The Oscar Warrior’s Fall Awards Preview

Now that November is upon is, it’s time to start looking seriously at the upcoming Oscar race and what the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences may be looking at in terms of movies and performances worth nominating with the winners being announced on February 27, 2011.

This is the second year of the extended Best Picture category with ten nominations, something that really changed the game last year, because it meant there was a potential for a lot more variety including smaller indie movies and genre fare. That’s the case this year as well, although the only movies that will really be taken seriously as contenders are the ones that pull the trifecta of getting nominations for acting, direction and writing as well as technical awards. Without a nomination in at least two to three other categories, a movie is likely to be nominated in the Best Picture race, but not have much of a chance of winning.

We probably will save our actual Oscar picks until sometime in December because there are still a number of movies that have yet to be seen and still a lot of room for things to change, but we wanted to give you some idea what movies to be looking at either opening in theaters or on DVD.

The Story So Far

Of the movies released so far this year, there are three that are pretty much on everyone’s Top 10 list already and therefore, fairly guaranteed to end up in the ten nominations for Best Picture as well as in other categories:

Many (including myself) felt that Christopher Nolan was ripped off for not being nominated for The Dark Knight two years ago, and some feel his latest movie, the original sci-fi dream epic Inception (Warner Bros.), has what it takes to make up for that. The ensemble thriller opened over the summer to rave reviews and solid box office, and though there were a few detractors, it was clear that fans of Nolan’s work felt the movie was his masterpiece as well as being one of the most thought-provoking movies of the year.

The problem with opening over the summer is that it’s easy to forget how much you love a movie when it comes to filling out awards ballots, but one can expect Warner Bros. will plaster awards groups with DVDs (or Blu-rays?) in order to remind them. Nolan is guaranteed to get in both as a director and for his original screenplay, and the Academy’s technical branches should be including the movie among their choices for everything from Cinematography and Editing to Sound and FX. The only real question is whether any of Nolan’s cast might be able to get into the crowded acting categories. Leonardo DiCaprio seems like the most obvious choice, but the Best Actor category is already a crazy race, so maybe we’ll see a supporting nod for someone in the cast, but who? Tom Hardy or Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard or Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Getting a directing, writing and supporting actor nod would put Inception in the same place as previous winners like Crash, The Departed and No Country for Old Men. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) should put the cast among its Ensemble category, which is as good as any as a precursor to the Academy’s Best Picture.

The movie’s biggest competition may be David Fincher’s The Social Network (Sony), his movie about the origins of Facebook that’s also received rave reviews and good vibes from audiences, even if it hasn’t grossed nearly as much as Inception. Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay is a shoe-in for a nomination, although who knows whether it will be considered adapted or original – there’s some disagreements about that. It’s in the same boat as Inception as it’s a great ensemble piece and though Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake give stand-out performances, they have trouble breaking into the acting categories against more reliable candidates. Fincher will definitely get nominated for his more subdued work, and some think that the category is his to win, though we think it’s between him and first-time directing nominee Nolan.

Lastly, there’s Pixar’s latest, Toy Story 3 (Disney•Pixar) directed by Lee Unkrich, which not only should be the second Pixar movie to be nominated for Best Picture, but also the first “threequel” since The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which ended up taking home pretty much every prize except acting. (Now if only the Academy can get over their stigma about not nominating animation directors in the Best Director category, an animated movie may actually have a chance of finally winning Best Picture.)

Another blockbuster movie that has gotten a lot of critical attention is the animated How to Train Your Dragon (DreamWorks Animation), which probably isn’t strong enough to get into the Best Picture race but is almost guaranteed to be in the Animated race with Toy Story 3, leaving just one slot remaining.

The Sundance Film Festival tends to be a great place for independent filmmakers to get their films a lot of early awards attention, as well as distribution. That’s where Craig Brewer’s Hustle & Flow got its start, as did Little Miss Sunshine and last year’s hit Precious, as well as a tiny indie called Frozen River.

