The beginning of this week was a super-Tuesday of sorts in the Oscar Primary Race that is precursor season with nearly a dozen critics groups weighing in, including that overrated Oscar Predictor known as The Golden Globes.

Now, I know it’s chic to overreact to The Golden Globes, saying how snubs are dooming Oscar chances and surprise nominees are now way out in front of the race, but that is not, nor has it ever been the case. The Globes are a weird award put on by a few dozen people who don’t overlap with any Oscar voters at all and often have more to do with name recognition than quality.

So. Golden Globes. You’re going to ignore them. Right? Good.

Now let’s get on to a real predictor of the Oscar Race – The Oscar Power Rankings! As always, these are listed in order of likelihood of being nominated with no thought given to who might win. And certainly with no commentary on the quality of the film/performance…

Best Actor

  1. (1) Colin Firth in The King’s Speech – As expected, Firth has been the leader in terms of precursors so far. But, it hasn’t been a blowout as was also expected.
  2. (2) James Franco in 127 HoursIt’s a three-horse race for the top spot on the nominee list, and Franco is just barely trailing Firth. He’s a sure thing at this point.
  3. (7) Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network – It seemed like the buzz would go to the supporting actors in this movie, but instead it’s almost all gone Eisenberg’s way, starting with a win at The National Board of Review. He’s gone from pretender to major contender.
  4. (4) Jeff Bridges in True Grit – Here comes the first of the “Don’t let the Golden Globe snub fool you, True Grit is as buzzworthy as ever” contenders. Bridges has gotten the necessary amount of precursor love so far.
  5. (5) Robert Duvall in Get Low – With precursors pretty much divided amongst the top 3, Duvall is really going to have to hope the sentimentality card gets him a nomination. Right now, it’s looking good.
  6. (8) Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine – I’m putting sentimentality over The Weinsteins. For now.
  7. (3) Javier Bardem in Biutiful – Welp, that’s about over. Once again, a Cannes win doesn’t carry over to Oscar season.
  8. (6) Mark Wahlberg in The Fighter – Don’t let the Golden Globe nomination fool you: That was Wahlberg’s first precursor mention of any kind. He’s going to need a whole lot more than that.
  9. (10) Aaron Eckhart in Rabbit Hole – It looks like all the buzz is going to go Nicole Kidman’s way for this film, but Eckhart still has a longshot chance.
  10. (9) Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception – Looks like no acting nominations for this movie, but if it somehow happens, DiCaprio will be the one to sneak in.


Best Actress

  1. (1) Natalie Portman in Black Swan – She hasn’t quite hit the Helen Mirren in The Queen-type heights I was expecting, but she’s still way out in front.
  2. (2) Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right – Precursors haven’t been overwhelming in their desire to award Bening, but her clout still make her a very likely nominee.
  3. (3) Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone – She’s actually been keeping up with Portman in terms of her precursor hall. Getting nominated for a Golden Globe despite the film’s being exactly the type The Globes usually ignore is a huge boon.
  4. (9) Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine – Harvey Weinstein seems dead set on getting his two leads nominated. She’s got a great shot.
  5. (6) Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole – Kidman is on the comeback trail, and though nobody seems to have actually seen this movie, she’s still getting her fair share of precursor awards.
  6. (4) Julianne Moore in The Kids Are All RightKids hasn’t quite been the precursor magnet everyone expected it to be and Moore has been largely ignored. It’s looking like there’s only going to be room for one of its female leads at the Oscar table.
  7. (7) Noomi Rapace in The Girl Who Played with Fire – Rapace is hanging in there despite the film’s being released something like 77 years ago. In seriousness, the release date did make her ineligible for a Golden Globe, so don’t let her miss there fool you.
  8. (NR) Carey Mulligan in Never Let Me Go – This movie seemed like it disappeared in five seconds back in September, but Mulligan has managed to stay in critics’ minds, picking up some precursor nominations so far this season. It’s not impossible.
  9. (NR) Anne Hathaway in Love and Other Drugs – She’s hosting. She’s gotten some precursor support including a Golden Globe nomination (though that would be a non-factor if it weren’t for the other precursors she picked up). She’s got a shot.
  10. (NR) Kim Hye-Ja in Mother – Because winning the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award is more impressive than Halle Berry’s Sharon Stone-like Golden Globe nomination.

