Here is how the Gurus of Gold, a collection of Oscar pundits, thinks the Best Picture race looks:
Here is how the chart looked last year around this time – only one film – Django Unchained – wasn’t present on this list (and was a late breaking film) and the winner was in the number one spot. That would change, however, in the weeks that followed – Lincoln would take the lead, then Zero Dark Thirty, and finally Argo again. You have to go back to 2005 to find a year when the winner of the Best Picture race was not on the Gurus list. Other than the fluke that was last year, generally speaking, the Gurus do not — I repeat — do not have the Best Picture winner decided this early. The one time that they did have the winner in place this early was Slumdog Millionaire. With 12 Years a Slave it’s probably either going to have that kind of trajectory (winning everything) or another film will eventually beat it.
Best Actress looks like this:
It’s interesting that the three women on the panel have singled out Brie Larson for Short Term 12, while a couple of the dudes went for Adele Archopoulos. I guess that isn’t the world’s biggest shocker but it’s worth noting.
I forgot to add Judi Dench for Philomena (I still have not seen it) and would have if I’d been of right mind. I do think she has a strong shot at this point – but I don’t know whom to dump. I’m betting that Amy Adams is once again a major standout for American Hustle, and thus will make the cut. Dench, of course, seems destined, too, to get in. The difference: Dench doesn’t campaign and Amy Adams will.
The race appears to be down to Cate Blanchett and Sandra Bullock, at least right now. Had Bullock not recently won for The Blind Side this would be a cakewalk for her. On the other hand, Blanchett’s is, to my mind of the best, if not the best performances of the year, male or female.
Last year, look at how mostly right the Gurus were – save Marion Cotillard and Helen Mirren. Anne Thompson and Dave Karger were kind of more on it than most, it’s worth noting. This gives me even more hope for Brie Larson to make the cut.
Best Actor looks like this:
I have a feeling that either Chiwetel Ejiofor will win Best Actor or 12 Years a Slave will win Best Picture. It’s entirely possible both will win but for now I’m betting that Redford pulls ahead. But it’s a toss-up, really. The hardest call is where Bruce Dern will fit in the Best Actor race, or whether he’ll bump Forest Whitaker.
That leaves two slots open, with Christian Bale for American Hustle and Leonardo DiCaprio for Wolf of Wall Street still to come. Bruce Dern would indeed win Best Supporting Actor if he were put in that slot. But Nebraska is about him, his inner world, his dreams and failures. It’s tough to make a case for him in supporting. The reason he’s not one of the strongest contenders right now, is that both he and Forest Whitaker have the more subtler performances, equally brilliant. If both get in, that means Tom Hanks gets dumped. That’s hard to imagine. Best Actor is a real race, to be sure. Here is how it looked last year (there was never any contest):
I have to note that I accidentally left Octavia Spencer off my list. But I would definitely include her if I had a do-over. I guess Julia Roberts is going Supporting for August: Osage County. If so, she’s probably in.
Last year’s was WAY OFF:
And Best Supporting Actor this year:
And last year’s: