Oscar Update: ‘Green Zone’ Out. Streep In Again? And NBR Announces Awards Date

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For those of you that still haven’t been conditioned to periodically keep an eye on “The Contenders” section of the site as I keep tabs on any and all information pertaining to the Oscar race I am here to update you on some of the goings ons since my last update.

First off, it was recently announced the National Board of Review will announce its list of winners on Thursday, December 3rd, 2009, marking the beginning of the awards season along with the Gotham Independent Film Awards which will be held two days earlier on Tuesday, December 1st. One is definitely looked at with more attention than the other, but both should give us some quality early indicators, even though the NBR is traditionally a bit… well… odd with their choices.

Photo: Fox Searchlight

A little side note tells us Wes Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox will have its debut at the 53rd London Film Festival which runs Oct. 14-29. The film opens in Britain on Oct. 23 and in the U.S. on Nov. 13. Will it be a contender for Best Animated Film?

I am also keeping an eye on Richard Curtis’s new film, which In Contention is reporting is now titled Pirate Radio as opposed to The Boat That Rocked. The film didn’t fare well in the UK due to the most common complaint being its length, but Universal shifted it to Focus and the film is now being recut for a November 2009 release.

Next comes the news of the release date shuffle over at Universal Pictures as a few films of note have moved out of contention, but another may have just moved in. I know Nat over at The Film Experience has been championing Benicio Del Toro as a possible Oscar contender with The Wolfman, but he can forget that dream as Universal has sent the hairy beast to February 12, 2010.

Then comes the Paul Greengrass/Matt Damon feature, Green Zone, a title I had in my Best Picture contenders list as well as had Greengrass in my list of contenders for Director and it was a toss-up between Damon for The Informant or Green Zone for Best Actor. However, that concern is out the window now as Uni has moved Green Zone to March 12, 2010.

However, all of this shuffling has left us with a new title to consider, and it’s a title that includes the acting prowess of one Meryl Streep as the previously untitled Nancy Meyers comedy now has a title and a December 25 release date. It’s Complicated starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, Zoe Kazan, Lake Bell, John Krasinski and Rita Wilson is now in awards contention and adds another chance for Streep to get that 16th Oscar nomination along with Julie & Julia, which I get to see tomorrow night. After all, remember Nancy Meyers’ Something’s Gotta Give earned Diane Keaton an Oscar nom in 2004. Lightning could strike again.

Finally, speaking of all the release date changes I had to go and bump Green Zone out of “The Contenders” and therefore also shuffled a few things around including new rankings for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director. The moves in Best Director are subtle as I just removed Greengrass and moved a couple people up and in Best Actor I moved Sam Rockwell’s performance in Moon into the top ten sending Johnny Depp’s work in Public Enemies to the bench. I also just saw Funny People last night and it isn’t “DOA” as David Edelstein proclaimed at New York Magazine, but I also won’t be rushing to put it in the list of the current ten contenders for Best Picture, but it just may be in the discussion at the end of the year.

As for Best Picture, I also removed Green Zone leaving the 15th slot open for now while shuffling the likes of Avatar, The Hurt Locker, An Education and a few others. You can click on any of the categories to begin checking out the full list of rankings and remember to bookmark The Contenders or subscribe to the RSS Feed for continuous updates.