While Aaron Schneider’s Get Low (Sony Pictures Classics) actually debuted at the Toronto Film Festival in 2009, it got more attention at Sundance for its lead performance by Robert Duvall, an actor who has generally been great in everything he’s done in recent years but hasn’t received a nomination since A Civil Action in 1999. Duvall plays Felix Bush, an anti-social mountain man who decides to return to society by throwing his own funeral party before he actually dies. Having already won an Oscar for Tender Mercies in 1984, it probably won’t seem as immediate to hand him an Oscar, as has been the case with other actors of his generation, but his illustrious career has earned him six nominations and the Academy is fairly consistent when they like one of their own. Get Low is one of Duvall’s first leading roles in quite some time and he has able support from the likes of Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek–the latter has a strong chance at her own sixth nomination–but it all comes down to whether Sony Pictures Classics gives the movie the type of push it needs to get over with Oscar voters.

Similarly, Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features), a drama about an unconventional family, also received rave notices for its entire cast at Sundance, and Annette Bening and Julianne Moore may both be up for Best Actress, taking two slots away from all the other actresses. Bening is in a similar place as Kate Winslet a few years ago, where she’s been nominated a number of times but never won an Oscar, which makes her somewhat of a favorite to win this year, although the thought of votes being split between her and Moore, who also has never won an Oscar, could hurt her chances. Cholodenko’s original screenplay is one that’s likely to be nominated, putting it against a number of other strong favorites in that category and Mark Ruffalo’s performance is a likely nominee if placed in the supporting category where there’s a lot more room than in the lead categories.

Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone (Roadside Attractions) won a Grand Jury prize at Sundance, similar to Precious and Frozen River, and Jennifer Lawrence has been getting a lot of attention for her breakout performance as a teen girl trying to find out what happened to her missing father and getting into all sorts of tough situations. Former “Deadwood” star John Hawkes also received raves for his performance as her uncle. Winter’s Bone seems to be in a similar place as Frozen River which got surprise Oscar nominations for its star Melissa Leo and its screenplay, although one big difference is that Sony Classics distributed Frozen River and it had a strong awards campaign, so Winter’s Bone still has its work cut out for it. One has to remember that Vera Farmiga won an award at Sundance for her performance in Granik’s earlier film Down to the Bone, but wasn’t nominated for an Oscar either.

Another Sundance buzz movie was Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine (The Weinstein Co.), which is really about the performances by Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling as a couple whose marriage is falling apart. The film’s a very dark drama that not everyone is going to love but it’s a strong performance-driven film, and there’s even a possibility of the script getting some attention, although this one may be more about Independent Spirit awards since Williams and Gosling are looking at already-crowded leading actor categories.

John Wells’ The Company Men (Weinstein Co. – Dec. 10) was a bit more low-key out of Sundance, but it’s a strong drama about the economic crash and how it affects one corporation and a number of employees on different levels of management. Ben Affleck gives an incredibly strong performance as does Chris Cooper, but the dour tone of the movie may put people off although in any other year, this would be seen as one of the strongest dramas of the year.

Two films that played at Sundance and have found many fans, as well as being the first screeners sent out to the Academy and awards group, are Rodrigo Garcia’s drama Mother and Child (Sony Pictures Classics) and David Michod’s Animal Kingdom (Sony Pictures Classics). The former has a lot more starpower including Annette Bening (again), Naomi Watts, and Kerry Washington, and though many people loved this movie, its early release and stronger fare from all three actresses might mean it’s forgotten. Michod’s film also has a great cast but they’re mostly unknowns and while there’s a good chance that either Jacki Weaver or Ben Mendehlson might sneak in, being Australian unknowns might be a detriment against them receiving nominations over better known actors.

One performance that received a recent Oscar blogger push is that of Tilda Swinton in Luca Guadagnino’s romantic drama I Am Love, though it’s hard to forget how Kristin Scott Thomas was snubbed for the French film I’ve Loved You So Long, and the same is likely to happen to Swinton. Speaking of Thomas, she’s the best thing going for Sam Taylor-Wood’s Nowhere Boy (Weinstein Co.), which also had been doing the festival circuit for nearly a year, and the supporting actress category certainly has enough room for her to get in even if it’s somewhat of a longshot.

Then we have a movie that may end up being one of the underdogs of the year, the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, from London’s underground artist Banksy. While it’s far from a conventional doc, it is a movie that a lot of people absolutely love, and it ended up doing decent business despite a very low-profile release based on word-of-mouth. It may be questionable as a doc, but people have liked it enough that it could be a surprise Best Picture nominee.

