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Where We Stand

It has all come to this, Oscar watchers. Tomorrow, Oscar ballots are sent out to members of the AMPAS. They will then have roughly two weeks to finally stuff some of those screeners into their blu-ray and set about to voting. Most of them will vote early, as we’ve been told. Some of them will vote for movies that have lots of buzz already but that they haven’t seen, and maybe won’t ever see (because they figure they will be too painful to sit through). Anything with sex or naked women tends to get through, one has to imagine. There are some we know are getting in, without question. But there are others that might appear to be on the fence. Who knows how the Academy will ultimately vote. We’re all assuming that the race will lead with the King’s Speech. So let’s look at the various films and their potential for nominations.

Shall we?

It is possible that The King’s Speech and True Grit will likely lead. This is what is really driving The King’s Speech’s Best Picture prospects at the moment. The film with the most nominations can sometimes mean enough broad support to carry it through to victory. This is not always the case, of course, but common enough to continue to take the film very seriously. Not all nomination categories are created equally in the Best Picture race. You must have at least directing and writing. It helps to have acting and editing. If you have all of them you are very strong coming into the race. It still won’t necessarily mean a win, but if any film comes into the race minus a screenplay nomination, you can mostly forget about Best Picture. Mostly. So, I’ll start with the movies that perhaps have the core nominations necessary – picture, director, screenplay, and an acting category. Then moving down.

Here is how it might go (starting with high to low) – starting with our most likely Best Pic Ten:

The King’s Speech

Best Picture
Director
Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actress
Screenplay
Score
Costume
Art Direction
Cinematography
Editing
If they really really like it:
Sound

True Grit

Best Picture
Best Director
Screenplay
Best Actor
Supporting Actress
Cinematography
Score (ineligible)
Costume
Art Direction
Sound
Sound Editing

If they really really like it:
Editing
Makeup
Supporting Actor

The Social Network

Best Picture
Director
Screenplay
Actor
Supporting Actor
Editing
Score
Cinematography
If they really like it:
Sound
Supporting Actor (Timberlake or Hammer)
Sound Editing

The Fighter

Best Picture
Best Director
Screenplay
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Supporting Actress
Editing
Sound
If they really really like it:
Best Actor
Sound Editing

Inception

Best Picture
Best Director
Screenplay
Visual Effects
Sound
Sound Editing
Art Direction
Cinematography
Score
Editing
If they really really like it:
Actor
Supporting Actress

Black Swan

Best Picture
Best Director
Best Actress
Best Supporting Actress
Costume
Cinematography
Makeup
If they really really like it:
Editing
Screenplay
Art Direction

Winter’s Bone

Picture
Actress
Supporting Actor
Screenplay
If they really really like it:
Director
Supporting Actress

The Kids Are All Right

Picture
Screenplay
Actress
Supporting Actor
If they really like it:

Actress

Toy Story 3

Picture
Screenplay
Sound Editing
Score
Song
If they really like it:
Sound

The Town

Picture
Supporting Actor
If they really really like it
Screenplay
Sound
Editing
Director

And then, other possibilities:

127 Hours

Actor
Screenplay
Cinematography
Score
Editing
Song
If they really like it:
Picture
Director
Sound
Sound Editing

Shutter Island

Cinematography
Costume
Art Direction
Makeup
Sound
If they really really like it:
Picture
Director
Screenplay
Actor

Another Year

Actress
Screenplay
If they really really like it:
Picture
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actress
Director

These are all, I think, the reasonable choices for the Best Picture ten. Other films could pop up unexpectedly, like Blue Valentine, How to Train Your Dragon, The Ghost Writer, etc. But the big money is very likely on these titles as we close out Oscar season 2010, with ballots going out tomorrow, and a new year upon us. So, smarty pants readers, where am I off? What am I missing? What deserves to be taken more seriously in a variety of categories?

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