There Will Only Be Eight Best Picture Nominees This Year, Says Steve Pond

In an extraordinary move to investigate how the year might play out, The Wrap’s Steve Pond approached the Broadcast Film Critics to use their ballots to figure out how this year’s Oscar race might go.  Now, keep in mind that there were only 250 voting members of the BFCA, where there are upwards of 6,000 Oscar voters, give or take several hundred.  But, here’s the thing.  Each branch is divided up to find the nominees for every category except Best Picture.  It it therefore theoretically logical that this experiment could apply to each of the branches within the Academy and that there might not be that much of a difference in terms of how many films get through the first round.

A large majority of the Broadcast Film Critics’ more than 250 critics cast ballots, which asked them to rank their favorite movies, one through five. On those ballots, 33 different films received first-place votes.

Under the Oscar system, the race is immediately narrowed to those 33 films; every other movie is out of the running, no matter how many second- or third-place votes it received.

Once the initial count was made, the number of votes required to guarantee a nomination was determined. This is done by dividing the number of votes by 11, and then adding one (or if the result is not a whole number, adding whatever fraction is needed to make it one).

Example: If 250 members had voted, 23 votes would have guaranteed a nomination, because it would be impossible for more than 10 films to receive that many votes.

According to CMM, only one film received enough votes to secure a nomination in this way.

(I don’t know which film this is, and neither do the BFCA officials who passed me the information. But it’s easy to take an educated guess and figure that it’s probably “The Artist,” since that film has won the lion’s share of the critics’ awards handed out so far this season.)

The next step in the Oscar process is to determine if any film got 20 percent more votes than it needed to secure that nomination. If so, it triggers the “surplus rule,” and its votes are redistributed, and the film ranked second on each ballot gets a percentage of that vote.

(Another example: If a film gets twice as many votes as it needs, each of its ballots counts 50 percent for the first-place film and 50 percent for the voter’s second choice.)

The one film that qualified in the first round [cough cough The Artist cough cough], according to CMM, did indeed trigger the surplus rule.

And here’s the bummer part:

After its votes were redistributed, Britton then went back to the rest of the ballots. At this point, she looked for any movie that received less than 1 percent of the vote. That’d be two votes if more than 200 voters cast ballots, one vote if fewer than 200 did so.

According to Britton, 10 of the 33 films fell below the 1 percent threshold. Those 10 then had their ballots redistributed, with the vote going to the film ranked second on the ballot, assuming that film was among the 22 movies still in the running. (If it wasn’t, she would move down the ballot until she found a movie that was.)

When those ballots were redistributed, CMM then looked at what was left. At this point, under the Oscar system, any movie with more than 5 percent of the vote would became a nominee; any movie with less than that would not.

So, asks Steve, will the Oscars play out this way and result in only eight?  In a very strong year, there would likely be, at the most, nine.  I looked back at the race for a decade to see how many nominees I thought they’d go for and the numbers varied, depending on how many times that film showed up in the various guild awards and how many branches nominated it for a prize.  The Academy themselves have said that if they’d used this system over the past ten years they’d have come up with a different number for every year but the most that could be gotten in any year was nine.

As for this year, the Oscar story has only been partly told. We’ve made it through the critics phase, and the box office phase.  Two films still have yet to be finally told and that’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I’d throw War Horse in there because it hasn’t yet opened, and I’d throw The Artist in there because its box office story hasn’t yet been told either. I doubt we’re looking at blazing  box office numbers as with The King’s Speech, but can awards buzz alone drive it high?

We’ve only heard from one guild so far and that’s SAG. They confirmed some of what we already knew, with no major surprises.  The only thing to watch there is whether the films that didn’t get any acting nods, like Hugo and War Horse, can still go all the way to a win.  The DGA and the PGA, respectively, are the most important among the guilds.  When Tom Hooper won the DGA last year it was like Slumdog Millionaire winning the SAG ensemble.  That was the moment the Oscar race was over.  You can’t expect Academy members to ever respond to that kind of thing because, essentially, they’re all voting at roughly the same time.  It used to be there was time to ruminate before heading into the Oscars in March.  Now, ballots come, everything has to be seen quickly and decided upon right then and there.  And thus, you tend to see the same people winning over and over again.

But no one is ever going to look back at 2010 and believe that The King’s Speech was the year’s best film. Not with The Social Network, Black Swan, The Fighter and True Grit in the race.  It’s just the way the whole orgy plays out — not Ms. Right, but Ms. Right Now.

If nothing happens to change the race — I’m hoping a Dragon Tattoo happens to change the race — but that’s  just be wishful thinking.  Here is how most people will say it will play out – keep in mind that when you’re dealing with that kind of voting — those numbers needed you are never going to see a lot of variety.

