I've fallen a great deal behind on Oscar Park, mostly because after "The Ides of March" came and went without me having the chance to see it, I didn't know much the point in predicting without seeing. But then again, I can guess pretty straightly accurate when it comes to "The Descendants" without even seeing it. The normative academy mindset is playing right into Alexander Payne's hands with this one, and I'm not about to launch an all out knock against the film, but it's a pretty simple joy to be sure. I know where this is going without even seeing it, which makes the predicting game short work.
In the Academy eye, "The Descendants" is a lock most categories out there. Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay fall right in line with expectations, but Director may be somewhat off. I don't think anyone's going to call this a director's show in the slightest, and I'm just waiting to accost it on nominations day when Payne inevitably gets a nod anyway. George Clooney is all the buzz for this film, and he's really seeming like the frontrunner at this moment, but that's what we all said two years ago about "Up in the Air". Things can change ever so quickly in this game, and Clooney might end up falling into his own trap again. Below the line, there's absolutely nothing to be had. I'd count that as solid an indication as any of this film's true merits. It's no more or less than five nods, and that's not up for debate.BEST BETS: Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor (Clooney), Supp. Actress (Woodley)