All the major guilds have weighed in with their nominees, the remaining critics organizations have all been counted, and now all that’s left are a few awards ceremonies to finalize the Oscar Race.
These ceremonies include The Golden Globes, The Critics Choice Awards, and all the Guilds naming the best of the best. Before those shows make the Oscar race increasingly clear, it’s time for an update on who are currently the favorites.
Also, as a public service, the Oscar Power Rankings are now expanded to include the Screenplay hopefuls. After the debacle of ineligibility that was the WGA Nominations, it only seems right that we have a forum that can make sense of that cloudy race. You’re welcome.
With that, here are the updated Oscar Power Rankings. As always, these are listed in order of likelihood of being nominated with no regards to their chances of winning…
Even though it seems like the conversation regarding this film ended a couple weeks ago, George Clooney has continued to reap dozens of awards – more than twice the person in second.
As this movie slowly rolls out across the country, buzz for Bridges is going to continue to intensify. That’s a scary thought, considering it’s already at critical mass.
Ah, Colin Firth, locking down the not-so-coveted “100% Lock for a Nomination with No Chance at Winning” slot. Although, with the Weinsteins, anything is possible.
Quietly, Renner has gathered the second-most attention from the precursors. Having zero star-power always hurts with Academy voters, but anything he loses in his not being very famous, he’ll gain back and then some in love for the film.
Buzz for this movie is kind of dead, but there’s just no way in the world the Academy is not going to nominate Morgan Freeman for playing Nelson Mandela. Right?
So this movie is essentially dead in the water, but it’s never wise to completely count out an Oscar favorite who has the power of the Weinstein Oscar machine behind him.
Maybe Damon wins a Golden Globe, maybe he doesn’t Either way, he’s much more likely to have all the love from the Academy thrown at him in the supporting category.
8 (NR) – Nicolas Cage in The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Nicolas Cage has a win from the Toronto Film Critics and a runner-up from the National Society of Film Critics to his credit. Those are impressive notices, but not enough to make him more than a longshot.
It’s looking more and more likely that he may take home the Golden Globe, but even if that happens, he’ll still be a huge longshot for the nomination.
10 (NR) – Sharito Copley in District 9
Buzz for District 9 has been steadily growing since its surprise PGA nomination for Best Picture. Copley could find himself a beneficiary of that buzz, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s featured in the cool new A-Team trailer.
Dropping Out: Viggo Mortensen in The Road (Ranked 7th), Michael Stuhlbarg in A Serious Man (10)
There’s really no point in ever counting out Streep. It seems we may as well put her at the top of any Oscar Power Rankings in any year she decides to make a film. In other words, she’d probably be at the top of this for It’s Complicated if Julie & Julia hadn’t come out in the same year.
Mulligan has been everywhere this Oscar season and seems to be poised for stardom. Her first nomination is inevitable as a launchpad.
3 (3) – Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
Everybody, everybody loves Sibide at this point. Even though buzz for the movie has wained, nobody has stopped showering Sibide with praise.
What do you get for the $400 million woman who’s just been named Entertainment Weekly’s entertainer of the year? Oh, her first Oscar nomination? Sounds good.
With no surfire fifth nominee, this spot seems right for a surprise come Oscar morning. With Nine pretty much out of the running in every category, look for the Weinsteins to get fully behind Basterds and that could mean a nomination for Laurent who has picked up just as many lead honors as she has supporting this Oscar season.
6 (6) – Helen Mirren in The Last Station
Sure, Mirren got a SAG nomination and is more revered than just about any actress in the world not named Blanchett or Streep, but has anybody actually seen this movie? Probably not.
7 (5) – Emily Blunt in The Young Victoria
Buzz on this movie is kind of hit-and-miss with many praising Blunt’s performance but bashing the film overall. That doesn’t seem like the sort of cocktail that voters will go out of their way to honor.
Just when Cornish seemd like she had no chance at a nomination, the National Societ of Film Critics named her runner-up for Best Actress, and gave her some chance. Okay, maybe less than some, but at least it’s no longer hopeless.
9 (7) – Marion Cotillard – in Nine
With buzz for Nine falling fast, Cotillard seems poised to be left in the lurch. It doesn’t help that she’s been honored as both supporting and lead this year.
This movie may not actually exist, but that hasn’t kept Moreau from winning both the Los Angeles Film Critics and National Society of Film Critics awards. Still, it would help if anybody had actually heard of this movie.