Starting with the sure things:

The Artist
The Descendants
The Help
War Horse
Midnight in Paris
Tree of Life or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

There might be some but not enough:

Harry Potter
The Ides of March

The DGA will be  most helpful this year in determining Best Picture — and I assume that will go:

Michel Hazanavicius
Martin Scorsese
Alexander Payne
Steven Spielberg
Woody Allen or Terrence Malick
Wishful thinking: David Fincher or Bennett Miller





108 Comments on this Post

  1. Sasha, I think you’re still hanging on to Moneyball’s and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s chances too much. For me, they’ve lost a lot of heat recently. You even admit it yourself – it’s wishful thinking to expect them to be DGA-nominated. I even think Tate Taylor has more chance at being nominated there, although that’s just a hunch. But to place both Moneyball and Dragon Tattoo above Drive (which doesn’t even get a mention in your post) is curious – what’s your reasoning?

  2. I know they obviously couldn’t tell us the 8 films and whatnot, but it would have been interesting to see if any of the films on their shortlist was eliminated by the “new” #1 votes rule or if all of the films they nominated made the list of 33 films. If so, that’d be very telling.

  3. nice article, i personally hope for this award season miracle that would be Harry Potter gettin’ a nod…. Mostly i now think it’s impossible(i think bridesmaids has a better shot) anyway the BAFTAs and PGAs might be the way to for potter to enter both lists and justy hope for a miracle on january 24th

  4. julian the emperor

    I’m afraid that Tate Taylor could very well be among the five for bd. Even Lee Daniels, who did a not-so-good (let’s be friendly, it’s that time of year) job on Precious made his way in. Furthermore, with Hooper’s win last year, i think it is safe to say that the Academy (as well as the DGA) go for what they like, not what is a superior feat of directing. Considering the populist “likeability factor” of The Help, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Taylor in, even though the competition is strong (I even think he can keep Spielberg out of the game this time around).

  5. ANOTHER great illuminating piece! And Steve Ponds! Wow! What dedication to go through all that number crunching! But I think he’s pretty much right. Although those eight could possibly miss one up or one down. And “Dragon Tattoo” could change that depending on how it does at the box-office this lonnng holiday weekend…

    I wrote an equally lonnnng response in the Comments section on “Dragon” but it didn’t get printed! So if you want to know how much I REALLY liked it just click on my name above and it will take you to my blog!

    I really do think Rooney could get in…It’s just that it opened toooo late and the Embargo killed it. One week earlier and it would have been an entirely different scenario. In the Oscar race TIMING is EVERYTHING. Oh, and money counts, too. As if “How much money are they spending on an Oscar campaign?” If only it had opened SOONer…If only…

  6. What’s your reasoning FOR Drive, Paddy? It has “internet support” but not much else I don’t see.

  7. On those ballots, 33 different films received first-place votes.

    That’s awesome. I really hope the Academy voted with their heart and not what they think they should vote for.

    Another example: If a film gets twice as many votes as it needs, each of its ballots counts 50 percent for the first-place film and 50 percent for the voter’s second choice.

    I still don’t get this. So those people who voted for that film get two votes? Or an extra half vote? Either way those people become more important than those whose votes only counted once.

    But no one is ever going to look back at 2010 and believe that The King’s Speech was the year’s best film.

    I’m willing to bet the people who made it or voted for it will.

    With this system, I don’t see how we can have sure things. Because any one of your sure things could be everyone’s 3rd favorite movie. What then? It’s one thing to know a film is popular but then how can you be sure exactly how any given person is going to rank them?

    For example suppose I had a ballot right now. I think so far that the “best” movie I’ve seen is HUGO. But I’m pretty sure that it wouldn’t need me. WARRIOR which was my early favorite, I’m still emotionally attached to. So at this point I’d put WARRIOR at number one. Then probably have something else that no one else is voting for like THE SKIN I LIVE IN at number two and then probably HUGO. Okay, I’m a wacky person. Most people probably wouldn’t do something like that. But what if they did? People asking me what I thought was the best movie of the year would be hearing “Hugo” come out of my mouth but they wouldn’t be seeing what was on my ballot.

    I dunno. I think this year is this first time in a long time we could have surprises. I kinda hope it happens because right now a Slumdogesque steamrolling by THE ARTIST isn’t going to be any fun. I mean that’s what they changed the system for right? So that wouldn’t happen?

  8. Extremely Loud is going to make a major splash.

  9. julian the emperor

    With the SAG and GG snubs for Drive (and Tree Of Life) I think it’s safe to say, that Drive will not be a major Oscar player (besides supp actor, where I suspect Brooks will still manage a spot and perhaps, in my wildest fantasies, in cinematography and screenplay?). But to say that Drive has only “internet support” is a stretch. It’s been doing might mighty well with the critics’ groups on both sides of the Atlantic. Are critics an internet-phenomenon, exclusively?? No.

