off: The Lorax
Rising star: Rise of the Guardians
The skinny: Disney reigns supreme over all other studios, so don’t be surprised if it boasts not one, not two, but three nominees in this category. And Ernest and Celestine? That’s just a placeholder for GKIDS, which has several independent movies in contention.