It’s been a crazy ten-or-so days since we last took you inside the world of Oscar. We’ve been treated to a flood of Awards from organizations as prestigious as the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild all the way down to newer groups like the Austin Film Critics Society. What does it all mean? We now have a very clear picture of who will get nominated for Oscars.
That’s not to say the race is over, there’s still plenty of room for movies and directors to maneuver with some major critics groups and industry guilds still yet to hand out their trophies, but the actors, that’s another story.
The coming of the SAG nominations typically ends any acting race as the voting bloc for both the SAG and Oscars are very similar (though the Academy is much smaller and votes later). Still, this is as reliable a predictor as any, meaning a groundswell of buzz is necessary to alter these predictions.
With that, here are the updated Oscar Power Rankings…
No movement in the last couple weeks for Clooney and why would there be? He’s hit just about every major precursor and his film is earning him the best reviews of his career. He’s a lock.
Bridges started very slowly with the precursors, but once critics actually got to see the film he’s been dominating awards ever since. His Golden Globe and SAG nominations confirm his status as a top contender.
He’s been about neck-and-neck with Bridges in the precursor race and only slightly off in the buzz race. Plus, he’s got the Weinstein Oscar Machine behind him. Should be an easy walk into Oscar.
The lack of a Golden Globe nominations (Tobey Maguire? Where did that come from?) is the only blemish for Renner who has been collecting statues at a nice rate all Oscar season along with his raved-about film.
It hasn’t quite been the shower of praise and buzz expected for Freeman portraying Nelson Mandela, but he’s gotten enough love (including the Golden Globe and SAG double) to be a near-certainty.
The top five are pretty locked-in, but if there’s anybody who’s going to worm his way into the group it’s Day-Lewis who has a splashy release coming at Christmas, the Oscar history, and the Weinsteins behind him. It could happen.
Time to get into the real longshots. Mortensen got some notice from a few precursors, and has Weinstein backing him, but it doesn’t look good right now.
Damon has picked up a few small precursors and got the Golden Globe comedy nod, but it looks like voters are more likely to give him all their love as a supporting actor.
His only hope is if he can pull off an upset of Daniel Day-Lewis in the Golden Globe Comedy Category. If that happens he has some hope, but it doesn’t seem likely.
10 (7) – Michael Stuhlbarg in A Serious Man
At first, it seemed like he could be the critical darling that snuck in on a wave of precursors. Now we see that role has been filled by Renner, making Stuhlbarg a major longshot.
Dropping Out: Nicolas Cage in The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (Ranked 10th)
The Grand Dame of Oscar has herself another surefire nomination for her portrayal of Julia Child. She’s managed more precursors than anybody else, which is actually a rarity for her. Could she win?
Mulligan has been mostly neck-and-neck with Streep all Oscar season in the precursor category. She’s become this year’s “It Girl”, a status that can’t quite supplant Meryl Streep.
3 (2) – Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
Sidibe hasn’t gotten plenty of precursors and plenty of buzz for her performance. Overall buzz for the movie is waning, but nowhere near enough to harm her chances.
The box office behemoth that is The Blind Side is certain to carry Bullock to her first Oscar nomination. The Golden Globe and SAG nominations make her a lock.
5 (10) – Emily Blunt in The Young Victoria
She got a Golden Globe, but missed out on SAG. Still, this seems like a role and movie that will continue to build buzz as the season wears on and propel her past Helen Mirren.
6 (6) – Helen Mirren in The Last Station
See above. She got the SAG nomination, but hasn’t gotten much else. Blunt seems poised to take her spot.
7 (NR) – Marion Cotillard – in Nine
Here’s the wildcard. She seemed like a lock Supporting Actress nominee for much of the season and then she got a leading nomination from the Golden Globes. It’s far too confusing at this point, but a surprise lead nomination is nowhere near impossible.
Bones bowed to tepid reviews and does not seem ready to take the box office by storm as it expands. Still, its lead has gotten some small precursor notices and the buzz for Stanley Tucci might be enough to sweep her up.
She was a non-factor until a couple days ago when she won the LAFCA Award for Best Actress. Despite this, she’ll probably stay a non-factor for the rest of the season.
Abbie Cornish didn’t get the precursor love that seemed ready to come her way. In fact, she’s only gotten one nomination. Better luck next year.
Dropping Out: Shoreh Aghdashloo in The Stoning of Soraya M. (8), Penelope Cruz in Broken Embraces (9)
Best Supporting Actor
He’s reached Helen Mirren in The Queen levels of absurdity with regards to the precursor awards he’s won. Nothing is going to stop him.
