By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood February 24, 2014 at 4:26PM
With the Academy Awards only a week away, Oscar-related stories, predictions and picks are reaching a fever pitch. And yes, we too, with the Olympics dragging things out, are experiencing Oscar fatigue. Oscar voters are rushing to submit their ballots--due February 25-- in order to end the onslaught of marketing aimed at them. Online voting is much easier this year by all reports. Below, a roundup of 11th hour Oscar buzz.
-The New Yorker's Anthony Lane weighs in on the increasing enthusiasm for and presence of Oscar prognostication. He writes:
"All this is part of the fun. In fact, to decry it, even as we sit transfixed, is often more fun than the event itself, although the minds of true Oscar lovers will already be drifting elsewhere, to the sunlit uplands of 2015. Will it be “Gone Girl” or “Interstellar,” or maybe Clint Eastwood’s “Jersey Boys”? No one has seen these movies, because they are not yet finished, but so what? Opinions must be formed. Bets should be laid. The race is on."
-While the NY Times' A.O. Scott thinks it's unlikely Leonardo DiCaprio will win the Oscar come March 2, he believes the 40-year-old actor, still relatively baby-faced and fluid in his choice of roles, will probably be a prime candidate for a Lifetime Achievement Award somewhere down the line. He writes:
"Though he has been nominated three times before, he does not yet belong to the ranks of the snubbed, the robbed or the overdue. If you want to judge by technical accomplishment or emotional range, he might not even be all that great an actor. But if the Hegelian factions within the various Academy branches were to assert themselves — at long last! — and bestow the award in recognition of the Best (Male) Embodiment of the World Spirit at the Current Stage of the Historical Dialectic, then Mr. DiCaprio would be an absolute lock."
-Meanwhile, Anthony Breznican lays out his Oscar predictions in the most recent issue of EW. Breaking things down into percentages, he thinks "Gravity" has the edge for Best Picture, with Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong'o slotted as the frontrunners in their respective acting categories. They are clearly frontrunners.
What's interesting about his percentage break-downs is how close some of the races are -- as he speculated in his piece "Up in the Air." For instance, he thinks there's only a 1% difference in likelihood between Best Picture nominees "Gravity and "12 Years a Slave"; only 2% likelihood difference between Supporting Actress nominees Lupita Nyong'o and Jennifer Lawrence. The 24-year-old actress is dealing with some too-much-too-soon backlash, having won last year. But we find it hard to believe that DiCaprio is really ahead of Chiwetel Ejiofor by four percentage points for Best Actor. That race is close, and even Bruce Dern is still in the mix. If there's a surprise it could be in this category.