In this week's Oscar Talk podcast, In Contention's Kris Tapley and I debate Roman Polanski's NYFF-opener Carnage, which fails to improve on the play and is not going to be an Oscar contender, we agree, although I think it's an upscale crowd-pleaser. (My updated Oscar Chart is here.)
We agree that George Clooney's The Ides of March, which is more fun and sexy than Frost/Nixon, is Oscar bait. We parse the Best Actor list frontrunners Clooney (The Descendants), Brad Pitt (Moneyball), Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Michael Fassbender (Shame) and Ryan Gosling (The Ides of March).
Viola Davis (The Help) leads the Best Actress category, ahead of Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs) and the as yet unseen Meryl Streep, Michelle Williams and Charlize Theron, with several great performances in several small films vying for a slot. Is Elizabeth Olsen or Tilda Swinton or Kirsten Dunst a contender?
And will Sony Pictures Classics, with its bulging awards season roster, be able to focus on the films they need to support, such as Take Shelter? "Michael Shannon needs a big push," says Tapley. Will Cynthia Swartz make the needed difference with cheapskate B-movie distributor Millennium's Rampart, which features a career-topping performance from Woody Harrelson?
We debate the impact of the British voting bloc. Will Brit Academy and BAFTA voters boost War Horse, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Jane Eyre?
Here's the podcast. And yes, I have acquired a new mic. All will be clear and pristine next week.