Harrelson got some mild buzz, won the National Board of Review and then started showing up on every precursor nominee list (not many wins because of Waltz). He is a lock.
The third lock in this category comes from Tucci who, despite the negative reviews for Bones, has actually been getting the biggest raves of his career. The Golden Globe and SAG double confirms his status as a certain nominee.
It’s hard to say that Damon doesn’t have a great shot with his SAG and Golden Globe nomination, but that’s about all he got. Of course, with Waltz hogging all the awards there wasn’t much left for him to pick up.
5 (10) – Christian McKay in Me and Orson Welles
His situation is similar to Blunt’s. He may have missed out on SAG and Golden Globe nominations but critcs groups are starting to give him some awards and nominations. This is another film for which buzz will continue to grow to an amount that should find McKay’s being nominated.
6 (6) – Christopher Plummer in The Last Station
He got the Golden Globe and SAG nomination, but that almost seems based on repuatation at this point. Seriously, where is the buzz for this film? He’s got a great shot, but it seems like this movie will end up getting lost.
He’s a very fast riser with critics groups starting to look back on his rage-filled performance as the comedic work of the year. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to be quite enough to ulimately get him a nomination, however.
8 (8) – Alfred Molina in An Education
Alfred Molina has gotten a few precursor nominations for his performance but nothing special. This prediction has already become dull – kind of like his campaign.
Early on, it looked like the buzz for the film might carry Mackie (who actually gave the best performance in the movie) to a nomination. But even with all that love, nobody is paying any attention to Mackie. A shame.
10 (5) – Alec Baldwin in It’s Complicated
Baldwin hasn’t gotten a single notice from any precursor. Not a one. Still, his hosting the ceremony is enough to keep him in the conversation.
Dropping Out: Peter Sarsgaard in An Education (4)
Best Supporting Actress
1 (2) – Monique in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
There were a lot of PR mistake early on in her campaign, but the fact that she’s absolutely domination the precursor awards should render those gaffes nil.
It Girl 2.0? She’s not quite the buzz magnet of Mulligan, but her performance is still getting a ton of buzz and nice share of precursors. She’s a lock.
The third lock in this category. Farmiga is just a little behind Kendrick in terms of bulk awards and buzz, but that’s still a long way ahead of anybody else.
Moore missed out on a SAG nomination, but she did manage a Golden Globe nomination in a campaign that seems to die just as it gets hot. She does have the Weinsteins in her corner, and buzz for the movie is growing. That should be enough to overcome her SAG snub.
5 (9) – Penelope Cruz in Nine
She was nowhere for most of the precursor season then suddenly got a Golden Globe and SAG nomination. She won in this category last year (a good sign for a nomination) and has the Nine buzz machine driving her campaign. All this gives her a tenuous hold on the fifth spot.
6 (NR) – Marion Cotillard in Nine
Is she a lead or supporting? Nobody seems to know. She missed SAG, got a Golden Globe in lead and was noticed by several precursors as supporting. This is the most confusing campaign of the year.
She got absolutely zero notice from any precursor until she suddenly notched a SAG nomination. That shows you the power of the SAG that she’s nearly in despite being invisible all season.
Morton got some early precursor love but has since cooled off, moving her down the list. The residual buzz for Harrelson and the film in general might be enough to pick her back up again, but it isn’t looking good.
Laurent seemed ready for a nomination and then her co-star, Diane Kruger, swooped in to steal her SAG nomination. Now she seems like second banana in her own movie. Never a good spot unless you’re in Up In The Air.
She hasn’t gotten any precursor notice at all, but the buzz for Bridges could help her out. Probably not going to happen though.
Dropping Out: Mariah Carey in Precious (5), Susan Sarandon in The Lovely Bones (6), Judi Dench in Nine (7)
Who knew that the woman who made Point Break would someday be an Oscar front-runner for Best Director? Well, it’s happened as she’s earned more precursor awards than everyone else combined.
2 (4) – Jason Reitman for Up in the Air
The wunderkind is poised for his second nomination on the back of unbelievable reviews and plenty of precursors. Is this guy so good it’s annoying?
Last time it looked like the Weinsteins were going to be all about Nine. Now that that movie has fallen flat, and Basterds, is getting tons of precursors (including many for Tarantin0) the producers will probably switch horses and get QT another nomination.
4 (1) – Clint Eastwood for Invictus
Not quite the overwhelming love we expected for an Eastwood/Mandela picture, but he’s gotten a solid amount of precursors, and, of course, he’s Clint.
He’s changing the history of mankind with this film if some of the early reviews are to be believed. He’s also gotten some precursor awards (like a Golden Globe nomination) which helps.
6 (3) – Lee Daniels for Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
As expected, nobody is seeing this as a director’s achievement and the precursors have been meager at best for Daniels.
7 (NR) – Spike Jonze for Where The Wild Things Are
Suddenly, Jonze has gotten a lot of precursor love despite the movie basically disappearing about two weeks after it came out. He’s a surprise DGA nomination away from unseating the fabulous five.
8 (2) – Rob Marshall for Nine
His precursor count: zero. His Weinstein count: two. Don’t count him out yet.
9 (8) – Joel & Ethan Coen for A Serious Man
It looks like the October release for Man is going to do the Coens in, good reviews notwithstanding. Just not enough buzz.
10 (NR) – Wes Anderson for Fantastic Mr. Fox
Anderson has been sneaking his way into a few precursor awards in the last couple days. Still he’s going to need more than a few critics nominations to move up this list.
Dropping Out: Peter Jackson for The Lovely Bones (9), Tom Ford for A Single Man (10)
1 (5) – The Hurt Locker
This film has simply won far more precursors than any other one. There’s no way it doesn’t get a nomination at this point.
2 (4) – Up in the Air
The only real mark against this is that it didn’t get a SAG nomination for Best Ensemble. It’s hit every single other note otherwise and will cruise to a nomination.
3 (7) – Inglorious Basterds
The large amounts of precursor love (it hasn’t missed anything major) and the backing of The Weinsteins make this a mortal lock.
4 (1) – Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
Buzz has really receded on this movie as it’s encountered some backlash and not much love from the precursors. It’s extremely like right now, but if it misses on the Producers Guild and Writers Guild it could tumble down the list.
5 (2) – Nine
Some of the reviews have been tortuous and it went nearly two weeks without a single notice from the precursors, it looked on its way out. Then it picked up a Critics Choice, Golden Globe and SAG ensemble nod – the three most important precursors thus far. Now it looks like a lock all over again.
6 (6) – Avatar
The film that changed movies forever, at least that’s what we’re being told. As long as this doesn’t fail at the box office it’s going to get nominated with ten slots to fill.
7 (10) – An Education
This was a fringe contender until yesterday when it picked up a SAG nomination for Best Ensemble. The actors are the largest voting bloc in the Academy and the nomination really bodes well for this small film.
8 (3) – Invictus
This movie just hasn’t quite gotten much buzz. It has, however, picked up a decent number of precursors along the way – enough to make it a nominee though it will need love from either the PGA or DGA to make it a sure thing.
9 (9) – Up
A nice amount of precursors and the best reviews of the year make it seem like a lock right? Too bad it’s animated and thus nearly tumbles off the list of nominees.
10 (8) – A Serious Man
Here it is. The reason that ten nominees are a bad idea. It’s not that this wasn’t an excellent movie, but if there were only five nominees this year it would have absolutely no chance, now it will just have to get nominated with zero chance of winning. What is the point of that again? Also, you’ll notice these are the same ten nominees as last time, just in a much different order. Kind of surprising given the ten available slots.
11 (NR) – (500) Days of Summer
Okay, so maybe the point is to let a different type of film have its shot at the big dance and Summer is the most likely of those films. It’s gotten some precursor love and has a good shot to upset Nine as the Golden Globes. If it does that, it’s in.
12 (14) – A Single Man
The movie itself has been kind of stagnant while Colin Firth’s campaign shoots up like a rocket. Unfortunately that rocket probably won’t carry the film to a nomination, but never count out the Weinsteins.
13 (NR) – The Messenger
This movie has gotten a lot of positive reviews and Woody Harrelson is a lock for Best Supporting Actor. That may be enough to get voters to take notice as the Oscar season wears on and move this in as a surprise nominee.
14 (15) – The Hangover
It’s actually gotten a few precursor nominations for Best Picture and has a DVD rolling out this week – giving voters another chance to see it. It’s in the Golden Globe Comedy race and a win there could make it the greatest beneficiary of the rule of ten.
15 (NR) – Where The Wild Things Are
Like its director, this film has picked up some later-season precursor awards and is starting to regain some buzz. It will need something jarring, however, to make it a real contender for a nomination.
Dropping Out: The Lovely Bones (11), The Road (12), Bright Star (13)