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Oscars: Where Do The Best Picture Contenders Stand After The SAG & Golden Globe Nominations?

by Oliver Lyttelton
December 13, 2012 2:24 PM
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"Life of Pi"
We wrote last week that, despite missing out on a slot with the NBR, people shouldn't be worried about Ang Lee's film dropping out of the Best Picture race, and we've been backed up this week with the film picking up Picture and Director nominations from both the Critics Choice Awards and the Globes (it was nowhere to be found at the SAGs, but it's a film about a boy and a tiger on a boat, so it never really stood a chance there). With box office healthy enough to keep it alive, it's certainly a Best Picture nominee. But that said, with heavyweights like "Lincoln" and "Les Misérables" keeping up steam, it's going to have a tough time in the Best Picture race.

"Django Unchained"
The last of the big movies to be unveiled (too late to make an impact with the SAG), the Globes seem to indicate that the film, like "Inglourious Basterds" before it, will be a player Oscar-wise. The film got five nominations, including Director and two supporting nominations, suggesting that the HFPA were pretty crazy for it. But is that an isolated incident? Is the film this year's equivalent to "The Ides of March" last year, doing well with the HFPA thanks to its big names, but falling short at the Oscars? Maybe. Reviews are quite divided, but we think the Globes will give Harvey Weinstein the impetus to really push the film for the Oscars, and hope to sneak it into the Best Picture line-up. Whether that happens remains to be seen, but 'Inglourious' was a Best Picture nominee that year (and had a total of 8 nominations to its name no less). However, unless it becomes a hot-button phenomenon on release, it's not going anywhere near the win.

"Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"
We always wondered if it would happen, as the grey-haired comedy was always going to appeal to the elderly Academy membership. And it looks like it might well come to pass -- in two days, John Madden's film won a Best Ensemble nomination from the SAG (as well as nods for stars Judi Dench and Maggie Smith), and a Globe nod for Best Picture (with Dench cropping up again). It's not going to pick up nominations anywhere else, but our hunch is that the SAG nomination could pave the way to an Oscar slot for the film (the last time a SAG ensemble nominee didn't get a Best Picture nomination was "Nine" in 2009). Think of it as this year's "Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close."

"Moonrise Kingdom" & "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
These indie favorites have been prominent since the season kicked off without ever becoming omnipresent, having their ups and downs; "Moonrise Kingdom" managed Best Picture nods from the Globes and the Critics Choice awards, while both were in the AFI Top 10, and "Beasts of the Southern Wild" does well with the critics groups, particularly when it comes to newcomer-type awards. But they've also been lacking in some respects, and 'Beasts' hasn't had a great week; ineligible for the SAG, and absent entirely from the Globes. We once thought they might both make the cut, but with "Django' and 'Marigold' coming on strong, we suspect it'll only be one or the other.

Pretty Much Out of the Best Picture Race: "The Master," "The Impossible," "Flight," "The Hobbit," "This Is 40"
It's the time of year where the films on the outside start to fall away, and we're pretty sure that the cut-off point has arrived for most of them. We remained sure for some time that there was enough support for "The Master" to make the Best Picture cut -- it only needed 5% of first choice votes, after all. But with the SAG seemingly disliking the film, electing not to nominate Joaquin Phoenix or Amy Adams, it appears that the Hollywood establishment just haven't taken the film to their hearts. It did better with the Golden Globes, but not significantly so -- it didn't make the Drama nominations, and Paul Thomas Anderson was absent from Screenplay and Director. We could yet be wrong -- a DGA nomination, still feasible, could change our minds -- but we think the film's on the out. "Amour" hasn't had a good week either, missing out from the SAGs and the Globes. We've always been skeptical of the film's ability to win over Academy voters, for whom it probably hits a little too close to home, and the one-two punch suggested that the chances of a Best Picture nominations are very slim. Also mostly absent, bar some acting nominations, were "The Impossible" and "Flight," which could have used a Globe, Critics Choice or AFI nod to give them a final push, but didn't manage any. Stick a fork in them, they're done. The best chance for "This Is 40" to get an Oscar push would have come with a Golden Globe nomination or two, but that didn't happen. As for blockbusters, while "The Lord of the Rings" was always a Golden Globes favorite, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" didn't pick up a single nomination, and combined with significantly weaker reviews than Peter Jackson's earlier trilogy, it's simply not going to make much of an Oscar impact. "The Dark Knight Rises" did at least manage to place in the AFI Top 10, but hasn't fared so well elsewhere, so don't expect it to rally.

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  • BLOB | December 13, 2012 4:18 PMReply

    Reviews are mixed for DJANGO UNCHAINED? Hmmm... With 21 reviews in, it has a 100% rating on rottentomatoes and an 8.2 grade average.

  • BLOB | December 13, 2012 10:06 PM

    Yeah, the C- grade would plummet the score to an all time low average of 8.1. It seems like the more "respectable" publications are giving it a high mix review, while the more geek based online sites are raving about it. Which is to be expected, of course. The Washington Post will have their ZERO DARK THIRTY and Aint It Cool News and its affiliates will have their DJANGO.

  • Hardly Fred | December 13, 2012 6:19 PM

    and if they woulda included the Playlist's C- grade that rating would plummet.

  • AS | December 13, 2012 4:32 PM

    Even though they are all technically positive, most of them are mixed (as is the case with most QT films). Only a small group of critics outright praised the film.

  • Jamie | December 13, 2012 3:12 PMReply

    "We always knew that 'Les Mis' was never really going to be a critical favorite, but we didn't think it'd be to this extent." So are you saying that critics write their prejudices rather than actually reviewing the material? If so, why should we pay any attention to them at all? Isn't that rather the definition of useless?

  • kitcon | December 13, 2012 2:56 PMReply

    Great. Unemotional and comprehensive.

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