For a while there, it looked like a few people thought Inglourious Basterds would be the film to beat. Jack Matthews was one of those out front. But he has had a change of heart. This, in the wake of Basterds not making a major show in the guilds probably. It has won a Sound Effects Editing Award, a Critics Choice for Screenplay and a SAG ensemble win.
Avatar has done even worse than Basterds, but Avatar is the “people’s movie,” so it has a leg up on Basterds. Matthews says that, he thinks, the preferential ballots will due Tarantino in. He also says that the Big Red Dragon in the Room is still Avatar. He makes a point of highlighting The Hurt Locker’s box office. I haven’t decided if its box office take helps or hurts it. I guess we’ll find out March 7.
Matthews does make an interesting point about Avatar, though. He doesn’t think it can win just on the money. In truth, voters have to “really like” the movie to give it their top prize – that is where preferential balloting comes into play. But the money? Maybe they feel like the money is the reward in and of itself:
And what about the red dragon in the room? (You do remember the red dragon in ‘Avatar,’ right?) James Cameron’s movie is still a better bet for the Best Picture Oscar than ‘Basterds,’ but as its box office fortunes have increased, its Oscar fortunes seem to have dwindled. There’s a sense that Cameron has created more of a technological phenomenon than a work of art, and that giving him the Oscar for a movie whose worldwide gross is approaching $2.5 billion would amount to wretched excess.