It feels good to know it will only be a matter of weeks before I will have seen all the major Oscar contenders as my prediction charts are starting to be less about buzz and the opinion of others and I can finally add my own personal opinion into each. Of course, I still have films such as Invictus, Nine and Avatar yet to see, but by the end of day on December 10 that will no longer be the case for those three.
As for what I have seen, I finally saw Up In the Air just last night as well as The Young Victoria, Me and Orson Welles and A Single Man recently. All four had an effect on me and all four are worth seeing. But let’s dig into the Oscar prospects.
In the Best Picture category there weren’t any major changes as Precious remains my front-runner, but at the bottom of the stack A Single Man moved into the top ten while the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man was edged out. My top ten still contains unseen films such as Invictus and Nine, while Crazy Heart makes its debut at #13.
Best Actor saw movement at the top as I have given in to early buzz for the time being on Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart and moved him to the top of the class. This is more in response to seeing George Clooney in Up In the Air than to anything else. Clooney is just fine in Up In the Air, but it’s still just Clooney playing Clooney and he already won an Oscar for that in 2006 for Syriana. Colin Firth becomes an increasing contender for that top spot in my mind and based on the films I have actually seen, he is my front-runner for A Single Man. This movement ultimately bumps Jeremy Renner out of the top five, but I never really thought he would remain in there until the end.
The Best Actress category didn’t see much movement other than Helen Mirren moving into the fourth slot for The Last Station edging Saorise Ronan out of the top five. Of course, this is just buzz movement at this time as I still haven’t seen either The Last Station or The Lovely Bones so things could change very quickly. Emily Blunt also makes her debut in the category for The Young Victoria at the #8 slot.
I wish Supporting Actor saw even more movement than it did as I have debuted Christian McKay’s performance in Me and Orson Welles at the #6 slot, but I’m afraid Oscar pundits around the web are keeping mum on one of the finest supporting performances of 2009. And one of the best performances overall. For now Stanely Tucci remains my gut instinct front-runner for The Lovely Bones, but Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) and Alfred Molina (An Education) should not be second guessed.
Finally, for Supporting Actress we again see some movement near the top and a newcomer in the top five. Anna Kendrick is that newcomer and she edges out her Up In the Air co-star Vera Farmiga, but it’s an interchangeable battle at this moment as Farmiga is solid throughout that film, but Kendrick has the much meater character. If it wasn’t for a terrible crying scene I would be 100% behind Kendrick’s nomination, but Cotillard or Cruz could swoop in with their Nine performances and leave both Farmiga and Kendrick on the outside looking in.
The biggest move in the Supporting Actress category is Julianne Moore for a fantastic performance in A Single Man as she pulls out an English accent with professional ease playing a 48-year-old desperate divorcÃ©e.
On a side note, if you are interested in discussing this year’s Best Cinematography enter the conversation right over here. And finally, next Tuesday, December 1 will feature the 25th Film Independent Spirit Award Nominations Press Conference at 8:00am PST at the Sofitel hotel in Los Angeles. Stay tuned for that.
For a complete look at my prediction charts I have included the links to each category directly below. On top of that, The Envelope at the Los Angeles Times has finally presented the first batch of aggregate predictions of which I am a part of. Their Buzzmeter appears to be having some issues, but there is a post right here that contains the most recent predictions as well as a list of the 19 other pundits contributing to the prediction charts.
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.