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Tag: Best Picture Oscar (91-100 of 152)

Will it be an 'Avatar' awards weekend?

For the last few weeks I’ve been hearing from Oscar voters that Avatar is the surest bet for a Best Picture win in March. As I’ve written here before, many Academy members are saying, even though the ballots haven’t been submitted, that the race is all but over. I’m curious as to how much this weekend’s big-ticket award ceremonies will catch the rest of the world up to this line of thinking. With all the critics-award events this past week, the talk was certainly focused on Up in the Air and The Hurt Locker, which have obliterated Avatar with 11 wins each compared to only one for Avatar. but today’s Broadcast Film Critics Association ceremony and Sunday’s Golden Globe awards should change the conversation. The question is: How much? The answer, I believe, will lie in four races: the BFCA’s Best Picture and Best Director, and the Globes’ Best Drama and Best Director. Avatar will without a doubt win one or two of those four at least. But what if it sweeps all four? I predicted Up in the Air as the Globe Best Drama winner, but increasingly I’m thinking I’m wrong.

Follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for updates on Avatar and all the big awards contenders all weekend long.

Image credit: Eric Charbonneau/Le Studio/WireImage

'District 9' + 'Star Trek' = An 'Avatar' loss at the Oscars?

It’s often said that the Oscar race always changes once the nominees are announced. And the science-fiction heavy Producers Guild of America’s top 10 list, announced earlier today, raises an interesting question: What if Avatar, District 9, and Star Trek all repeat and score Oscar nominations for Best Picture? Could Avatar, which is widely considered to be the frontrunner at this point, actually be hurt by all the sci-fi love? It certainly seems logical that James Cameron’s opus would lose more votes to District and Trek than it would to, say, smaller indies like A Serious Man or The Messenger. In such a tight race as this year’s, something like that could make all the difference.

Cameron himself acknowledges the three films will affect each others’ chances. As he told my colleague Carrie Bell at the Avatar premiere: “I hope the existence of Avatar doesn’t negate the hard work of a few other directors on some really great genre films this year, like District 9 or Star Trek. But I fear that if [Oscar voters] do get over the historical bias once, they won’t feel the need to do it again in the same year.” So should Avatar fans now be praying that District 9 and Star Trek don’t make it in to the Academy’s top 10? Or is Avatar so far ahead of Up in the Air and The Hurt Locker that one or two other action flicks won’t make a significant enough dent in its lead? I’m thinking the Na’vi can handle one other sci-fi competitor. But if both District and Trek make it in, there could be a problem.

UPDATE In response to several commenters who are mystified by my calling Avatar the Oscar frontrunner of the moment: Believe it, folks. I’ve been resistant to the idea over the last few weeks, but nearly every Academy member I’ve talked to is calling the race over already. As a big fan of The Hurt Locker, Precious, Inglourious Basterds, and Up in the Air (not to mention someone who isn’t a fan of boring, predictable Oscar seasons), I’d like to think it’s closer than they say, but I’m just here to report to all of you what’s going on in the awards battle.

Tweet me @davekarger.

Oscars: Dave Karger predicts the nominees

Here are my latest predictions for who’ll get nominated in the eight main Oscar races on Feb. 2. My Best Picture picks are immediately below; the other seven categories are after the jump.

Best Picture
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Star Trek
Up in the Air

Oh, how much easier this would be if there were only five Best Picture nominees this year: It’d be Up in the Air (which won the National Board of Review prize), The Hurt Locker (winner of the Producers Guild, Directors Guild, and Broadcast Film Critics awards), Golden Globe and box-office champ Avatar, film-festival winner Precious, and SAG Award victor Inglourious Basterds and we’d call it a day. It’s those other five slots that are tougher to suss out. An Education has strong support from actors (witness its SAG nod for best cast) and across-the-pond voters. Invictus has the necessary prestige to make the cut, while Best Animated Feature front-runner Up should manage to break out of the cartoon ghetto. If voters want to go the populist route, the top contender is the adult romance It’s Complicated. But since it’s the No. 1 and No. 2 votes on the Academy’s ranked ballots that truly count, films with a smaller cult of enthusiastic followers—think District 9 and Star Trek—is poised to become a spoiler. Which means the flashy, filled-with-Oscar-faves musical Nine may fall victim to its nasty reviews and lackluster box office. I’m also increasingly worried for the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man, which seems to be fading a bit. As for Golden Globe winner The Hangover, it’s now an outside contender for one of the 10 slots but by no means a sure thing.