Festival Fodder

Late August brought the festival season into high gear with the triple punch of Venice, Telluride and Toronto followed by the New York Film Festival picking up the pieces with its premiere of David Fincher’s The Social Network. Three movies really wowed critics and audiences alike in this year’s festival season, not only for the acting and performances, but also for their screenplays and direction, which makes them strong Best Picture contenders.

The one that everyone seems to agree upon is Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech (Weinstein Company), the story of King George V, played by Colin Firth, who had to overcome a severe speech impediment in order to comfort the people of England as war was declared on Germany at the start of World War II. Colin Firth is guaranteed a nomination and many think this will be the role that gets him his first Oscar after having to take a back seat to Jeff Bridges last year when he was just as impressive in Tom Ford’s A Single Man. Then there’s Geoffrey Rush as the king’s speech therapist, Lionel Logue, who is also thought to be guaranteed a nomination but in the supporting category, which gives him the advantage over the others because his role is more of a leading one. (Rush already won an Oscar for his early film Shine, so there isn’t the urgency as there is with other actors.) Thirdly, Helena Bonham Carter, who hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar for 13 years but has been more than deserving since then, is likely to get a Supporting Actress nod for her subdued performance as Firth’s wife, the future Queen Mother, because very few actresses have played a British royal and not been nominated for doing so.

The King’s Speech is such a crowdpleaser that many have already declared it the frontrunner for Best Picture, though going by past Oscars, it could fall into the same place as Stephen Frears’ The Queen, worthy of a Best Picture nomination but not taken seriously against stronger and flashier fare. Then again, could The King’s Speech be considered this year’s Shakespeare in Love? Sure, but only if Harvey Weinstein puts the amount of money into its campaign as Miramax did for that controversial Best Picture winner.

127 Hours (Fox Searchlight), Danny Boyle’s follow-up to 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, which pretty much swept the Oscars in every category it was nominated in, is a very different movie even if it has much of the same Oscar-winning crew. It’s actually the type of inspirational fare Oscar voters love, but it’s a tough movie and all of the to-do about people passing out during screenings at the film’s big climax is the type of negative press that can only hurt the movie’s chances, if only because some older and more squeamish voters may skip the movie. Even so, one can expect Fox Searchlight will send out screeners and the movie will get seen. James Franco’s performance is the film’s biggest draw and his nomination is as likely as Colin Firth’s, but it’s also the type of inspirational crowdpleaser that should get in for Best Picture, Boyle for directing, screenplay and lots of technical categories.

Another movie that has been getting raves is the latest from Darren Aronofsky, the psychological thriller Black Swan (Fox Searchlight), which has some of the same issues as 127 Hours in that it is very much a genre film, but it’s so well done with so many great performances, it’s hard to ignore it. Natalie Portman’s performance as a ballet dancer named Nina who starts to think a new girl at the company, played by Mila Kunis, is trying to get her role, is absolutely riveting and with Portman doing an impressive job doing her own ballet dancing and showing quite an amazing range, she’s one of the few guaranteed actresses to be nominated and is considered to very much be the frontrunner right now. Most people who have seen Black Swan have liked it, to the point where I’d expect to see it on quite a few Top 10 lists at year’s end, but the question is whether it can get more than an acting and Best Picture nomination. Aronofsky has yet to get nominated in the directing category, and though he’s worthy, one wonders if he might get pushed out by the Coens once their movie is seen. There’s also a question about some of the supporting cast, particularly Vincent Cassel as Nina’s lecherous director and Barbara Hershey as her overbearing mother, an whether they can get in, as well as is the screenplay might get nominated after Aronofsky’s last movie The Wrestler only received two acting nominations and nothing else.

Ben Affleck’s second film as a director, The Town (Warner Bros.), was one of the first films to get a lot of critical attention at this year’s Toronto Film Festival. The film did decently at the box office and the IMDb user ratings tells us it’s a movie people like giving it a shot at one of those Best Picture nominations. Whether it gets anything else is another story as Affleck would have a hard time getting into acting and directing categories against stronger contenders. Some think that Jeremy Renner could get his second nomination in a row, this time in the supporting category, but Warner Bros. will really have to step up their game in terms of an Oscar campaign for the movie and spending the money on Inception will be the better bet.