  10. It’s a true shame to see Miller and Fincher in the wishful thinking section (I’d add Winding Refn) while someone like Spielberg who has a rather mediocre film is a sure thing just because “he is Spielberg”. Seriously, he has made 2 films in 2011 and while neither one is terrible, they are near failures in so many levels (Specially War Horse. At least Tintin has Andy Serkis’ motion capture magic).

  11. Isn’t DRIVE the exact kind of movie this voting system favors? It seems like the kind of movie that could get just enough number ones without being across the board popular. The same with something like SHAME or anything divisive. Maybe this could be the year of the black sheep.

  12. this voting system is so weird to me. It pretty much makes any kind of ranking irrelevant.

    If people have War Horse at number 3, unanimously, it will not be nominated, simply because it never got a number 1 vote, unlike the other movies that did.

    how does that make sense?

  13. It pretty much makes any kind of ranking irrelevant

    I thought it made the rankings super relevant?

  14. It’s not that I expect Drive to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, I just don’t expect either Moneyball or Dragon Tattoo to be either. And, of all the films which I don’t consider to be among the likeliest nominees, Drive has a heck of a lot of support from the critics’ groups. I’m not paying very much attention to its Internet support – I too think that that will come to mean nothing for the film.

    For the record, seeing as I don’t expect any of the three aforementioned films to pick up Best Picture nominations, the films which I do expect are The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, The Tree of Life and War Horse.

  15. 8 seems believable. If Drive doesn’t make it in, and Dragon Tattoo and Extremely Close don’t pull through, then at best we have 8 with Tree of Life.

  16. @ Antoinette

    I agree. I think that this voting system does favour more divisive films, but I don’t think that said divisive films will have enough support from within the Academy to be nominated. The way I see it, if films like Drive, Shame, The Tree of Life are love/hate films, the critics love them and the Academy is gonna hate them.

    And @ VVS

    That makes sense because no film which receives any #1 votes at nomination stage is likely to win the actual award and, thus, ought not to be given a chance.

  17. Fuck, I meant ‘no #1 votes’ instead of ‘any #1 votes’ OBVS.

  18. I don’t expect Dragon Tattoo either unless it makes a shitload of money — that plus Fincher’s reputation with Academy members could push it through. It’s also one of the few films with some actual bite. Moneyball’s fate is up in the air – it absolutely deserves to be among the ten…

  19. If we’re talking first about how many movies will get #1 positions, i think this year the race is open but… not that much. And while I think the top 8 possible nominees have The Artist, Hugo, Moneyball, The Descendants and The Help already locked up, the next ones are a really more and more complex matter: The Tree of Life, War Horse, Midnight in Paris are probably on the edge and pending on guilds support, Harry Potter might surprise there. Then, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Ides of March might be there in the fight, too, or maybe just as vote syphoners.

    Out of those, SHOCKERS that are in the realm of logic, would be Drive, Beginners, Shame, A Separation, Bridesmaids (but, if There’s something about Mary didn’t get it, this one won’t as “The Help” seems like the serious option for the members that might be appealed by it). Maybe an outside shot to surprise for The Skin I live in (the fact it’s inellegible for Foreign Film at the Oscar, BUT its showing on other precursors it may help for a kind of compensation, as it happened years ago to “City of God” which ended being nom’d for Best Director)

    But frankly and honestly enough, I think we know the 5 nominees of any year and the only question is if we’re gonna have number 6th to 9th and which ones may be.

  20. Ooops, I forgot to mention why I don’t add Dragon Tattoo to the suspects. It’s the FIRST FILM of a fanchise, and also it’s a remake. I know The Departed went on to win the Oscar, but that was believed to be a stand alone film back then (rumors of remaking the sequel appeared later in the race, before its possible winner status).

    Fincher’s on the other hand, it’s more a Lord of the Rings/Harry Potter kind of case, but I don’t see the AMPAS going that way again without knowing for sure the creative team will remain till the end. If the films were shot back/to/back, that would be happening, otherwise, no matter how good they could be, Oscar may wait till the final film

  21. In a year like this, 8 nominees is still too many.

  22. VVS
    December 22, 2011 – 8:32 am | Permalink
    this voting system is so weird to me. It pretty much makes any kind of ranking irrelevant.
    If people have War Horse at number 3, unanimously, it will not be nominated, simply because it never got a number 1 vote, unlike the other movies that did.
    how does that make sense?

