Tuesday, November 15, 2011

2012 Oscar Predictions

We're in the home stretch of the year, which means that most Hollywood heavy-hitting Oscar contenders are either out, or just about to come out (with a few notables that have already come and gone - to DVD). So, out of curiosity, and because I'm really not overwhelmingly excited about anything slated to debut in the next month and a half (nor was I too jazzed about anything in the ten and a half months before now), I decided to do some research, test the waters, and take the temperature of the current Oscar race. I did some googling and came up with a list - from various sources - of which movies are likely contenders, which might be upsets, and what movies are worth watching before the Oscars.

You're probably aware that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences earlier this year yet again changed the nomination voting system for Best Picture. Now, rather than a hard and fast 5 or 10 nominees, depending on the number of first place votes a film gets in the nomination round (it must receive at least 5% of the first place votes), it will be listed as a Best Picture Contender. Among the sites I read, the common consensus seems to be that we should expect seven (7) Best Picture nominees. So, I went with that.

I read - and actually put together a little spread sheet of contenders - the top picks list from Indie Wire, Reelz,  the Awards Prophets, Entertainment Weekly, and the LA Times' blog The Insider. (It is worth noting that these lists will likely all change as more reviews come out and the climate evolves for each film. Not all articles were written around the same time, either; for example, the EW one is from August. But let's play along anyway.) With the exception of Entertainment Weekly's contributor's picks, the lists were ranked in order of most likely to take the top prize. Because so many focused on seve real competitors, I looked at the top seven from each of those to determine if there were any unanimously agreed upon choices. There were three:

The Descendants
War Horse
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

I will make it a point to see each of those. Among other notable contenders, Moneyball, Midnight in ParisThe Artist, and The Help were in the top seven for all but one of the four lists. So those goes up there. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo made two top seven lists.

When calling in the top ten, Tree of Life, appears three times, while J. Edgar and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy garner two votes each (J. Edgar was lower on many lists, just FYI). Other notables include: Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Ides of March, A Dangerous Method, Young Adult, Hugo, and occasional shout-outs for The Iron Lady, Carnage, and We Bought a Zoo. Tin Tin is looking like the potential front runner for animated, assuming it qualifies for that category.

So what are the take-aways from this little project? First, I have to eat my words with the League, because I as convinced that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 would earn a Lord of the Rings style nomination, yet it wasn't on any of the lists I looked at. Therefore, if you're trying to assemble your list of what to see before the 84th Academy Awards, as I am, then these are likely the fifteen you will want to focus on:

The Descendants
War Horse
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Midnight in Paris
The Artist
The Help
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Tree of Life
J. Edgar
A Dangerous Method
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Young Adult
The Ides of March