Dropping Out: Saoirse Ronan in The Lovely Bones (8)
Best Supporting Actor
Last time, I wrote that Waltz had reached Helen Mirren in The Queen level of precursordom. Well, since then he’s won about a dozen more awards, leaving the Grand Dame in the dust.
It’s hard to call somebody an overwhelming lock since Waltz has hogged every single precursor award, but Harrelson is as sure a thing as any for his work in this beloved film.
Bones may be absolutely dead, but Tucci is very much alive for his role as a serial killer. Anytime you hit the Globe/SAG double things are looking good.
Another SAG and Globe double, this time with a slightly acclaimed movie to his credit. The most amazing thing? This will be Damon’s first nomination since Good Will Hunting!
5 (5) – Christian McKay in Me and Orson Welles
McKay continues to look like the fifth nominee in this category, most recently thanks to a runner-up finish from the National Society of Film Critics. His hold on this spot is very tenuous.
6 (6) – Christopher Plummer in The Last Station
Plummer has the Globe/SAG double to his credit, but these things don’t always work out. The thing to look for is whether or not this film gains any sort of buzz traction in the next week or so.
7 (8) – Alfred Molina in An Education
Molina is just kind of hanging out at this point. He’s in a beloved film and has picked up some precursor nominations, but nothing overwhelming. He could certainly get in; however, given his past-nominee status and the adoration for the movie.
8 (NR) – Paul Schneider in Bright Star
Paul Schneider was nowhere to be found for most of Oscar season, but that tie with Christoph Waltz for the National Society of Film Critics Award has vaulted him into longshot status. Hooray!
In The Loop missed out on all the late-season awards and its snub from the Guilds has left the buzz out to rot. There doesn’t seem to be enough to carry the raved-about Capaldi to a nomination.
Poor Anthony Mackie. He gives the best performance in the best-reviewed and most acclaimed movie of the year and all he can muster is the tenth spot. Still, with no clear fifth nominee, overall buzz for the film could make him a surprise nominee.
Dropping Out: Alec Baldwin in It’s Complicated (10)
Best Supporting Actress
1 (1) – Monique in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
If Waltz is this year’s Helen Mirren, then Monique is this year’s Heath Ledger, as she’s gotten ALMOST every single precursor award. A stonecold lock.
Buzz is slowly fading for this movie, but its two ladies are way too far out in front to worry about any of that. They’ll both get in.
Here’s where it gets dicey. Moore got a Golden Globe nomination, but no SAG nomination. She’s gotten some precursors, but no more than anybody not in the top three. She has some status with the Academy, but so do many others. Still, when in doubt, go with the Weinsteins.
Kruger was nowhere to be found for almost all of the Oscar season, then she got the most important thing of all – a SAG nomination. That’s all she has, but it’s a big one. And she’s got those genius Oscar campaigners, the Weinsteins, in her corner.
Morton is the only one in this “Anybody Could Get Nominated” section (numbers 4 – 8) to miss bot the Globes and the SAG Awards. Still, she’s been nominated twice before and the Academy seems to love her no matter how under-the-radar the performance.
7 (5) – Penelope Cruz in Nine
Cruz went SAG and Globe after being off the radar for the whole Oscar season. It seemed like her campaign was taking off, and then Nine tanked. Still, it’s hard to ignore those two major precursors.
8 (6) – 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 and it doesn’t help that nobody cares about Nine.
It seems like the Weinsteins have shifted Laurent’s campaign to a lead. Will it work? Either way, it probably means she no longer has a shot at supporting.
Gyllenhaal is still looking for her first precursor recognition, so she’s got no shot. She fills this spot due to residual buzz from Bridges performance.
Dropping Out: None
She’s leading in both buzz and total precursors. The DGA nomination makes her a certainty.
2 (2) – Jason Reitman for Up in the Air
Three films, and already two nominations. Wait, I just gave him a nomination for Up In The Air. Yes, it’s that certain.
It’s been awhile since QT was invited to the Big Dance (14 years, in fact). Now he’s got a movie that will finally get him back. The DGA nominee confirms that fact.
Cameron could just as easily be fourth on this list, as Avatar is the king of the buzz world at this point. This film will definitely be seen as a director’s achievement and Cameron will get the chance to go up against his ex-wife for Best Director. I’m very confident in saying that’s never happened before.
