With the enormous amount of activity recently in the precursor race, enough has been gathered to give us a few pretty clear ideas about the direction of the Oscar race. The list of expected nominees is getting narrower and narrower as major precursors have been reporting their award winners and nominees. The entire list of precursors that have been announced so far can be found here and the precursor chart has been updated. The link can be found in the above menu under Oscars >> Precursor Awards.
Based on what we have learned from the precursor awards so far, here are 7 things that have been either newly discovered or cemented.
1. Aaron Sorkin has no competition for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Many critics groups do not differentiate between Adapted and Original Screenplay so while their award may not go to The Social Network, it does not go to somebody who is Aaron Sorkin’s competition. This is the only major category this year where there has been an absolute sweep with The Social Network receiving 22 awards so far and no other film receiving a single one. Aaron Sorkin should have his Oscar speech written by now. And I’m very much looking forward to hearing it.
2. Annette Bening may not be Natalie Portman’s threat for Best Actress.
Leading up to precursor season, and even several weeks into it, the general knowledge has been that the Best Actress race comes down to Black Swan‘s Natalie Portman and The Kids Are All Right‘s Annette Bening. However, Bening has only received one award so far during the entire precursor season while Jennifer Lawrence from Winter’s Bone has received four. Portman may be dominating with 15 precursor wins, a lot of groups have been awarding both actresses by presenting Lawrence their Best Breakthrough or Best Newcomer Award. Oscar does not have the opportunity to double dip and their may be a growing amount of support for Winter’s Bone.
3. Christian Bale is experiencing Christoph Waltz-like domination.
Last year Christoph Waltz was very close to sweeping the Critics awards with almost unanimous wins during precursor season. This year Christian Bale appears to be heading down a similar path with 18 wins already in the precursor race and nominations for Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Broadcast Film Critics Awards. The category that had been criticized all year as weak has found its frontrunner and he has a strong probability to carry it to the end.
4. It’s a three horse race for Best Supporting Actress.
There are three supporting actresses who have been racking up the most precursor awards this year and none of them are Helena Bonham Carter who was thought to be a frontrunner for most of the season. The Fighter‘s Melissa Leo is currently leading with 8 wins, True Grit‘s Hailee Steinfeld is right behind with 6 wins, and Animal Kingdom‘s Jacki Weaver has 5 wins. Leo is the only one of the three who has received nominations from the Golden Globes, SAGs, and BFCAs while Steinfeld and Weaver have each missed out with one of the three groups. That doesn’t mean the Oscar is Leo’s, however, as this category has been known to change direction several times leading right up to the big night.
5. The Oscars need to add a Best Ensemble category.
This is such a worthy and fun category, it feels like it is only a matter of time before the Oscars add it. A lot of Critics groups and other awards bodies already have it and it’s a great way to nominate films that might not fit into any of the acting categories, but have an overall strong ensemble.
6. John Hawkes is more than likely going to get a Supporting Actor nomination.
At the beginning of the season, John Hawkes of Winter’s Bone dominated the independent film awards, which was not a surprise, but not enough to get him to be taken seriously as an Oscar nominee. However, he recently was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award and has won two prizes from major critics groups. The argument could be made that he missed at the Globes and the BFCAs, so he is not a strong contender, but the Screen Actors are the only group that have any overlap with the Oscars and the other groups tend to ignore stars that aren’t well-established.
7. The 4th and 5th spots in the Best Actor race are still up in the air.
It is pretty clear that Colin Firth of The King’s Speech, Jessie Eisenberg of The Social Network, and James Franco of 127 Hours will be getting Oscar nominations as all three have had the most wins from Critics groups and received Golden Globe, SAG, and BFCA nominations. However, the 4th and 5th spot are still rather up in the air at this point and the argument could be made that it is between 4 actors. Jeff Bridges of True Grit and Robert Duvall of Get Low hav received SAG and BFCA nominations, but have not won any significant early awards. Mark Wahlberg of The Fighter and Ryan Gosling of Blue Valentine were nominated for the Golden Globe, but neither have had much success with critics groups. Right now the 4th and 5th spot could be filled with any of those four actors.
Stay tuned as the Oscar predictions get updated over the next several days. What are your thoughts on the precursor race?