British filmmaker Mike Leigh has had a lot of success with the Academy, but his new movie Another Year (Sony Pictures Classics) is tougher than his last few, being very much a slice-of-life character piece in which not a lot happens, so it’s all about his distinctive filmmaking process and performances. Just like with Imelda Staunton, Brenda Blethyn and Sally Hawkins in previous Leigh movies, Another Year is a spotlight for not necessarily new talent but an actress that Americans won’t be very familiar with, that being Lesley Manville, whose role as the flighty and emotional friend of Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen is the film’s highlight. Lead actress may be a tough category to get into, although Leigh’s track record with getting performances out of actresses does put the odds in Manville’s favor.

Allejandro Iñarittu’s latest Biutiful isn’t quite as accessible as his previous Oscar-nominated film, Babel, and it may be too long or difficult for many Oscar voters, but there’s no denying it features another spectacular performance by Javier Bardem that’s hard to ignore. The movie could very well be nominated in the Foreign Language category as Mexico’s selection, but the last time Bardem was in an Oscar-nominated foreign language film, Alejandro Amenabar’s The Sea Inside, his performance wasn’t nominated although the movie won. Bardem already won an Oscar in the supporting category for the Coens’ No Country for Old Men, but a nomination for Iñarritu’s film would show that the Academy isn’t against non-English performances. (Marion Cotillard’s win for La Vie en Rose may have not set a precedent but it was a rarity.)

One surprise out of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) was the home-grown Canadian drama called Barney’s Version (Sony Pictures Classics) based on the popular novel by Mordecai Richler. It features one of Paul Giamatti’s strongest roles and performances since Sideways, for which he was snubbed, and this would be a great chance for the Academy to give some recognition to one of the country’s most solid, underrated actors. Not everyone has liked this movie because it does have a rather erratic tone–comic one moment, heartbreaking the next–and Giamatti’s character isn’t exactly a prince, but there’s no denying that it’s a strong film that hits a lot of Academy buttons. Although Rosamund Pike as Barney’s long-time love is really a lead performance, being moved into the supporting category would give her a much better chance at a nomination as well, similar to Christopher Plummer in last year’s The Last Station. Minnie Driver is also worthy of recognition for her comic performance in the movie but she’s less likely to get the nod. It’s doubtful director Richard J. Lewis may get nominated but an adapted screenplay nod wouldn’t be unheard of, nor would a possible make-up nod for the way its characters are aged over time.

Another buzz film from this year’s TIFF is John Cameron Mitchell’s adaptation of David Lindsay-Abaire’s stageplay Rabbit Hole (Lionsgate), this one based on a play and featuring the return of Nicole Kidman to the type of dramatic fare that helped her win an Oscar for The Hours years ago. It was quickly scooped up by Lionsgate and is getting a suitable campaign to try to get Kidman nominated in the crowded Leading Actress category, and the movie’s also gotten raves for the performance by Aaron Eckhart, who may have trouble getting a nomination going against stronger leading actors. Lindsay-Abaire’s adaptation of his own screenplay may also receive attention from fellow writers much like other play adaptation.

Another festival premiere, Nigel Cole’s Made in Dagenham has found many fans, especially among women, with its story of women fighting to get equal pay. While it’s an inspirational film that women in the industry can relate to, much of the focus will be put on leading actress Sally Hawkins and her performance in the movie. Hawkins was snubbed for an Oscar nomination for Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky, despite winning many precursors including a Golden Globe, and that was a far stronger film. (UPDATE: I also neglected to mention exception supporting performances by both Rosamund Pike and Miranda Richardson, both of whom have a better chance at getting into the Oscar race in a less-crowded category.)

Lastly, there’s Tony Goldwyn’s Conviction (Fox Searchlight), which is Hilary Swank’s latest push into the Oscar race, although we think the film’s best bet would be the supporting performance by Sam Rockwell as her jailed brother. This is a movie that could probably get some voter support if Searchlight sends it out because it is an inspirational film, though it just doesn’t have the buzz of other movies this year.

Late to the Race

That brings us to the movies that have decided to bide their time before being show to the people who make the decisions that lead to Oscar nominations.