    I know, it is super retarded. While it didn’t turn out as such I remember one of these analysis articles last year pointing out that films like True Grit and The Fighter were at risk of early elimination because they were the #2 or #3 sort but nobody’s #1. So a system that operates this way is pretty much meaningless to me. A much better system is how the MLB Cy Young voting is done, where you get a certain number of points for each placement and total points determines the winner…though of course then you’ve got the politics of people not placing films in the order they truly think they should be for reasons like Antoinette mentioned, so you are pretty much fucked any way lol

  23. And it is extremely fucked up now with BOTH the preferential balloting and this new 5 percent rule. just go back to however it was done in 2009 and all will be great.

  24. Brainy Pirate

    Does anyone else wish they would use a variable nominee system for the acting categories? They could nominate anywhere between 3 and 8, depending on how strong the year is.

  25. In a year like this, 8 nominees is still too many.

    Yeah. I was thinking that too.

  26. Brainy Pirate


    I disagree. I like this ranking system, because it means that only films that people think deserve to be #1 can be nominated. I don’t want a film that everyone likes but no one loves to be nominated.

  27. In a year like this, 8 nominees is still too many.

    Yeah. I was thinking that too.

    Me too which sucks because I was always a proponent of more nominees even before they had ten. What happened? :(

    @Brainy Pirate That sounds good to me. The acting categories are much more random from year to year in terms of quality. Supporting never has enough room. And usually, though not this year, you have to scrape around for an extra Best Actress.

  28. On the surface that might appear to be the case Brainy but if you dig deeper it means divisive films can get in over a film that has wide appeal which I don’t consider a good thing. There needs to more consensus…total points is the more fair way and accurate way to go.

  29. You know Harry Potter should be nominated for Best Picture, I mean why not (not counting those Critics Awards) it ranked #1 in more theaters than any film this year, got higher grades/votes/and more reviews than any film this year (except Drive on IMDB), also everyone knows it’s the best reviewed film of the year, and people not only in North America but around the world respect Harry Potter; I mean if they didn’t all those HP movies would have all bad reviews (and not good ones) and not do very well in the box office.

  30. @ Scott

    You only want films with wide appeal to make it in because that’s about the only way your favourites could ever be nominated. I wonder if you consider ‘divisive’ to be dirty word…

  31. Basically what I’m saying is it’s stupid to REQUIRE a film to receive a first place vote in the nomination process. Just let it play out however it plays out, without risk of a really great film getting knocked out of contention just because for instance it got all 2nd place votes but no #1’s.

  32. LaKeisha Gutierrez Arafat

    I am willing to bet that the nominees for best picture will be:

    Jack and Jill (Sandler will receive 2 noms: 1 for Lead Actor and 1 for Lead Actress)
    How Does She Do It
    New Year’s Eve
    Alvin and Chipmunks
    Bucky Larson

    ***My prediction is for the Academy Awards***

  33. Oh yeah Malik. The film with the most IMDb reviews automatically ought to be a major contender for Best Picture.

    The best reviewed film of the year? I’d consider that to be A Separation.

  34. I mean seriously guys…have some common sense. Would it make sense to not nominate a film if hypothetically all 6,000 members had it somewhere in their Top 10 but for whatever reason nobody had it at #1? Fuck no.

  35. That’s why your example of a points system is the fairest way. If they rank their five and the first one gets 5 points, the second 4 points, and so on, and then they add up all the points then I think the “best” film would be more likely to win. I have no idea why they don’t do it that way.

  36. We’ll be lucky to see 7 nominees and I agree that the middle of the road (numbers 3 – 10 on anybody’s favorite list) are in jeopardy. If passion rules the voting, imagine a horserace between Hugo, Tree of Life, Drive, The Help, Bridemaids, and The Artist, with the middle candidate (The Artist) taking the prize.

  37. LaKeisha,

    Thanks for the chuckle of the day. A little levity can go a long way.

  38. I know I’m not a Harry Potter fan, but Malik is right. I mean in July while I was in the mall getting something to eat at Chick Fil A’s, and while I was eating I saw hundreds of kids and teenagers in Harry Potter costumes going to the movie theater, it was like Potter fandamoneum. I just can’t believe for the last 10 years people still pay to see thes Harry Potter movies when they open.

  39. I liked the preferential voting system. It’s one of the fairest voting systems and allows for both divisive films and widely-liked but not loved films to make the cut.

  40. If Harry Potter had opened in November, it won’t be only gettign a BP nom, it probably would have swept the Oscars, RotK style. It would have been too big to ignore. But momentum faded through summer, and the bluray release hasn’t been enough. Blame it on marketers and the fact that Hallows 1 hinted but didn’t prove Potter was Best Picture material.

    Now, it’ll have a hard time getting a BP nom, and it’s a pitty, the franchise is an achievement that deserves some AMPAS recognition, an Honorary Oscar to Rowling and Kloves should be in order, and also shortlisting both Rickman and Fiennes as “due” to a win in the next years.

    But now… game is over. Too late.

