Oscar Update: Movement In the Predictions, but the Front-runners Remain

ON

Last year I was pumping out Oscar Updates with ease on a weekly and almost twice-a-week basis, but this year I am slowly groing bored by the news (or lack thereof). A lot of this year’s buzz seems to be manufactured, such as those wondering if Michael Jackson’s This is It will be a Best Picture nominee. Guess what, no, it won’t be. However, there are other bits of buzz that come in, but they hardly stir much emotion as the films are still a couple months out and haven’t been widely seen or have quite simply appeared out of thin air.

Should I take Helen Mirren seriously as a Best Actress contender for The Last Station? How about the buzz on Jeff Bridges for the late-to-the-party Crazy Heart? Many now have Bridges as the lead contender for Best Actor and some even have him winning. Who would have thought? I have yet to see either film so how can I be sure? Fact is, I can’t, and I also haven’t seen Nine, Invictus, The Lovely Bones, Avatar, Broken Embraces, Brothers, Everybody’s Fine, A Single Man, Up In the Air or The White Ribbon… just to name a few.

Of course, that’s the name of the game, and what makes it fun. Almost every time I post my latest predictions there will be at least one commenter flailing their arms saying, “How can you predict these things when you haven’t even seen all the movies?” Well, that’s sort of the purpose of predicting. You don’t predict the winner of a football game after it’s been played.

However, with us being only four months out from the Oscars and just over two months from the Golden Globes I can’t help but wonder why even updating my predictions doesn’t give me as much joy as it did last year. Steve Pond at The Wrap seems to be asking the same question as he writes:

When more than a dozen bloggers and pundits and prognosticators made their predictions in Movie City News’ “Gurus of Gold” last week, eight films showed up on at least 12 of the 14 lists. Only 11 movies were deemed serious competitors for the 10 slots. And a different poll (the Envelope) with slightly different participants resulted in the same top nine, and only one difference in the top 12.

In what ought to be the most unpredictable Oscar race in years, have we really narrowed it down to that few films, that quickly?

Of course, Pond’s primarily talking about a group of six films at the top, which include Up in the Air, Precious, The Hurt Locker, Invictus, An Education and Nine. These are your front-runners at the moment, with Invictus and Nine as the pair that has yet-to-be-seen at this time, which leads many to believe we really have a group of at least four films that are certainly being looked at as the leaders in the clubhouse.

The most likely films with the potential to disrupt that group at the top, along with Invictus and Nine, are The Lovely Bones and Avatar. Based on the pedigree involved we are talking about Clint Eastwood, Rob Marshall (Chicago), Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) and James Cameron (Titanic). Yeah, I’d say we still have some game changers, but let’s hope they change the game and keep things lively along the way.

So here we stand, four months out and the prediction game is getting underway and some are even predicting the winners already. I just sent in my first batch of predictions to Tom O’Neil and gang at the Los Angeles Times’s Envelope and I have updated my own personal batch of predictions accordingly and have linked them below.

I haven’t yet bit on the Jeff Bridges (right) for Best Actor possibility yet, but he has made a significant debut at #6 after Steve Pond, Kris Tapley, Dave Karger and Anne Thompson made him a major part of the conversation. Fox Searchlight has set the film for a December 16 release so I will hopefully know soon enough just what kind of contender it really is.

As for that list of names you see above, some may be familiar to many of you and others may be foreign, but thanks to Scott Feinberg at And the Winner Is… we have the easiest way to keep up-to-date on all the Oscar pundits on Twitter and I have taken the liberty and made following them even easier with a Twitter list you can subscribe to. First, for the names:

  • And The Winner Is… – Scott Feinberg
  • Awards Daily – Sasha Stone
  • New York Times Carpetbagger – Melena Ryzik, Paula Schwartz
  • Cinemascope – Yair Raveh
  • Coming Soon – Ed Douglas
  • Deadline Hollywood – Nikki Finke
  • Fataculture – Nick Plowman
  • Film Experience – Nathaniel Rogers
  • From the Front Row – Matthew Lucas
  • Gold Derby – Tom O’Neil
  • Hitfix – Greg Ellwood, Drew McWeeney
  • Hollywood-Elsewhere – Jeff Wells
  • In Contention – Kris Tapley, Guy Lodge
  • IndieWire – Anne Thompson
  • Little Gold Men – Julian Sancton
  • Media Decoder – David Carr
  • Movie City News – David Poland, Kim Voynar
  • Moving Picture Blog – Joe Leydon
  • Notes on a Season – Pete Hammond
  • Oscar Watch – Dave Karger
  • Pop Matters – Matt Mazur
  • Risky Business – Steven Zeitchik
  • Roger Ebert’s Journal – Roger Ebert
  • Rolling Stone – Peter Travers
  • Rope of Silicon – Brad Brevet
  • Showbiz 411 – Roger Friedman
  • USA Today – Anthony Breznican
  • The Wrap – Sharon Waxman, Steve Pond

If you are a Twitter user, simply click here and subscribe and you will always be one click away from up-to-date Oscar updates whenever they happen. Yeah, the conversation deviates from Oscars quite often, but it’s not like you have to dedicate yourself to the page.

Now, like I said, here are the links to my most recent batch of predictions and only one of the categories (Best Supporting Actor) didn’t contain any changes. I have also included notes on some of the pages when I felt it was necessary to let you in a little on my thought process. I expect the predictions at The Envelope to be up very soon, which will take all the pundits they include into consideration, and I will be sure to let you know at The Contenders once those are up.

You can check out all my latest Oscar Predictions by visiting The Contenders or clicking on any one of the following links to get started. Each opens in a new window so just close the window to return to this post.

Remember to bookmark The Contenders and/or subscribe to the Contenders RSS Feed for continuous awards updates.