Dropping Out: Gwyneth Paltrow in Country Strong (5), Lesley Manville in Another Year (8), Sally Hawkins in Made in Dagenham (10)

Best Supporting Actor

  1. (2) Christian Bale in The Fighter – With overwhelming precursor support, Bale is looking like a lock for his first career nod.
  2. (1) Geoffrey Rush in The King’s SpeechKing’s Speech love hasn’t been as overpowering as first thought, and Rush has missed out on a lot of awards to Bale. He still has enough to just about be considered a lock, however.
  3. (3) Andrew Garfield in The Social Network – Most of the buzz from this film has gone Eisenberg’s way, but Garfield is getting enough to be firmly in the running.
  4. (NR) Jeremy Renner – The TownThe Town is showing surprisingly good traction despite its early release date, and Renner has now gone into the “good actor” category which means voter consider him no matter what. And he’s been reaping the precursors so far this year.
  5. (4) Mark Ruffalo in The Kids Are All Right – Again, Kids is not quite taking hold, and he’s very vulnerable at this point. The double up of Golden Globe and Broadcast Film Critics nominations helps him enormously, but he’s vulnerable in this fifth slot.
  6. (10) John Hawkes in Winter’s Bone – Hawkes has been steadily raking in the precursors and while attention on this film grows, so do his chances of grabbing a nomination.
  7. (NR) Sam Rockwell in Conviction – This was supposed to be Hilary Swank’s next bit of Oscar bait, but all the precursors are focused on Rockwell. He’s turned into the darkhorse of this category.
  8. (5) Matt Damon in True Grit – This is more of a speculative ranking as there’s not much buzz yet for this performance, but it’s a great actor with a plum role in a Coen Brothers movie, so it doesn’t seem like much of a reach.
  9. (8) Armie Hammer in The Social Network – It seemed like he was done until he won the Toronto Film Critics award. Now he’s just almost done.
  10. (NR) Michael Douglas in Wall Street: Money Never SleepsThe Golden Globe nomination helps a tiny bit, but it’s not going to be nearly enough for Douglas to overcome the film’s overall lousiness.

Dropping Out: Jim Broadbent in Another Year (6), Justin Timberlake in The Social Network (7), Vincent Cassell in Black Swan (10)

Best Supporting Actress

  1. (2) Melissa Leo in The Fighter – In this wide open race, she’s the one with the most precursors. Buzz for The Fighter is picking up and she seems ready to sail to another nomination.
  2. (1) Helena Bonham-Carter in The King’s Speech – With King’s Speech stuck in second gear, Carter just hasn’t gotten the precursor support she seemed poised to receive. She’s gotten enough, however, to be considered a frontrunner for a nomination for this beloved film.
  3. (9) Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom – It looks like the tiny Australian film wasn’t that tiny. Since winning The National Board of Review, Weaver has been a mainstay on precursor ballots, racking up notices at a pace just behind Leo’s.
  4. (4) Hailiee Steinfeld in True Grit – We’ll get to the overall Golden Globe True Grit snub in a bit, needless to say, it isn’t going to hurt this young buzz magnet at all.
  5. (5) Amy Adams in The Fighter – It seems like Adams is sitting in the fifth slot for a nomination for some award every single year. Here she is again for her praised and oft-nominated performance in The Fighter.
  6. (3) Mila Kunis in Black Swan – She’s only gotten attention from two precursors, but they’re big ones. It’s a six-horse race for the five spots at this point, and she’s just missing the money by a nose.
  7. (NR) Kristin Scott Thomas in Nowhere Boy – This is a real six-horse race: Nobody else is breaking that sextet at the top without a SAG nomination. Right now, KST is the best to do it though.
  8. (6) Barbara Hershey in Black SwanBlack Swan is really going to have to take off for voters to honor her and Kunis.
  9. (NR) Juliette Lewis in Conviction – She won the award from the Boston Society of Film Critics. Of course, that’s probably the only thing reminding people she was even in this movie.
  10. (7) Dianne Weist in Rabbit Hole – You can never fully count out a two-time Oscar winner in a prestige picture.