  41. Wrong Paddy. I just outlined why it’s actually probably the LEAST fair.

  42. Unless you mean preferential without the first place stipulation…that one isn’t too bad.

  43. Tero Heikkinen

    Scott: “I mean seriously guys…have some common sense.”

    I can’t. I don’t have the high IQ.

    Rocky (Malik and countless other alter egos): “In July while I was in the mall getting something to eat at Chick Fil A’s, and while I was eating I saw hundreds of kids and teenagers in Harry Potter costumes going to the movie theater, it was like Potter fandamoneum.”

    I dressed as a dinosaur when I went to see The Tree of Life. Good times, but they beat me up afterwards.

  44. Tero Why did they beat up?

  45. Tero Heikkinen

    Stop it!

  46. Goddamn Harry Potter fans hijacking every thread!

  47. @Jesus Alonso what about Midnight in Paris and Tree of Life?

  48. Hey I was only asking?

  49. @Tero I was only asking?

  50. Best way is still for any voter to rank according to what one thinks best, not presuppose if any film needs or doesn’t need his support. Politicking like that always backfires.

    Also, after ranking results come in, the Academy awards points according to rank. So the one with the highest points win, no need 2nd round to vote for winner. Saves effort, time, lawyers fee and security costs. Just announce nominees, then later at ceremony, announce winner.

  51. Paddy M says:
    December 22, 2011 at 10:31 am
    @ Scott

    You only want films with wide appeal to make it in because that’s about the only way your favourites could ever be nominated. I wonder if you consider ‘divisive’ to be dirty word…

    Wrong again Paddy. With a few exceptions (and of course with anything there are always exceptions) my favorites have tended to be nominated. As for the word divisive…not always, I’d be fine with Dragon Tattoo snagging a nom.

  52. Exactly Aubrey…but we don’t live in a perfect world.

  53. I happen to like the preferential voting system. I happen to think that it is pretty fair. It doesn’t make me wrong.

  54. Yawn.

  55. Craig , I only see one fan. Calm down.

  56. I haven’t even mentioned Potter (until now, lol)

  57. Oh, and learn what the term ‘hijacking’ means. If this thread was hijacked by Potter fans, the discussion will focus solely on Potter.

  58. It should be known that the SAG nominating committee didn’t get sent any screeners for not only “Dragon Tattoo” and “Extremely Loud” and also, “War Horse.” Whereas they got sent TWO screeners of all the Weinstein movies!

  59. The Artist
    The Descendants
    The Help
    Midnight in Paris
    The Tree of Life
    War Horse

    This is my prediction for the final top 8. BUT, both Moneyball and War Horse are vulnerable. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is dead. It has no chances at getting nominated. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo might surprise, because of Fincher’s popularity, Mara’s performance and the potential big box office success. Drive is a critics favorite, it doesn’t have any substantial support in the industry and it won’t get enough #01 votes. Harry Potter could definitely surprise and get in over War Horse or Moneyball. WB’s $100M campaign, the support from the British members and the tech branches could be enough to make it get this 5%. If it manages to get the PGA and BAFTA nods, it might very well get in. The Ides of March is kind of doomed. So, my top 10 includes The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Harry Potter and both films might get in over Moneyball and War Horse.
    War Horse has way too divisive reviews and the Academy screenings were very ‘meh’. Moneyball is a film that will make loads of top 5s, but will it gather lots of #01s? Doubtful. We’ll see.

  60. I think that The Artist, The Help, Hugo and The Descendants are locks. The Tree of Life will definitely get that 5% because it does have some passionate supporters and Midnight in Paris seems to be very loved by the Academy. So yeah, I think we have 6 defined Best Picture nominees. The other two slots are up in the air.

  61. Tero Heikkinen

    We don’t know. The Tree of Life was very much dead on almost everybody’s predictions until it started to win every other BP with critics. It could still be dead and something like Extremely Loud could sneak in. Maybe even Drive – which I would be extremely happy & incredibly pleased with.

  62. Tero Heikkinen

    We put weight on critics, but it’s a dangerous game in the end.

  63. Sorry in advance for the length of this post. Just a few points.

    “Moneyball” is definitely in for a BP nomination, I think. Bennett Miller may be out, but people love it enough that it will get in. The problem with the internet (and I love the internet) is that it’s its own echo chamber, much like the Oscar voters live in their echo chamber. To online people, a movie like “Drive” is a lot more important than it is to the Academy. Despite the film’s greatness, a lot of people in the Academy are going to find “Drive’s” violence problematic. Even for those Academy members who like “Drive,” genre-bias is going to impede its success. “The Dark Knight” couldn’t even get nominated and it had way more precursor support than “Drive” does. I honestly believe, call me crazy, that even under the redesigned best picture system that nominates up to ten films, “The Dark Knight” would face an uphill battle to a nomination. Genre films (action, horror, sci-fi), unless they’re directed by someone in the club (Scorsese, for instance) generally have trouble getting traction. The Academy prefers “serious” adult dramas, which “Moneyball” is in spades. It’s a hard film to argue with and I’d be shocked to see it left off.