The most recent movie to get screened for press and industry to rave reviews is David O. Russell’s The Fighter (Paramount – Dec. 10), telling the story of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward, a story that Mark Wahlberg has been trying to get made for years. So far, the movie is getting huge kudos for Christian Bale’s performance as Micky’s troubled brother in the movie, something that could overshadow Wahlberg’s own chance at a nomination, but he might get pulled into the mix being that this was such a personal project for him. The movie should be strong enough to be considered seriously for one of the Best Picture slots, and possibly one of the Adapted Screenplay slots as well, and possibly one of the actresses getting into the supporting category, either a third nomination for Amy Adams or a second for Melissa Leo. Having not seen the movie, we can’t really say which ones will get in for sure.

Premiering at the low-key Telluride Film Festival, Peter Weir’s new movie The Way Back (Newmarket) has only been seen by a small group of people, but with a one-week Oscar release planned for later this year, the movie is clearly trying to get some awards attention. Based on the true story of a group of Siberian prisoners who escaped from a gulag and proceeded to walk all the way to India, it’s the first film in quite some time from the director who has been nominated for four Oscars for his direction, though the movie may be more about the performances, specifically Ed Harris, who has four supporting nods on his resume already. Newmarket famously got Charlize Theron to Oscar night for Monster, but that was when Bob Berney was still in charge and one wonders if they still have the clout they once had.

Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere (Focus Features) played at the Venice Film Festival where it won the coveted Golden Lion, beating Aronofsky’s Black Swan, but few have seen it in the States as of yet. The personal movie deals with being the daughter of a famous celebrity and it stars Elle Fanning in a role that some has seen as autobiographical. Coppola famously got into the Oscar race with Lost in Translation, one of Focus Features’ early releases, and it did win the Oscar for Coppola’s original screenplay. Somewhere looks to be cut from the same cloth, and while the thought that Stephen Dorff might be considered for an Oscar nomination hurts our head too much to even think about, we’d love to see Elle Fanning join so many other young actresses into Oscar season. (See Keisha Castle-Hughes, Saorsie Ronan, etc.) Of course, she may end up facing the same problem faced by the younger Scarlett Johansson, who wasn’t nominated due to confusion over which category in which she should be. At this writing, we haven’t seen the movie yet so it’s hard to determine how the movie stacks up with others but another writing nod for Coppola could be a given.

Edward Zwick’s new movie Love and Other Drugs (20th Century Fox) is a romantic dramedy based in the pharmaceutical world that features a strong performance from Anne Hathaway but little else that might be of interest to the Academy. Zwick has a pretty good track record getting actors from his movies into Oscar season whether it’s Ken Watanabe for The Last Samurai or Leonardo DiCaprio for Blood Diamond a few years later. The fact that this doesn’t know whether it’s a drama or a romantic comedy will certainly hurt it among critics and voters alike despite Hathaway’s strong performance.

Sight Unseen and the Great Unknowns

Lastly, we come to the small list of movies that no one has seen yet, a list that’s getting smaller and smaller as even some of the movies that hadn’t screened when I started writing this have now been shown.

The one movie that’s still completely sight unseen and probably will remain that way until early December is the latest movie from the Coen Brothers, their fourth film in four years, a readaptation of the Western True Grit (Paramount) starring Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon, which may have been one of the more anticipated movies of the year even if it wasn’t being held until the last minute to be screened. This movie is the great unknown because it’s hard to tell if Bridges might get a follow-up nomination after his win last year or if Damon’s the actor to watch or what. If the movie is as good as people are hoping, the Coens will be back in the Best Picture category following last year’s A Serious Man and they’ll get another directing nomination as well as one for Adapted Screenplay (a category that’s pretty open this year).

A big spoiler in the Best Actress category may be Gwyneth Paltrow’s performance in Country Strong (Screen Gems), another movie that no one’s seen yet, but Paltrow appeared on the recent Country Music Awards to try to get that audience used to her as a singer and the late showing of the movie could have a similar impact as Jeff Bridges in last year’s Crazy Heart if the movie’s any good. (Paltrow will also make a guest appearance on the popular show “Glee” singing a song.)

Although James L. Brooks’ How Do You Know (Sony) looks more like a mainstream romantic comedy than something awards-worthy, Brooks has a great deal of experience with Oscar season as well, and one wonders if it could get a supporting actor nomination for Jack Nicholson or others. (Until we see the movie, we’re considering this movie to be this year’s It’s Complicated but we hope it’s better than that.)