Check out the rest of my predictions after the jump.


What if there were 5 Best Picture nominees?

When the Academy announced back in June that it’s including 10 Best Picture nominees this year, one of the things I thought about was whether, once the nominees were announced, it would be obvious which five films would have been nominated in a typical year and which five were the “extra” nominees. Well, now that I’ve worked up my Oscar-nomination predictions (which will appear in this week’s issue of EW as well as on this blog tomorrow morning), I’m thinking the answer to that question is a resounding yes. If there were only five Best Picture slots, wouldn’t they go to Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, and Up in the Air? Those five seem way ahead of the competition at the moment, while there are probably nine or so films (District 9, An Education, Invictus, It’s Complicated, The Messenger, NineA Serious Man, Star Trek, and Up) that are jockeying for the other five slots but would have had a hard time bumping out any of my “top five.” 

What do you think? Am I overestimating or underestimating any of these contenders? Which five films would you predict if the Academy were using last year’s rules? And isn’t it a bit ironic, given that the super-size race was meant to include more audience-friendly films in the mix, that Avatar would easily be nominated even with half the slots?

Please follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for more Oscar news and updates. 

Image credit: François Duhamel

Whose Oscar hopes has 'Avatar' killed?

I’ve never been a believer in the theory that Oscar voters have “slots” that they look to fill in the Best Picture race each year — the indie film, the blockbuster, the biopic, etc. That would imply that the entire voting body somehow decides on these things together, which obviously isn’t the case. But I do think the argument can be made that Avatar‘s newly-cemented status as a Best Picture frontrunner along the lines of The Hurt Locker and Up in the Air does have ramifications for other contenders that push similar buttons. For instance, Avatar‘s popularity among Academy members is likely the death knell for Star Trek and District 9‘s Best Picture hopes, since there probably won’t be room for two sci-fi films in the list of 10. Likewise, other box-office smashes like The Hangover and The Blind Side now seem quite pale by comparison to James Cameron’s visionary work.

The question everyone is now asking: Can Avatar win? Gregory Ellwood over at is raking me over the coals for still having Up in the Air as my No. 1 contender on Movie City News’ Gurus o’ Gold chart. One thing’s for sure, though: With a bona fide blockbuster squarely in the hunt for the biggest Oscar of all, you can guarantee the telecast’s producers are doing cartwheels right now.

Image credit: WETA

Dear Santa: Get these long shots nominated!

On this Christmas day, my wish list includes Oscar nominations for the following five dark horse contenders. Are you listening, Santa? (Or at least, Academy members?)

Best Picture: Brothers
I’m well aware that Jim Sheridan’s latest drama has as many haters as it does fans. But to me it felt real and true from the first frame. It also contains the strongest performance of Natalie Portman’s career and the best kid acting I’ve ever seen.

Best Actor: Matt Damon, The Informant!
At this point, Damon seems like a good bet for a supporting nod for Invictus. And that’s fine. But his more impressive work was as the world’s worst whistle-blower in Steven Soderbergh’s out-there comedy. Bonus points for Damon’s impeccable voice-over work in the film.

Best Actress: Maya Rudolph, Away We Go
Playing a conflicted mom-to-be, Rudolph was as quiet and introspective as she was riotously funny impersonating Whitney or Oprah on Saturday Night Love.

Best Supporting Actor: Alec Baldwin, It’s Complicated
I’m flabbergasted that Baldwin’s scene-stealing performance opposite Meryl Streep isn’t gaining more traction. He’s witty, sympathetic, and nude: What more should Oscar voters want?