    I think the real one to watch is “The Help.” If “The Artist” peaks, like “Social Network” did last year, and suddenly the Academy has to rally around a consensus pick…okay, it’s unlikely, I know. But, “The Descendants,” the likely number two, I don’t see happening because it’s already peaked and popular opinion on that one seems to be trending downward, unless I’m misreading the situation. “Hugo’s” main obstacle is that they already crowned Scorsese and not too long ago (and look how long it took the first time). I do have a sneaking suspicion that Tate Taylor is going to get in for Best Director. It’s like in 2007 when most were predicting “Juno” for a best picture nod, but Jason Reitman was suspiciously absent from the conversation. Yet on nomination morning, there he was, taking the spot that most thought would go to Sean Penn for “Into the Wild,” which was practically shut out. If Tate Taylor shows up as a Best Director nominee, watch out. On your last podcast, Sasha, you and Jeff spoke about how being the underdog, especially at this point in the race, is the best position to be in. Right now, everyone assumes that “The Help” is a lock for a nomination, but it can’t win…right? I dunno. That sounds like “King Speech” talk around this time last year and we all know how that turned out.

  64. Note: I am going off for my information when writing this. Hardly an exact science but it will do for this conversation.

    In the past years, at least some of the most critically acclaimed films were nominated.

    This year, we are looking at a situation where The Tree of Life, Drive, A Separation (Director? Screenplay?) and Melancholia may not be nominated. Disappointing.

    Last year the top 9 critically acclaimed films were all nominated.

    And in 2009, the top 5 were all nominated.

    This year, The Artist, The Descendants and Hugo are the only contenders to win Oscar inside the Top 10.

  65. I agree with you, Tero, it’s a very weird year. The voting system is news to us, the critics awards are all over the place, the campaigns for the films are either surprisingly underwhelming (see The Ides of March and War Horse) or way too overwhelming (see Harry Potter and Hugo). It’s all over the place and I highly doubt we’ll get three ‘awww’ BP-nominated films this year (Midnight in Paris, The Artist and War Horse) which is why, along with War Horse’s mixed reviews and ‘meh’ screenings, makes me think that the latter will be snubbed and a surprise film like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or Harry Potter will sneak in.

    You know what? I really like Moneyball. Great screenplay, a great lead performance and an interesting approach to a story that could either be full of cliche or full of cheesy ala The Blind Side stuff. We know that the film has support, but is it going to be enough? Is it one of those films that have a defined group of followers or will it only make the top 5s and top 10s of the Academy’s members as a film that they respect and like but don’t go crazy for?

  66. Also, in such an open year – It is worth discussing a split..

    Alexander Payne is overdue, they crowned Scorsese at the 2007 ceremony for The Departed and they can’t pronounce Hazanavicius.

    Maybe Best Pic goes to The Artist but Best Director goes to Alexander Payne.

  67. When there are no clear frontrunners with their respective bandwagons, that’s when you’ll see votes cast for actual preferences, no matter how edgy. As yet, I don’t see a bait-buzze film anybody cares enough about to abandon their secret favorite. And will the second choice of Drive fans be ELAIC? Tree of Lifers – are they putting this year’s Full Monty, Bridemaids, second? or vice versa?

    And I agree with you, Morgan – if ever there was a year to predict a split, the conditions are just right for that to happen.

  68. Tree of Life and Midnight in Paris are two “auteur” films, both of them fascinating in its own terms and don’t have big bias playing against them. They’re both the kind of films that simply stayed in the picture as true auteur films all year long and nothing have eclipsed them… but each other.

    Harry Potter, the other early contender, in exchange, had a lot of competition appealing to the same possible voters: Super 8, Attack the Block, Tintin, Hugo. All of them stole some of the limelight Potter would have kept if these movies had bombed. IF Potter would have opened in November with the same reviews, it would have overshadowed Apes, Super 8 and Attack the Block without problems. Tintin too, most likely. Only Hugo would have been a huge competitor and I guess the combined force of both would have worked the miracle of having a real discussion of wether one or the other was the better film or the most deserving of a nom or even win. I think Hugo would have won, but the perception on the race would have been radically different.

    Right now, I think it’s Hugo for the win. But it’s an open race. Potter won’t be nom’d unless guilds go wild for it.

  69. What kind of support can Potter have from the guilds? I only predict a PGA nod. You mean, DGA and WGA nods?

  70. @Jesus and what about the People’s Choice Awards?

