Final Oscar Predictions
January 15, 2009
Well, like the title says, here our final predictions for best picture, post BAFTA, Globes, Editors, and Writers. So far, the more things change, the more things stay the same. While Awards Daily and the LA Times wonder what the BAFTA snub portends for The Dark Knight, we’re inclined to say: nothing. Remember, BAFTA nominated American Gangster last year, and The Last King of Scotland the year before that. They are hardly infallible. Also, the LA Times specifically mentions Atonement as a movie snubbed by the guilds before rebounding, but Atonement won the Golden Globe for Drama last year, something The Reader definitely did not do.
The big movers of these last few weeks were The Reader, because of its BAFTA nom, and Vicky Christina Barcelona, which won the Golden Globe for Best Picture-Comedy and received WGA and ACE noms.
1. Slumdog, 7.89
2. Benjamin Button, 5.55
3. Milk, 5.241
4. Frost/Nixon, 5.09
5. The Dark Knight, 3.655
6. Wall-E, 2.433
7. The Reader, 1.69
8. Vicky Christina Barcelona, 1.52
9. The Wrestler, 1.19
10. Revolutionary Road, 1.009
There’s a big gap between The Dark Knight and Wall-E, with The Reader and Vicky further behind. Now, the fun of this is that something in the top 5 usually drops: Dreamgirls two years ago, and Into the Wild last year. It’s a lot easier to figure out why Into the Wild wasn’t nominated (Atonement leapfrogged it, and Juno slid in as the comedy film) than it is Dreamgirls, which had every indicator in its favor, including noms from the three major guilds (SAG, PGA, DGA). Critical support wasn’t really there (76 on Metacritic), but it wasn’t historically low either.
So, there are two big questions: will a movie fall out of the top 5, and which movie will it be? Really, why does everyone think it has to be The Dark Knight? Comic book stigma. And lingering suspicions of action movies being “the best.” Those are really the only things holding it back, as I see it.
But will Wall-E jump over it? I’m selling. It didn’t benefit from guild nominations. Not getting a WGA nom is a big negative in my book as this would seem to be a place where an animated film could make its mark.
The Reader? No guild love at all, and no word of mouth. Rather overshadowed by the extended musings on Holocaust films this year (see our own musings, coming soon). We’ve spent so much time discussing the genre that the films themselves are getting little attention. Defiance may be an exception. Coming out in mid-January and being so radically other to the “typical” holocaust story is aiding its chances.
Vicky Christina Barcelona? I’m actually not willing to turn this one aside. There aren’t any comedies in the top-5 (unless you count either the passably funny Frost/Nixon or The Dark Knight, whose Joker revels in the comic strategy of inversions), leaving a gap. Plus, people love Woody Allen (right?). It’s such an extreme under the radar choice that, why not? There is such a thing as momentum in Oscar campaigns, and this could be peaking at the right time.
But, for what it’s worth, I’m betting the top-5–even if part of me thinks that Frost/Nixon might have much less support than it appears.