Continuing what we started in this space last year, we'll devote some time and energy to compiling the best of the Oscar guessperts for the Big Eight categories from now til the ceremony in February...(Helfrich's..we'd love to be there!)...and we'll highlight the films getting the Oscar buzz that showed at the Telluride Film Festival. So lets' get started!
The Early Line on Best Picture...(note, the Academy goes to 10 nominees this year...uh...OK...)
Leaders: (with Telluride films in CAPS AND BOLD):
Invictus (Eastwood directs Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela with Matt Damon...http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1057500/),
Nine (Daniel Day-Lewis and women...many, many women in Rob Marshall's film version of the stage musical based on Fellini's "8 1/2" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0875034/).
Precious (Lee Daniels directs this Sundance favorite...http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0929632/).
The Lovely Bones (Peter Jackson directs the adaptation of the novel http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0380510/)
AN EDUCATION (Lone Scherfig directs Carey Mulligan, Peter Saarsgard and Alfred Molina in this coming of age story set in the 60's in England...a lot of buzz from Telluride! and it was a hit at Sundance too! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1174732/ ).
The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow's consensus critical darling from earlier this summer http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0887912/).
Up (can Pixar get a Best Pic nom for this animated film? The expansion to ten slots makes it more likely...and it's a good movie too! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1049413/)
UP IN THE AIR (Jason Reitman's follow-up to Juno getting great traction from both Telluride and Toronto...Clooney also looking good for a nomination...see later http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1193138/).
Amelia (Hilary Swank as Amelia Earhart...thought this would be in Telluride, I was wrong. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1129445/).
THE ROAD ( John Hillcoat directs Viggo Mortensen in a post apocalyptic America created by Cormac McCarthy http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0898367/).
Also in play: Avatar (James Cameron), A Serious Man (the Coen Brothers), BRIGHT STAR (Jane Campion), Capitalism: A Love Story (Michael Moore), and Public Enemies (Michael Mann...really???)
Comment: As hot as "Up in the Air" has been at both Telluride and Toronto, look for significant upward movement for all involved by the next post.
Director: In the lead: Clint Eastwood-Invictus, Rob Marshall-Nine, Lee Daniels-Precious, Peter Jackson-The Lovely Bones, And Kathryn Bigelow-The Hurt Locker. Lurking: LONE SCHERFIG-AN EDUCATION, Mira Nair-Amelia, Terrence Malick-The Tree of Life (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478304/), James Cameron-Avatar, and JANE CAMPION-BRIGHT STAR. (no Reitman???)
Actor: Morgan Freeman-Invictus, GEORGE CLOONEY-UP IN THE AIR, Daniel Day-Lewis-Nine, VIGGO MORTENSEN-THE ROAD (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1130080/), and Matt Damon-The Informant. Lurkers: Johnny Depp-Public Enemies (again...really???), Jeremy Renner-The Hurt Locker, Sean Penn-The Tree of Life, BEN WHISHAW-BRIGHT STAR, Michael Stuhlbarg-A Serious Man.
Actress: Meryl Streep-Julie and Julia (she's really good! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1135503/), CAREY MULLIGAN-AN EDUCATION, Saroise Ronan-The Lovely Bones, Hilary Swank-Amelia, and ABBIE CORNISH-BRIGHT STAR (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0810784/). LurkeeLoos: Gabby Sidibe-Precious, AUDREY TAUTOU-COCO BEFORE CHANEL , Michelle Pfeiffer-Cheri, Michelle Monaghan-Trucker, Penelope Cruz-Broken Embraces.
Supporting Actor: Matt Damon-Invictus ( a double nom?), ALFRED MOLINA-AN EDUCATION, Christoph Waltz-Inglourious Basterds (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0361748/) Stanley Tucci-The Lovely Bones, and Richard Kind-A Serious Man (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1019452/). On the cusp: Richard Gere-Amelia, KODI SMIT-MC PHEE-THE ROAD, Jeff Bridges-The Men Who Stare at Goats, PAUL SCHNEIDER-BRIGHT STAR, PETER SAARSGARD-AN EDUCATION (ought to be in the lead category).
Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique-Precious, Penelope Cruz-Nine, Judi Dench-Nine, Marion Cotillard-Nine, Susan Sarandon- The Lovely Bones. Also close: ANNA KENDRICK-UP IN THE AIR, Rachel Weisz-The Lovely Bones, Jessica Chastain-The Tree of Life, Sigourney Weaver-Avatar, and VERA FARMIGA-UP IN THE AIR.
Comment: Is it possible that this category could end up with all five nominees from "Nine"? or Mo'Nique plus 4 from "Nine"?
Adapted Screenplay: Kerrine Jenkins-Precious, NICK HORNBY-AN EDUCATION, Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens and Peter Jackson-The Lovely Bones, Anthony Peckham-Invictus, and JOE PENHALL-THE ROAD. Mentions: Michael Tolkin and Anthony Minghella-Nine, JASON REITMAN AND SHELDON TURNER-UP IN THE AIR, James Schamus-Taking Woodstock, Scott Z. Burns-The Informant!
Original Screenplay: Pete Docter and Bob Peterson, JANE CAMPION-BRIGHT STAR, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber-500 Days of Summer (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1022603/), Mark Boal-The Hurt Locker, and Joel Coen and Ethan Coen-A Serious Man. Other mentions: Terrence Malick-The Tree of Life, Ron Bass and Anna Hamilton Phelan, and Tony Gilroy-Duplicity (really???)
Other notes: Most "noms" on the first chart...6 for "Nine" and "The Lovely Bones". "Nine"also leads in the nom/lurk category with 8.
Five Telluride films seem to have at least some heat now: An Education, Up in the Air, The Road, Bright Star and Coco Before Chanel with a combined total of 11 "nominations" predicted in the big eight categories and another 11 "possibles". An Education leads with 4 noms and 2 possibles followed by Up in the Air with 2 and 3, The Road with 3 and 1, Bright Star with 2 and 4 and Coco with 1 possible.
Overall..as noted Nine and The Lovely Bones are out front with significant expectations for Invictus with 5 noms, Precious with 4 and 1, The Hurt Locker with 3 and 1, Amelia with 2 and 3 and A Serious Man with 2 and 2. We'll see what happens when the studios whose strategy has been to hold off from the festival circuit release Nine, Invictus, and The Lovely Bones...
And, of course, there are always the tech awards that will add to nomination totals and the foreign films Telluride films that could make some noise in this category include: A Prophet, Vincere, and Samson and Delilah.
Back in 2-3 weeks with an update!