  71. Antoinette: I agree with a lot of what you have written in this thread (just to let you know I support what you have written).

    I think there will be enough groundswell support from the technical guilds to push “Harry Potter” into the Best Picture slot. Taken together, these guilds make up a huge percentage of the Academy – probably akin to the actors branch (the largest).

    It explains why sometimes a disaster film like “The Towering Inferno” in 1974 can make it into the top 5 (or whatever number they chose this year).

    And if The Towering Inferno can make it onto a Best Picture list with these people, then they sure as hell better nominate the technically superior, epic-themed Harry Potter movie this year.

    I know. I know. It’s all apples and oranges.

    I just want HP to get the recognition it deserves. I’m hoping the guilds and BAFTA will go the course.

  72. Tero Heikkinen

    Keifer, you forget that it depends on the YEAR when any given film is nominated. 1974 is known as being the worst year of this glorious decade. Academy must have had difficulties filling spots 4 and 5 even.

  73. Tero Heikkinen

    In 1974 Harry Potter would’ve been in the top 5, no question about it. It would have still lost to Godfather Part II, but it would’ve been nominated. Of course we are excluding visual- and sound effects of today, but the story of HP8 may have been even better in the 70’s.

    Damn, that was a ridiculous IF-post. But there you have it.

  74. I posted this on another thread, but it’s more relevant here.

    @ Tero

    If Extremely Loud does sneak in (as I have been predicting for some time now), it’ll be only the second film to do so with a Metacritic score of 0 from a critic – Scott Tobias hates it:,66898/

  75. I think Potter is currently at #09 or #10. I don’t think it’ll make it, but if the rumored $100M campaign of WB is true and the film gets the support from the technical branches and the British members of the Academy (since Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy has no buzz and has gathered zero awards attention), it might surprise.

    I think that The Artist, The Help, The Descendants, Hugo and Midnight in Paris are definitely going to be nominated. They’re all locks. Then, it’s pretty much open to 6-7 films. The Tree of Life has passionate supporters, without a doubt. But is it enough? Potter has the tech branches and British support. Is it enough? The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the dark/edgy film and Fincher has supporters. Can it make it? War Horse is classic Spielberg cheese the Academy likes, but is it enough, since the screenings and the reviews have been very mixed? Moneyball is well-respected but will it get ‘top of the list’ votes or will it be just respected and make it in top 5s and top 10s?
    I think that Moneyball has the edge and will fill the sixth spot and The Tree of Life will take the seventh spot, but, then, it gets trickier. I think it’s going to be War Horse, but either Potter or Tattoo could surprise. If Potter makes a big splash at the BAFTAs and gets a PGA nomination, it will get stronger and Tattoo needs some really solid box office success in order to increase its chances. It’s an interesting year.

    Extremely Loud is done. It’s dead. Even the campaign is almost non-existent. Drive is a critics film, I don’t think the Academy will embrace it, even though it has some supporters. Tinker, Tailor is doomed as hell. And The Ides of March doesn’t have momentum.

  76. Tero Heikkinen

    Midnight in Paris is not DEFINITELY in. It’s on the edge, it has been that for long and still is. IMO.

    The rest:

    The Artist
    The Help
    The Descendants

    These are in, and if one of these upsets, it will be The Help (bt I doubt it). Moneyball should not be among the seven, I have come to realise that there’s something wrong with that movie. Other than baseball (which a non-American can not like that easily). It was too Hollywood. Something that Hollywood voters will see through if they see through Extremely Loud – both are pure Oscar-bait. Though I have not seen the latter.

  77. I really don’t know what’s going on with Moneyball, actually. It could get in but it might be snubbed.

    Hm, do you think that they won’t nominate Midnight in Paris? I thought that the Academy reports mentioned that they really love the film.

  78. @Tero the only thing ridiculous is you

  79. And Harry Potter 8 have 56 award win/nominations

  80. Tero Heikkinen

    I know. That’s why I said: “Damn, that was a ridiculous IF-post. But there you have it.”

    Are you an idiot?

  81. Tero Heikkinen

    ^that was for Matt H, who has a trouble reading.

  82. I will be suprised if there is 8! I was really happy we had 10 nominees last year because it brought so much attention to all of the bp nominees. I think we will have 6 or 7 nominees tops.

    The Help
    The Descendants
    The Artist
    War Horse
    Midnight in Paris or Girl With The Dragon Tatoo or Tree of Life

  83. Tero Heikkinen

    Matt H aka Stephanie aka Mikey aka OCO 300 aka Malik aka Rocky aka 10 other screen names.

    Everybody here knows you are one person. Stop it!

  84. @Tero take a chill pill, besides do you have any proff that it’s the same guy or girl?