Best Supporting Actress: Mariah Carey, Precious
Okay, let the hateful comments begin, but I insist that Carey is a deserving contender for her brief turn as a dowdy social worker. Carey’s costars Gabourey Sidibe and Mo’Nique are well on their way to scoring nominations. Considering their most memorable moments are with Carey, she should get in there too.

My other holiday wish? That you’ll follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for Oscar updates throughout the season. What long-shot nominations are you wishing for?

Image credit: Damon: Claudette Barius; Baldwin: Melinda Sue Gordon

Can '(500) Days of Summer' top 'Nine' at the Globes?

We all know that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association loves a flashy song-and-dance movie: They bestowed their Best Musical or Comedy prize on Chicago and Dreamgirls in the last decade. And the HFPA may continue that trend next month with the gorgeous, star-studded Nine, which scored the most nominations of any film in the category. But I’m beginning to wonder if the harsh reviews Nine received from the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and, yes, Entertainment Weekly, will hurt its overall chances this awards season. Will the Globes voters want to risk being seen as mere star worshipers by anointing a film that was so savaged by the country’s leading critics? 

If not, I’m thinking that of the four other nominees—(500) Days of Summer, The Hangover, It’s Complicated, and Julie & Julia—the one with the best shot may just be (500) Days. The Hangover, while the biggest hit of the bunch by far, is too crass, while the HFPA’s legion of Meryl Streep fans may find themselves split between her two films. (500) Days is quirky, fun, and original, with an ingenious script (illustrated in the below featurette featuring screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber) and a standout performance from Globe nominee Joseph Gordon-Levitt. And, according to Rotten Tomatoes, it’s the best-reviewed film of the five. So yes, the HFPA loves a flashy musical, but not always. Don’t forget: Last year at the Globes, Vicky Cristina Barcelona beat Mamma Mia!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for awards updates throughout the season.

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Photo credit: Chuck Zlotnick

'Up in the Air': Jason Reitman on his Best Picture frontrunner

Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air has taken something of a back seat in the Oscar-buzz department over the last month or so as Precious has been dominating the conversation. But now that the George Clooney comedic drama has won the National Board of Review prize for Best Picture and is finally hitting theaters in New York and Los Angeles tomorrow, its sure-to-be-fantastic reviews will soon elevate it to movie-to-beat status. Here’s Part 1 of my OscarWatch interview with the hyper-articulate writer-director, on working with Clooney and obsessing over frequent-flier miles.

[ewbrightcove “29888952001”, “53762389001”, “525”, “470”]

'Precious' to receive special Producers Guild prize

The Producers Guild of America announced today that Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire will receive its Stanley Kramer prize next year. The special award recognizes a film that “illuminates provocative social issues in an accessible and elevating fashion.” Last year’s Kramer award winner was Milk, which also earned best picture nominations from the PGA and the Academy. In two weeks of limited release, Precious has already grossed an amazing $8.7 million.

Can 'Avatar' play on DVD?

Although the Academy hosts official screenings of all the big award hopefuls for Oscar voters, the fact remains that many Academy members prefer to watch the contenders in their living rooms on DVD. But this year, for the first time, we have a 3D film—James Cameron’s Avatar—with a decent shot at a Best Picture nomination. Obviously, Twentieth Century Fox will do all they can to ensure that as many voters as possible see the film in a theater with those funny glasses on. And they have not announced if and when they’ll be sending out For Your Consideration DVDs that will, of course, only feature two of the film’s three dimensions.

The question is: Will it matter? When I watched a 30-minute preview of the film a few months ago, Cameron’s gorgeous 3D visuals were certainly the most impressive aspect of the production. But the studio can’t force all 6,000-plus Academy members to show up at a theater to watch it. So for many voters, their choice seems to be either to have them watch Avatar on a regular television, or not at all. Of the two options, they may be smart to choose the former.

Image credit: Fox

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