Best Picture Predictions

Current Predictions (10-04-11):
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
The Descendants
The Help
The Artist
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Best Picture Notes (10-04-11): The best picture race still feels very shaky, if only because there is no clear-cut contenders yet. Generally by this time we can lock in at least one or two films that will surely be up for the big award. Nothing seems more than tenuous at this point. It’s going to be a fun year, wherein the eventual winner may actually be something special. In years where the race remains up in the air for a while, pictures like No Country For Old Men and The Departed can sometimes sneak through. In years where a small, compelling picture locks it up early, there is generally an “upset” by a bigger, machine-manufactured film (see: Crash + A King’s Speech, recently).

Last week brought a deadening of buzz behind Moneyball as Box Office returns diminished. I had a feeling word of mouth would be strong for the picture but now I’m not so sure. Additionally, an Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close trailer was released that lead me to believe that film has Oscar bait written all over it. Perhaps the biggest news for me was that Hugo might have more legs than I previously expected. After reading the novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, a creatively courageous children’s book that surely inspires, I have second thoughts about dismissing Scorsese’s new film. Still I think Hugo will be considered just a good children’s movie, not mature enough to be up for the “big kid” awards. However, Hugo could easily slip into the Oscar race if Scorsese’s handling attracts adults and children alike. Without a major animated feature out there this year, Hugo might get in as the honorary family film this year. Keep an eye on that one.

My feelings about War Horse and J. Edgar haven’t changed. Both films seem, from the trailers, to be almost begging to be considered sweeping Oscar epics. I feel they may fall flat, and borderline insulting, if they provide little human insights beyond their pretty pictures. The Artist will probably get in as a nominee though I disagree with recent sentiment that it could actually win the whole thing. I’m going on purely secondhand word for The Descendants and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, but each is far too exciting to dismiss at this point.

Lastly, 50/50 has to be considered a contender. Sadly, I think its take on cancer might seem too light to some. I completely disagree with this opinion but I have a feeling 50/50 will slip into obscurity as far as Best Picture is concerned.

Good Bets:
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
The Descendants
The Help

Strong Possibilities:
The Artist
Ides of March
War Horse
J. Edgar
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Midnight in Paris

Bad Bets:
Tree of Life

Keep An Eye On:
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Young Adult

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