- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (previously #9)I’ve just finished the novel and I must say the rumors are true : this could be EASILY the one to beat. The Academy has just proven last year that they still go with their heart every now and then. Daldry's year ?
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (previously #1)The genre isn’t exactly the Academy’s cup of tea…bu then again, neither was The Departed or No Country for Old Men…and Fincher’s recent high-profile snub might help this remake in the long run.
- War Horse (previously #3)This is by far THE most obvious best picture-pick considering the remarkably Oscary-formula : Spielberg directing a war film about a boy and his non-human best friend ? It’s like Saving Private E.T…
- The Descendants (previously #11)After stunning early word from Telluride and Toronto, the film is basically a lock for the nomination at this point but , could it go all the way ? That’s a different story, especially because this seems to be a quiet film, especially compared to the high-profile/high-concept/artsy etc. other contenders. It might not be „obvious” enough.
- The Artist (previously #26)…and while focusing on all the Spielbergs, Finchers and Daldrys, there is a good chance that The Artist will pull off a sweep…especially with the Weinsteins in their corner.
- Midnight in Paris (previously #8)Woddy Allen’s latest won’t win best picture despite being his best film in years and highest grossing to date (if we ignore tiny factors like inflation etc.) BUT at this point, it’s hard to imagine Oscar’s best picture category without ’Paris’. It will probably get a nomination…without a hitch.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (previously #10)Although writing-directing nominations will be probably hard to get, a „thank you for making a lot of us rich” kind of best picture nomination could/should happen. It IS one of the best-reviewed film of the year after all, so it’s not like it only has the Box Office.
- Moneyball (previously #18)The surprisingly stunning reviews might make the film’s case for a bp-nomination (maybe even bd) easy, but a win seems like a long shot…for now. If the unseen potential frontrunners fail to live up to the expectations, then it could have a better shot.
- The Tree of Life (previously #2)Not quite ready to give up on this one just yet despite the average Box Office and remarkably early release date. Good news, that the new rule (5% No1 votes) favors exactly this kind of film/director.
- J.Edgar (previously #4)
- The Help (previously #33)The critics liked it but didn’t love it…the audience on the other hand…LOVED it. It’s impossible NOT to consider this film with Box Office like that BUT the Academy might be done with the „feelgoodfactor” after voting for the „Loud-Artist-Horse-Paris-Moneyball” quintet.
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (previously #31)Early word is great, I guess I just have to see whether US-critics will be really THAT much in love with this film in the end. We’ll have an answer in a few short weeks…
- Coriolanus (previously #28)If the Academy wants a stunning prestige pic in their best picture category, Coriolanus will sudennly look VERY good for them.
- Young Adult (previously #16)Jason Reitman’s last two films received picture, director, screenplay, lead acting nominations…could Young Adult continue the tradition OR will it break Reitman’s winning streak ?
- We bought a Zoo (previously #22)Hopefully Cameron Crowe is FINALLY back and he is back with a bang…hopefully.
- 50 / 50 (previously #39)Early word is great, the problem is even if it is critically acclaimed, comedies rarely make the cut in the best picture category but even if one does this year, it will be Midnight in Paris.
- Take Shelter (previously #37)I am seeing this one in a few weeks, I can't wait, but as far as the Oscars go, it will be probably to small to register.
- Shame (previously #41)Now this is a tricky one. Several influential critics called this THE best film of 2011 (so far) and there is a good chance that critics groups will go for it in a big way BUT despite all that, the Academy could still ignore it completely, it might be too graphic for them.
- We need to talk about Kevin (previously #19)Although people who've seen it loved the film, I think it will be „a Rabbit Hole” : critically acclaimed arthouse fare that only gets a nomination for its female lead.
- Hugo Cabret (previously #5)It is still Scorsese, still a remarkably Academy friendly release date etc...I can't explain, for some reason I just don't see it anymore. I guess that mediocre trailer didn't help...
- A Dangerous Method (previously #7)According to early word, the film is rather divisive...I consider that a great thing, truly great cinema SHOULD be divisive. The question is will the Academy agree ? For what it's worth, the performances have been praised and Cronenberg is one of the best directors today, one who has been long overdue for some Oscar-love...
The Ides of March (previously #17)Apparently it IS a good film, just not necessarily a great one. Happens. No biggie.
Carnage (previously #6)Ditto.
- Contagion (previously #24)Ditto.
- Super 8 (previously #29)Ditto.
