Les Miserables was considered an early frontrunner Oscar’s Best Picture before the race really began. That put it at a disadvantage immediately because most frontrunners are bigger targets when the collective believes they are going to win. It’s better, always, to fly under the radar. The film enters the race now with two major obstacles in its path: 1) its director, Tom Hooper, won as recently as 2010. Unless you talking about one of those Oscar oddities it’s not a likely scenario that one of his films can win again, or that he can win again so soon. 2) no Best Director nod for Hooper at the Golden Globes, where they honor musicals more than any other voting body. The big musicals that did make the jump to Oscar’s Best Picture had, at the very least, that Globe nod. Baz Luhrmann for Moulin Rouge, Rob Marshall for Chicago are two recent examples.
Those are hurdles before the film ever gets to the Kodak and before you ever get to the film itself. What Les Miserables has going for it is a powerful fan base. Fans are out in force attacking and dismantling negative reviews, on message boards debating criticisms of the film, making a daily case for Hugh Jackman to win in Best Actor and for the film to become, eventually, too big to ignore. In addition, two of Oscar’s most reliable pundits, Fandango’s Dave Karger and In Contention’s Kris Tapley still have Les Miserables, the longest shot in the race right now, at number one. Both are predicting the impossible to become possible. Both also attended the now famous New York screenings where there were standing ovations and tears.