Other Categories

We’ve already mentioned two of the potential Oscar nominees in the feature-length animation category above–Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon–and with fewer animated features this year than last, that will limit the nominees to three, which means there’s one more slot, which will likely go to Disney’s fairy tale reimagining Tangled rather than DreamWorks Animation’s Megamind because it harks back to more traditional Disney animation.

UPDATE: Of course, no sooner do I post the above, completely neglecting and forgetting a number of other possibilities including Universal’s Despicable Me and The Illusionist, then the Academy announces that they have 15 animated submissions and like an idiot, I assumed that meant five nominations and posted as such, but no, it’s still just 3 nominations in the animated feature category and those other two movies should be considered as possibilities.

As far as docs, we expect previous Oscar winner Alex Gibney to get in with Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer as well as previous nominee Charles Ferguson with the related Inside Job, both of them dealing with the country’s economic problems which is very relevant right now. Then again, if Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop is taken seriously as a documentary then it could win against the more conventional doc fare.

Dead in the Water

Back in March, I made a rather ballsy and foolish claim that the remake of The Karate Kid would be nominated for a number of Oscars after seeing it at ShoWest. As much as I love the movie, that’s doubtful at this point, especially with Sony putting more behind Fincher’s The Social Network to win. I’d still like to see Jackie Chan get a Supporting Actor nomination, because I think his performance is fantastic, but Sony isn’t bothering to push the movie, not even including it in with their awards screenings, so it’s a bit of a lost cause.

Four movies released as the fall movie season began were thought to have what it took to get into the Oscars race, but for one reason or another, got completely lost in the shuffle of the number of movies released in September. For instance, both John Curran’s Stone (Overture) and Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go (Fox Searchlight) premiered at Toronto to mixed reviews and generally were released without much fanfare then forgotten despite their strong casts.

For many years, Clint Eastwood was thought to be a shoe-in whenever he released a movie but in recent years, we’ve seen the Academy’s opinion of the Oscar-winning director change as movies like Invictus, Changeling and Gran Torino were snubbed. With worse reviews than any of them, there’s a good chance his mopey supernatural drama Hereafter (Warner Bros.), starring Matt Damon, will join that group and be snubbed pretty much across the board unless the writers for some reason have a soft spot for Peter Morgan’s screenplay.

It was thought maybe Oliver Stone had another chance at entering the Oscar game with his first sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (20th Century Fox), but its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival was met with mixed reviews and it didn’t do that great at the box office with very little buzz after its release. The movie’s best bet is a supporting actor nomination for Michael Douglas and his return to playing Gordon Gekko, the role that got him an Oscar in the original 1998 movie. Some feel that the nomination would be out of sympathy for the recent announcement of the acting veteran having cancer, but Fox has to get moving on a campaign and sending out DVDs if they want this to happen.

At one point, some believed that Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls (Lionsgate), his first movie based on someone else’s play, might be his attempt at getting into the Oscar race ala Lee Daniels’ Precious last year, and he has assembled an amazing cast of African-American actresses to bring Ntozake Shange’s words to the big screen. While the Screen Actors Guild might see this as perfect fodder for their Ensemble Cast award, as we’ve seen before, the Academy is not as prone to go with a movie with an all-black cast even if there are some decent performances in the bunch. The lack of a Best Picture nod for Dreamgirls despite other nominations (and a win for Jamie Foxx) makes one think that For Colored Girls will suffer the same fate. We think the best bet for a supporting actress nod is Loretta Devine, but it’s highly unlikely.

The Disney horseracing movie Secretariat (Walt Disney) was thought to be their answer to the Oscar-nominated hit Seabiscuit or this year’s The Blind Side, but after some early raves, the movie just didn’t live up to expectations and its box office performance was spotty at best.

Julie Taymor’s take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest (Miramax) starring Helen Mirren and others hasn’t been released yet, but its New York Film Festival premiere was met with disdain, despite the movie’s key Oscar placement. Mirren’s other movie with Miramax, The Debt, deserted its own December release after premiering at Toronto.

That’s it for now, but sometime in mid-to-late December, we’ll have our next installment of this year’s Oscar Warrior, when we look at who is ahead in the various awards categories as well as who might be the longshots to spoil their chances. The Oscar ceremony is set to take place on February 27, 2011.


Marvel and DC