Dropping Out: Miranda Richardson in Made in Dagenham (8), Rebecca Hall in The Town (10)

Best Director

  1. (3) David Fincher for The Social Network – It looked like all the buzz was going to go Sorkin’s way. Instead, every aspect of this movie has picked up the precursor love. He’s a lock.
  2. (5) Christopher Nolan for Inception – It appears as if it’s finally Nolan’s time. He’s gotten the second most precursors and buzz for Inception‘s Best Picture chances are even better than they were for The Dark Knight.
  3. (1) Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech – This was supposed to be Hooper’s precursor season, but it’s mostly belonged to Nolan and Fincher. He’s a good bet for a nomination, but not quite the powerhouse he once was.
  4. (6) Darren Aronofsky for Black SwanBlack Swan is all the rage in Hollywood right now with most of the credit going to Portman and Aronofsky. If he gets a DGA, he’s a lock.
  5. (2) Danny Boyle for 127 Hours – Boyle seems like a good bet, but 127 Hours just has the feeling of a movie that may drift away in the next few months. He’ll need to keep his precursor head of steam up to hold on to this spot.
  6. (4) Joel and Ethan Coen for True Grit – Even without a Golden Globe nomination, the Coens are still a strong contender. We’ll see if the buzz keeps growing as more and more people actually see the movie.
  7. (10) Debra Granik for Winter’s Bone – She’s picked up a decent amount of precursors so far, but not enough to make her a serious threat. Still, if she sneaks in with a surprise DGA nom, she could spoil the party for the boys.
  8. (NR) David O. Russell for The Fighter – Much like Mark Wahlberg, that Golden Globe nom was his first mention of any kind.
  9. (9) Ben Affleck for The Town – He hasn’t really received any attention, but the film has shown commendable staying power. And the Academy loves an actor/director.
  10. (NR) Lisa Cholodenko for The Kids Are All Right - It’s just so hard for a small comedy’s director to get nominated, even if she has picked up some precursor nominations.

Dropping Out: Mike Leigh for Another Year (7), Peter Weir for The Way Back (8)

Best Picture

  1. (1) The Social Network – Here’s how many precursors The Social Network has missed on: Zero. Yes, it’s won or been nominated by every single precursor organization thus far. It’s a stone cold lock.
  2. (2) The King’s Speech – Well, that was surprising. There’s a handful of movies that are outpacing The King’s Speech right now in precursor totals. Still, it’s too much of a crowd pleaser to be dropped below second spot.
  3. (8) Inception – Over a dozen precursor mentions means this is not this year’s District 9 and could be this year’s Avatar.
  4. (3) Toy Story 3 – Let’s reiterate. This movie is going to get nominated. Without a doubt. However, there is absolutely zero chance of its winning the Oscar. When voters can award it with a Best Animated Feature Oscar they’re not going to continue down the ballot and give it Best Picture too.
  5. (6) Black Swan – This film has moved beyond raves for its star alone and into a bona fide Best Pic contender. Screenings in LA were sold out the past two weekends – a great sign for its buzz potential.
  6. (4) True Grit – OK. Here we go. I’ve been teasing you, and now here’s the reason why this movie did not get nominated for The Golden Globe: most members of the HFPA probably hadn’t seen it. Yes, it seems insane for voters to have awards without seeing all the movies, but Grit’s press screenings happened only a few days before the ballots were due, so it’s extremely likely some may have filled out their ballots before the screening, or were waiting for a later press day to see True Grit. Either way, we should not take its Golden Globe snub as a sign of its being vulnerable for a Best Picture nomination. It’s not like we’re now counting Burlesque as an Oscar favorite, now are we?
  7. (5) 127 Hours – The typical, “We know it’s going to get nominated, but nobody will even care” slot.
  8. (9) Winter’s Bone – It’s becoming increasingly less small with every precursor it picks up. The indie darling of the year.
  9. (10) The Fighter – Raves galore for this one with many in the industry praising it as a just an excellent straightforward film. The performances are locked in and may be enough to carry the picture to a similar fate.
  10. (7) The Kids Are All Right – Remeber, there are ten slots…
  11. (14) The Town – This has held surprisingly well, but it’s still gonna need some help. Again, if that had had its release date switched with The Next Three Days, it would have been much higher on this list.
  12. (13) Rabbit Hole – This looks like the buzz is all for Kidman and nothing else, but residual buzz is a real thing. At least it will get people to see it.
  13. (NR) Blue Valentine – Never, ever count out the Weinsteins.
  14. (NR) Shutter IslandOr Scorsese
  15. (NR) Never Let Me Go – The last movie left with more than one precursor mention. Good enough for the fifteenth slot.

Dropping Out: Another Year (11), The Way Back (12), Biutiful (15)