It's been so long since my most recent Oscar post (and I'm sure nobody out there that still reads this silly little blog is at all surprised by that) that so much has changed. So much, in fact, that it's time for an updated discussion on the big six categories. It's proving to be an exciting year, it seems (though I won't get my hopes up, as that always seems to be the case this early in the game, before one or two biggies begin to capture all the glory at the precursors), and perhaps the most exciting categories are the weakest ones. The categories with the most unclear frontrunners seem to be the female acting ones, which makes for an interesting discussion, particularly when early-year releases can now jump at that shaky Best Actress category - ladies, this is your year!
BEST PICTURE: The top category of the bunch seems to boiling down to about 30 films at play, in my eyes. Sure, there are some that are stretches, but you have to account for at least a few potential spoilers in the mix. The frontrunners thus far appear to be Argo and Silver-Linings Playbook, two movies I most certainly didn't expect to see at the top of the list earlier in the year. Yet, here we are. The obvious big-ticket choices seem to be Lincoln and Les Miserables, two that could easily falter upon release - and the trailers have prognosticators worried. I'm not sold the big-budget musical will have a shot beyond a couple tech categories, but we'll see. Then there's The Master, which appears to have settled into a nomination slot despite its semi-obscure themes. It'll certainly avoid the win, but it's got a nomination all locked up here. Beyond those five, it's anyone's game at this point. Many seem to be jumping on the studio-backing bandwagon with Flight, though it remains to be seen if it can pull of a Blind Side-type crowd pleaser victory. The early releases should still be kept in the conversation, particularly in a seemingly weak year, so Moonrise Kingdom, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Beasts of the Southern Wild are still contenders for the top 5-10 spots. And while we're at it, we might as well contend with the summer blockbusters, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, and Brave - all of which have been a part of the discussion at some point. But something tells me some spoilers could occur - I mean, Looper has gotten incredible reviews, and things are looking positive campaign-wise for Arbitrage. And flashy end-of-year epics The Impossible, Cloud Atlas, Anna Karenina and The Hobbit are options here. Plus there's big talk behind Skyfall's proponents. All in all, this is where I stand, prediction-wise: Surefire Nominees: Argo and Silver-Linings Playbook Tentative Shoo-Ins: Lincoln and Les Miserables Nearly There: The Master and Moonrise Kingdom Gaining Traction: The Impossible and Life of Pi If There are Nine: Hitchcock