5 (4) – Clint Eastwood for Invictus
Eastwood missed out on a DGA nomination, but did get a DGA nod. Plus, the cult of Clint should make up for anything missing from his Oscar season resume. Still, this category seems ripe for a surprise.
6 (6) – Lee Daniels for Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
Daniels is still hanging out just on the outside. The DGA nomination certainly makes him more likely, but that list usually only matches four nominees, and this category seems ripe for a surprise.
7 (NR) – Neill Blomkamp for District Nine
Blomkamp could be that surprise. Buzz has been roiling for District 9 and everything about it is moving up the ranks. With Eastwood slipping and Daniels struggling to find an initial foothold, Blomkamp could sweep his way in for a nomination.
8 (10) – Wes Anderson for Fantastic Mr. Fox
Anderson keeps getting love from the precursors including a recent runner-up award from the National Society of Film Critics. Plus, he’s been getting buzz for accepting his Special Achievement Award from the National Board of Review in character. It’s too bad the Academy is biased against animation.
9 (NR) – Pete Docter for Up
Pete Docter won the Detroit Film Critics Award and that was about it, but Up has been raking in awards all year long. It’s just too bad the Academy is biased against animation.
10 (9) – Joel & Ethan Coen for A Serious Man
Just because they’re the Coens and we need a tenth contender.
Dropping Out: Spike Jonze for Where The Wild Things Are (7), Rob Marshall for Nine (8)
Best Original Screenplay
1 (n/a) – The Hurt Locker by Mark Boal
New Category! Locker hasn’t gotten the MOST love, but it’s gotten all the important love. Plus, the movie is the most surefire lock for the big prize.
Tarantino has actually earned the most awards for his screenplay, but, even though it was ineligible, can’t quite put a screenplay that missed a WGA nomination at number one.
The Coens could be set to enter Woody Allen territory in that every year they write a movie is a year they’re a major contender for a nomination. With a WGA nomination and win from the National Society of Film Critics to their credit, this movie looks like it will earn them yet another Oscar invite.
This has hit all the major awards and has pretty much held its buzz all year despite the summer release date. The WGA nod sealed the deal.
Pixar has actually done okay in this category despite a general bias against animated films. It missed the WGA (because it was ineligible) but it picked up nods from the Broadcast Film Critics and won the Phoenix Film Critics Award. This should be two-in-a-row in this category for Pixar.
The somewhat surprise of a WGA nomination for this movie that’s been savaged for its dialogue was more of an indictment of its Picture chances than its screenplay bid. Still, a movie with this much buzz (however valid the dialogue assaults may be) is a strong contender for a nomination.
7 (n/a) – The Hangover by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore
Another beneficiary of all the ineligible screenplays at the WGA, but if there’s one place the Academy can honor this massive hit, it’s going to be in this category.
8 (n/a) – It’s Complicated by Nancy Meyers
The only precursor this screenplay receive was a Golden Globe nominations. That’s a big one, but not quite big enough to make it a serious contender.
Okay, now we’re down to “Just Filling Out The Top Ten” status. This got a Chicago Film Critics Nomination and that’s it.
The movie’s gotten some buzz, so the screenplay could get a nomination for critics favorite Campion. Of course, pigs could fly.
Best Adapted Screenplay
This is going to win. Simple as that.
2 (n/a) – Precious by Geoffrey Fletcher
Buzz is fading, but Precious is still a lock for its screenplay having hit the BFCA and the WGA up until now..
Another victim of WGA ineligibility, but this one is still a very strong candidate as it has amassed more awards than any screenplay in this category other than awards hog Up In The Air.
District 9 has the Golden Globe screenplay nod to its credit including a rush of recent awards that hit a bit of a wall when it was ruled ineligible for a WGA award. Still, it’s on a solid buzz run and that should carry it to a nomination in this category at least.
5 (n/a) – Crazy Heart by Scott Cooper
This one was buzzless until a week ago when it was nominated for a USC Scripter and then rolled in with a WGA nomination. Buzz for this movie is clearly growing and if anything about the movie (other than its music) is going to join Jeff Bridges as a nominee, it’s its screenplay.
6 (n/a) – The Fantastic Mr. Fox by Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach
Could the animation bias stop this one? It’s starting to look that way as buzz has cooled for its screenplay recently. The WGA not allowing it in their pool, didn’t help it regain buzz at all.
7 (n/a) – In The Loop by Armando Ianucci, et. al.
This was runner up at the Los Angeles Film Critics and one the New York Film Critics Circle award. Unfortunately, that’s about it for the import as it, once again, was not eligible for the WGA. Aren’t you glad I’m making sense of this for you?
8 (n/a) – Star Trek by Not JJ Abrams
The shocker of the WGA awards was really only in because there were so many front-runners ineligible. This spoke much more highly of its Best Picture chances than anything else (kind of like Avatar)
9 (n/a) – Where The Wild Things Are by Dave Eggers and Spike Jonze
This has gotten a few precursor nominations, but nothing special. Nobody seems to remember this movie exists anymore.
10 (n/a) – Julie & Julia by Nora Ephron
The last of the WGA nominees by default. This one is a little too off the radar to build a campaign now – the WGA nomination was its only precursor.
1 (1) – The Hurt Locker
Not only have many been calling this the best movie of the year, but of the decade as well. It’s a lock.
2 (2) – Up in the Air
Air hasn’t missed a bet yet except for the SAG ensemble, something sort of overcome by its three individual nods. Everybody seems to love this movie, so there’s no reason the Academy shouldn’t as well.
3 (3) – Inglorious Basterds
This is going to be the Weinstein’s big chance at a Best Picture win, so it’ll get a massive campaign going forward now that Nine has dropped off. It could just as easily be first.
4 (6) – Avatar
Another move that could be first. In case you haven’t heard, Avatar has made a little bit of money so far, and people seem to kind of like it. With ten slots, it won’t suffer the same fate as The Dark Knight.
5 (4) – Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
The buzz for this movie dropped off a cliff about two weeks ago as it’s kind of settled into a surefire Best Picture nominee with no chance to win. And that’s exactly what it is.
6 (7) – An Education
Here’s where it gets dicey – nobody else is safe from here on in. An Education appears to be the safest thanks to its SAG ensemble and PGA noms. But it missed many of the other big awards and was ineligible for the WGA. It’s getting scary when this is the sixth most likely.
7 (9) – Up
Dare we put an animated film this high? Well, there’s not a whole lot that can get past it at this point. It has plenty of precursors and better reviews than just about any other movie. So why not?
8 (NR) – Star Trek
After coming from out of the Galaxy of the Oscar race to land a pair of important guild nominations (PGA and WGA) suddenly Star Trek seems poised to become what the Academy was hoping for when they expanded to ten nominees: getting in popular movies that were more crowd-pleasers than critical darlings.
9 (8) – Invictus
The buzz train continues to go off the rails as this missed on both WGA and DGA nominations. It did manage to pick up a PGA nomination to go along with its BFCA nom, but that’s about all it’s gotten this year. Strange to think a Clint Eastwood movie about Nelson Mandela would be hanging by a thread, but that’s where we are.
10 ( 10) – A Serious Man
And this movie just keeps hanging out in the bottom slot. Why? Because there aren’t really any other viable candidates. It’s been recognized by a dozen precursors, but hasn’t won anything yet. Still, that should be enough to slide it in.
11 (5) – Nine
This movie has been savaged by critics and was DOA at the box office. It’s hard to count out the Weinstein buzz machine, especially when they have a movie with this type of pedigree on their hands, but it seems like it just may be time to make this film an Oscar afterthought.
12 (NR) – District 9
Buzz is growing for this movie on the heels of a surprise PGA nomination. It missed on the WGA (being ineligible), while that shouldn’t matter, it does slow down the buzz a bit. This could be the nominee that’s a mild surprise and every so-called “expert” freaks out about on Oscar morning.
13 (11) – (500) Days of Summer
This movie has actually notched a ton of precursor nominations, but has never quite gained buzz traction for anything other than its screenplay. That could change with a Globe win for best comedy, but even that might not be enough to let it in.
14 (13) – The Messenger
Several pundits swear this is going to get in due to the Academy’s new voting system. I don’t see it as even the heralded Woody Harrelson seems to not have been talked about at all the last few weeks. Hard to think a movie with zero buzz and only a handful of early December precursors is going to be carried through to Oscar morning.
15 (14) – The Hangover
Here it is, back on the bottom. The WGA nomination helps, but missing on the PGA was a big blot for this crowd-pleaser. Just doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen at this point, as much as ABC would like it to.
Dropping Out: A Single Man (12), Where The Wild Things Are (15)