Tracking the Oscars: Best Picture

The Oscar nominations will be announced February 2, 2010, which gives us just over a month to make our final predictions. By now every major contender has received a theatrical release. Reviews are in, precursors are being handed out, and the Oscar speculation is about to peak.

The Oscar predictions for Best Picture have been updated with a shuffling of the ten best picture probables plus one new addition. More on that later.

The big Oscar news over the weekend is that the film Nine continues to drastically lose steam. Rob Marshall’s film, which was once speculated to be a Best Picture frontrunner, is now struggling to keep its head above water in this years’ Awards race. First of all, the reviews are leaning strongly towards the negative with a score of 48 on Metacritic and a dismal 39% on Rotten Tomatoes. Add to that the fact that the film has received very little attention from precursor awards bodies. It has been ignored by every critics group and only the BFCA and the Golden Globes have given it nominations, largely to fill in their thin “Musical/Comedy” categories. On top of all that, in a record breaking Box Office weekend, Nine barely managed to crack the top 10 in its first week in wide release.

Even the ladies of Nine, the legion of supporting actresses, which was once considered unstoppable have missed out this awards season. Critics don’t like it, precursors don’t remember it, and audiences would rather see something else – so can Nine still get nominated for Best Picture? The most recent Gurus of Gold chart at Movie City News has it ranked at the number 9 spot, but that was before this weekend’s box office flop. In my predictions – Nine is out.

So which film takes its place?

J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek is my out on a limb prediction for the 10th spot in the Best Picture list. Star Trek has been lingering at the 11th spot on my charts for a while now and I think it will have what it takes to make the cut. It was loved by critics and remains one of the best reviewed films of the year (I gave it a B+). Audiences raved about it, making it one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters. It also has a stellar cast of new faces and Hollywood legends.

None of those reasons are why I chose it, however. The reason I believe Star Trek will sneak in to the 10th spot is because it represents the type of film that the Academy intended to include when it expanded the nominees to ten. Last year after The Dark Knight missed out at Best Picture many speculated that it was the reason for the Oscar telecast being one of the least watched in a decade. Star Trek scoring a nomination would find a new demographic of Oscar watchers, which would help the Academy’s declining popularity. Let’s be honest – Star Trek deserves a nomination.

As for the rest of the Best Picture contenders, the list is much the same. The Hurt Locker takes over the number one spot from Up in the Air based on the precursors, but that has plenty of time to change. Avatar sneaks up into the third spot and on the Best Director side of the race, James Cameron edges closer to his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow.

What do you think of the race?

View the Charts
Best Picture
Best Director

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  • Mac Wilson

    I know that the Best Picture field was expanded to 10 in part to give more mainstream films a recognition that they may not have gotten otherwise. Film historians (such as yourself) will look at WALL-E and The Dark Knight as the two films that probably single-handedly led to the expansion. With that said, I don’t think Star Trek has a shot at a Best Picture nomination. If it made the cut, it would be an immense paradigm shift. Then again, The Fugitive got a Best Picture nomination 16 years ago….

  • Brandon Cooley

    The Fugitive was worthy of a nomination, but Star Trek isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, Star Trek is a good movie, but it’s just another action movie and doesn’t show anything new like how Avatar or The Dark Knight did.

  • Jose

    Now that Nine is gone, how about some love to District 9, or A single Man?

  • Jose

    I’m listing two movies becuase I think that “A Serious Man” is also losing steam. So is “Invictus”, so let’s replace that with (500) Days of Summer.

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