  85. Tero Heikkinen

    Oh, Vinny, my darling :D

    I vote for someone being banned now. Who’s with me? You may ban me as well, but this is getting on my nerves. I will leave gladly.

  86. Actually Tero, the sarcasm in some of the comments of those screenames stinks of Jeremie.

  87. Ban him if you could. His terrible grammar gives him/her away every time he/she changes his/her name.

  88. @Tero take a chill pill, besides do you have any proff that it’s the same guy or girl?

    I have the proof.

    Please cut it out, Vinny/ Matt H./ Rocky/ Mikey/ Malik/ Jimbo G./ Stephanie/ OCO300

    You can use as many IDs as you want — but not if you’re trying to represent yourself as a mob of readers ganging up with the same agenda.

  89. Is AD going to simulate the nomination ballot with the readership again this year? It’s been really fun the last two years.

  90. In a year like this, 8 nominees is still too many.

    Agree.. but I would have stayed with the previous top 10 rule to avoid that in outstanding years like 2010 a fantastic film doesn’t miss BP nomination. Yesterday I watched at You Tube the montage they did at the Oscars with the scenes from the 10 BP nominations and the speech of the king and in the end, i said to myself: How this top 10 is amazing. What a great year. The only thing I would have changed was The Town instead of The Kids Are All Right.

  91. The top 7
    The Artist
    The Descendants
    The Help
    War Horse
    Midnight in Paris
    is locked but I feel there will be one extra nominee and we will know the 3 that have a shot at it when the PGA announce their nominees early january.

  92. I can’t believe I have to explain in Awardsdaily to a poster that the guilds don’t include ONLY SAG, WGA and DGA, but also PGA and cinematographers, visual effects, costume designers… all the technicals that, you know, happen to vote for Oscar, too and have launched to Best Picture some movies even thought they were not nominated for acting – which is the branch that blinds everyone. Technically heavy films have a good chance of getting a BP nom, and if they score acting support, it’s almost a done deal not for the nom but for the win.

  93. And that’s why Potter is a longshot/alternative now and Hugo is a lock already.

  94. Daniel B.

    And once again shading King’s Speech. One year later and still mourning, aren’t you. Actually it WAS the best movie of 2010. Stop weeping and move on.

  95. I’m thinking 6 will be nominated

    The Artist
    The Descendants
    The Help
    Midnight in Paris
    Tree of Life

  96. julian the emperor

    forg: I think you are nearly right, but I would think the Academy goes for War Horse instead of TOL (sorry to say) and maybe Moneyball as well (if there are 7 nominees).

    Can we presume that ELIC is dead by now? 41 on metacritic….ouch! IF it should be nominated that it could end up with the lowest score of a bp nominee since metacritic has been around (The Blind Side was a 52, as far as I remember).

  97. Congratulations to The Artist, 2011’s Best Picture. That’s what I got from the article.

    Sasha, I also think the “Ms. Right vs. Ms. Right Now” metaphor is incorrect. The King’s Speech, as you sometimes say, is engineered for Oscar. Oscar would probably have picked it no matter when– there’s no “now” playing into things. The better point is that just because Oscar picks it, it doesn’t mean that the “Best Picture: is the best picture.

  98. *”Best Picture” is the best picture.

  99. @Evan what article was that?

  100. Steve Pond’s article, where we learned that in BFCA voting, the Artist was the only film with more than 10% of the votes and that in fact, it had at least 20% more votes than it needed. It’s way out in front.

  101. Steve Pond’s article, where we learned that in BFCA voting, the Artist was the only film with more than 10% of the votes and that in fact, it had at least 20% more votes than it needed. It’s way out in front.

    … the BFCA.

  102. Exactly: at the BFCA, which always tries to predict the Oscars results. And right now The Artist is the frontrunner but i can assure that If The King`s Speech has gotten the critics awards and was way out in the front in the first half of last year`s awards season, it would have won the BFCA.

  103. so, 33 films have been narrowed down to first place. locks=artist-midnight in paris-the descendants-hugo and the tree of life. other five-harry potter-moneyball-project nim-a seperation-bridesmaids.

  104. I’m not sure that the BFCA matches AMPAS closely enough to accurately predict how many films will make the final list, but if one film (particularly one that’s so traditional) is way out in front with BFCA, I imagine it’ll be out in front with AMPAS too.

  105. @ Evan

    I’m pretty much sure The Social Newtork was way out in front with BFCA last year. Just because it was the Oscars frontrunner at that moment. It’s a matter of cause, effect and expectation. The BFCA result has no effect in the Oscars result but the cause the results usually are similar is that the BFCA votes based in what they think will happen Oscar night, based in their expectation.

  106. I’m pretty much sure The Social Newtork was way out in front with BFCA last year. Just because it was the Oscars frontrunner at that moment.

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