The Oscar race is still in flux, even though the major critics groups have weighed in. For example, Tuesday brings the Golden Globes nominations, which are again the product of a particular group--in this case some 80 international Hollywood foreign correspondents-- but still has impact on awards momentum. And the most predictive nominations, from the various guilds, are still to come.
What have we learned over the past week? Well, we now know some movies that are really NOT in contention. We can assume that The Way Back, The Ghost Writer, Shutter Island, Barney's Version, Made in Dagenham, Secretariat and Fair Game are not in the running for major awards.
Certain films may land acting noms, but that will be it: Animal Kingdom, Blue Valentine, Rabbit Hole, Get Low and Conviction among them. Mike Leigh's Another Year may have a long shot for a nomination for Lesley Manville and best original screenplay.
It looks like Biutiful is a strong contender for best foreign film, but that's about it. Actors need to see the long, downbeat film in order to recognize Javier Bardem's performance. Similarly, Italian film I Am Love (which is not the Italian Oscar submission) is not garnering enough support for Tilda Swinton to become a must-see on Academy voter screener piles.
Inception is likely to score more technical nominations than it is to land any acting noms, even though Marion Cotillard is utterly deserving of a supporting actress nomination. And Leonardo DiCaprio seems to be shaping up as one of those movie stars who makes his acting look too easy. That, and his two roles in Inception and Shutter Island, playing characters haunted by lost wives, look too similar and cancel each other out.
In the animation race, the top three are shaping up to be Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon and The Illusionist.
And the documentary front runners are: Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Inside Job, Restrepo and Waiting for Superman.