We're now entering the most serious part of the year when it comes to films that could make it to Oscar glory, and there have already been hits (Black Swan) and misses (Miral). A week ago, it felt pretty well set that Toy Story 3, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, and Winter's Bone were locks for Best Picture. Now, all of the little possibilities of the fall are becoming much more real, and we may have to cope with the fact that some films that we love will be falling out. Some films that we're really looking forward to, may not make the cut (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1).
So lets dial it back a bit, and take a look at each of the films in the running as of now. Winter's Bone was an early hit of the year, and while it may be an intense and tonally brilliant film, I have my doubts that it will make it all the way to the end of the year. Not to worry though, as Jennifer Lawrence will get a Best Actress nomination. Realistically, John Hawkes' supporting performance doesn't have as much buzz going for it, and is likely to just fall out. Be ready in case the film only goes home with one nomination.
Right now, there are really only two locks for Best Picture. The first, and biggest one in my opinion, is The Kids Are All Right. That one made a big impression on a lot of people. It achieved its place as my favorite film of the summer. There's not a doubt in my mind that this will be among the nominees for Best Picture this year. The other sure thing is Toy Story 3. It's the highest grossing and best reviewed film of the year, and it completed the impossible task of besting the first two films. This film is locked. No doubt in my mind.
My doubt, unfortunate as it is to say, lies mostly in Christopher Nolan's Inception. I agree with most people that this is one of the best films to come out this year, and Nolan is the reason that the Academy expanded the category in the first place. However, for a while now, it's felt like this film has been dangling by a thread. Leonardo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard are pretty much out of competition for the acting categories. Inception has the tech nominations locked, but even if it makes it to Best Picture, I doubt Nolan will be acknowledged for his job as director.
Black Swan just came out, and is currently being debated about, as festival releases often are. It looks like this film has a lot going for it, but we'll have to wait for the haze to clear before we learn exactly where this film will land. Miral is out, even if it wasn't in to begin with. We'll be sure to let you know about the state of the race as it progresses. As of now, you know where I stand on the race, and where I hope it will go. The sidebar predictions will be shifting a lot over the course of the next month or two. Be ready.