- The Iron Lady (previously #12)I've always had concerns considering the director but the fact that it mysteriously skipped Venice, Toronto, Telluride and London, doesn't exactly scream confidence... „look, we have such a great film that we don't even want to show it to anyone”...
- Drive (previously #30)Genre-film. Excellent one at that, but it is probably not for the Academy.
- Bridesmaids (previously #42)Ditto...although the crazy Box Office definitely helps. Maybe a script-nod Borat-style?
- Jane Eyre (previously #20)I still believe it could make a comeback BUT it needs the support of Focus. Will they realize that Jane Eyre is probably their most Oscary, best-reviewed film this year ? I hope so. The fact that the other Bronte-adaptation is out of this year's race, also helps.
- Win Win (previously #32)Way too early,it probably has to settle with the Indie Spirit Awards. Too bad, it was a wonderful little film.
- Beginners (previously #13)Ditto...although Plummer is considered seriously and the script could surprise, as well.
- Melancholia (previously #36)It might be too divisive and artsy for the Academy's taste. Maybe Kirsten Dunst can pull off a semi-surprise ? We'll see...
- Martha Marcy May Marlene (new entry)It seems to be all about Olsen...
- My Week with Marilyn (previously #14)Early word suggests it features a few excellent performances, but the film itself isn't outstanding.
- The Rum Diary (previously #25)Big question mark for me...all those delays don't bode well BUT it is Johnny Depp, the same guy who got nominations for playing a Disney Pirate and Serial Killer Barber. Bottom line : the Academy loves him.
- The Adventures of Tintin (new entry)Even Spielberg might have a hard time getting three films into the best picture category. His best bet is obviously War Horse, Tintin could be a strong animated feature-player and the one that will be probably forgotten, is Super 8.
- Rise of the Planet of the Apes (new entry)For me, this was THE biggest surprise this season, for some reason I was so convinced it will be trash, I didn't even watch the trailer...and I watch ALL trailers. Having said that, the genre and the early release date don't exactly scream Oscar, so it will be probably „just” a remarkably succesful franchise-reboot.
- Cave of Forgotten Dreams (new entry)Considering it will be probably the frontrunner in the documentary-category, the Academy might not consider it seriously for the big one.
- In Time (previously #47)Could be perfectly mediocre or worse...but the high-concept might just work enough to convince the critics...
- Crazy Stupid Love (new entry)Excellent romantic comedy with great performances and a wonderful – though far from perfect – screenplay. Having said that, it IS a romantic comedy and those are rarely considered seriously for Oscars.
- Dolphin Tale (new entry)Box Office looks good, IF it makes over 100M in the US, then it might climb higher on the list, especially because critics liked it, as well... actually, they liked it more than The Help or The Blind Side...just saying.
- Source Code (new entry)Just like Drive, it is an excellent genre film, one the Academy would probably NEVER go for.
- Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (new entry)It sounds like a charmer, but could it be ALREADY too late for the game ?
- Peace, Love and Misunderstanding (new entry)Ditto.
- Butter (new entry)Ditto.
- Hysteria (new entry)Ditto.
- In the Land of Blood and Honey (new entry)I must say I'm fascinated with this project. Could she do it ? Could she actually pull it off ?
- Take this Waltz (new entry)Sarah Polley became one of the best young directors in the biz, so that's definitely a plus, add the excellent actors, and we might just have a surprise contender in the end.
- The Wettest County in the World (new entry)Now I've heard SEVERAL different whispers that it will be platformed for the Oscar Season...if that happens, then it will be DEFINITELY a contender. I'm not saying it will be a strong one, but definitely worth considering.
- The Eye of the Storm (previously #43)Might be all about the three performances...
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Descendants, The Artist, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, Moneyball, The Help, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Shame
One Day – Unfortunately critics hated it.
The Skin I Live In – It could be a strong contender in the foreign language film category.
Like Crazy – If Blue Valentine didn't make it with the raves and the Weinsteins, this one doesn't stand a chance in my opinion.
Meek's Cutoff – Too little, too early...
This must be the place – Sean Penn might have a shot but the film definitely doesn't.
Albert Nobbs – Close and McTeer are still expected to be strong contenders, but the film isn't great according to early word.
Larry Crowne – Critics hated it...the audience just simply didn't care...
Violet and Daisy – It seems that Geoffrey Fletcher couldn't break the curse of the recent Oscar-winning screenwriters-turned-directors.
Machine Gun Preacher – I hoped Marc Forster could deliver a great film...unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case.
W.E. - Madonna might have directed a stylish film, but...hmm...no, that's it.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel