Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar 83 Post-Mortem/The Oscar Clearinghouse

Move along, there's nothing to see here.

It was the Oscar Night of no surprises. The biggest "surprise," if you could call it that, was the Inception/Wally Pfister win for Cinematography over Roger Deakins for True Grit. And even that wasn't much of a stunner as Pfister had won the Guild award from cinematographers a few days ago. Otherwise, it was according to expectations.

The Clearinghouse was 17 of 21 in the non-Short subject categories. In the three categories where I personally differed from the Clearinghouse numbers, I was 1 of 3 (The OC got Costume and Supporting Actress right, I missed those. I got Tom Hooper's Directing Oscar right, The OC said it would be David Fincher). So, personally, I was 16 of 21...17 of 24 when you throw in the Short Subject categories.

Overall, both The OC analysis and I improved over last year's 14 of 24 so maybe we're getting better.

End of the night numbers:

The King's Speech-4


The Social Network-3

Alice in Wonderland-2

The Fighter-2

Toy Story 3-2

One each for Black Swan, Inside Job, In a Better World, & The Wolfman.

7 Oscars from Telluride #37 films (TKS-4, Black Swan-1, Inside Job-1, God of Love-1)

The King's Speech wave did not really materialize, but The Social Network didn't/couldn't take advantage of that (except, perhaps in the Best Score Category). The biggest beneficiaries were Alice in Wonderland and Inception.

And...James Franco...No, Anne Hathaway...Yes.

Later this week on MTFB/The Oscar interviews with Academy voters and industry insiders. Check back in!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

And Finally, It's Oscar Time

Labor Day weekend 2010 in the San Juans of southwest Colorado seems like a long, long time ago. Since our incredible experience at the 37th Telluride Film Festival, Michael's Telluride Film Blog/The Oscar Clearinghouse has been tracking the possible outcomes for tonight's Oscar presentation and now it's time for the final pre-Oscar run-down of what we expect to happen after crunching numbers from Movie City News' The Guru's of Gold,, Scott Feinberg, Awards Daily, Awards Circuit, The Gold Derby.Com and Dave Karger at Entertainment Weekly. In all 24 categories (with TFF #37 in CAPS AND BOLD). And the Oscar will go to:

(Absolutely no real number crunching on these first three categories, so based on a limited range of "expert" opinion)

Short Doc: Killing in the Name

Short Animated: Madagascar: A Journey Diary

Short Live Action: GOD OF LOVE

Sound Mixing: The OC says: Inception...

Sound Editing: The OC says: Inception...

Visual Effects: The OC says: Inception...

Makeup: The OC says: The Wolfman...

And I have to agree.

Original Score: The OC says: Alexandre Desplat, THE KING'S SPEECH...

Original Song: The OC says: Randy Newman, "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3...

Again, I agree that this is what will happen, but, you could see The OC wrong in both of these categories pretty easily. In Score, there is still significant feeling for The Social Network and Inception. And in the Best Song category, you can find supporters in the Oscar prediction community for any of the four nominated songs.

Foreign Film: The OC says: In a Better World/Denmark

And I will agree...but it is a tiny, tiny favorite with INCENDIES/Canada and BIUTIFUL/Mexico very, very close.

Documentary: The OC says: INSIDE JOB...

Again, I'm buying this, but it's also a really tight category. Serious heat exists for the art doc Exit Through the Gift Shop (and the attendant curiosity as to what Banksy might try in accepting...or declining...or both? Undoubtedly it would be entertaining)...and just as it is for Best Song, each of the five nominees has some serious Oscar prognosticators on its side.

Animated Film: The OC (and everyone on the planet that tries to divine this stuff) says: Toy Story 3...


Costume: The OC says: Alice in Wonderland...

THE KING'S SPEECH is a close second in our analysis, and it's my actual first divergence from The OC.

Art Direction: The OC says:THE KING'S SPEECH...

Yes. But watch out for Alice or Inception...they also have a lot of support here.

Film Editing: The OC says: The Social Network...

I'm going to agree, but you can make a good case for any of the other four nominees and if it turns into a TKS Sweep...who knows?

Cinematography: The OC says: Roger Deakins/True Grit...

Again...yes. Deakins should finally win an Oscar for his great camera work. And it was impressive in True Grit. Possible spoiler would be Wally Pfister for Inception.


Adapted Screenplay: The OC says: Aaron Sorkin/The Social Network...

Not much doubt here.

Original Screenplay: The OC says: David Seidler/THE KING'S SPEECH...

Close to a lock

Supporting Actor: The OC says: Christian Bale/The Fighter...

Again, close to a lock...except if TKS is in sweep mode, which could force Geoffrey Rush into an acceptance speech.

Supporting Actress: The OC says: Melissa Leo/The Fighter...

The predictors have come back around to Leo after a brief stretch were she was perceived as having lost some momentum. But Leo has bounced back in the last ten days in the estimation of most Oscar pundits. Still, I'm going to buck The Clearinghouse. I'm going with Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit. And, as you might expect, here's the added caveat that Helena Bonham Carter could surprise here if the TKS sweep is more of a tsunami.

Actress: The OC says: Natalie Portman/BLACK SWAN...

Yes. And she should win it too. There's still some Oscar picker love for Annette Bening, but I don't think that it's going to happen for her tonight.

Actor: The OC says: Colin Firth/THE KING'S SPEECH.

Ummm...if Firth doesn't win, then the Academy needs to start looking for new accountants for the Oscars...because he only loses if they count it wrong or bribery is involved.

Director: Maybe this has become the hottest race of the night. Big support for a Best Picture/Best Director split in the Oscar pundit club. Also significant support for the notion that if a film is the Best Picture, then it's Director has to have been the best as well...and most years that is the path that Oscar follows.

The OC says: David Fincher/The Social Network...

I say: Tom Hooper/THE KING'S SPEECH


And I agree.

If the OC is right:


The Social Network-3


The Fighter-2

Toy Story 3-2

One each for: BLACK SWAN, INSIDE JOB, True Grit, The Wolfman, Alice in Wonderland, and In a Better World.

TFF #37 total: 7 (maybe up to 2 more depending on the outcome in Short Film categories)

If I'm right:



True Grit-2

Toy Story 3-2

The Social Network-2

One each for: BLACK SWAN, INSIDE JOB, The Fighter, The Wolfman, In a Better World

TFF #37 total: 9 (and again, maybe a couple more in Short Films).

Comments anyone?

I'll be tweeting during the Oscar cast tonight if anyone is interested set your Twitter search for @Gort2 and follow me.

MTFB/The OC will have preliminary reaction tomorrow and more in depth response from my actual industry source types and Academy members Tuesday or Wednesday.

So, now, we wait.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tff #37/The Oscar Clearinghouse and The People That Vote

I had the relatively surreal experience of getting to correspond/converse with voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) yesterday. Both of my “interviewees” were very gracious with their time and I, again, want to thank them for taking the time to answer a novice blogger's questions about The Oscars.

Of course we didn’t get into specifics. As one of my sources reminded me yesterday, the Academy requests confidentiality. But we did talk some generalities that I found (and you might find) interesting.

Both of my interviewees bring a good deal of experience to the table as they each have been AMPAS members for more than 20 years. Neither of them are members of the acting branch (which is the largest branch of the Academy). One of them sent their ballot in early this month while the other sent a ballot in Saturday.

Interviewee #1 indicated that s/he was hopeful that at least some of the choices s/he made would be winners on Sunday night and did express some hope that “The King’s Speech” would win Best Picture.

I also asked Interviewee #1 what it was like to be voting for the biggest prize in the profession and in categories that often include people that are known personally to the voter. The response: “It’s a tough business, but one has to be impartial.”

Interviewee #2 told me that s/he was inundated prior to nomination time with screeners. I have always been fascinated by the studio process of sending those DVDs out to voters. Interviewee #2 told me that s/he had been sent 50+ screeners in the Oscar process. Interviewee #2 also had an interesting theory about the success of “Winter’s Bone” and its multiple nominations. S/he told me that “Winter’s Bone” had been the first screener to hit and that that jump seemed to always yield positive results. The theory is that being the first pays off with nominations.

Interestingly, Interviewee #1 disagreed. The contention was that the early screeners get buried by the sheer number of DVD’s that are sent out. #1 pointed out that Peter Weir’s “The Way Back” deliberately pursued a last second screener strategy so it would be the last thing voters saw.

I asked both interviewees about anything that they might have been disappointed about once the nominations came out. One said that they weren’t thrilled with the 4 Best Song nominations. The other said that they were disappointed that Lesley Manville hadn’t been nominated for Mike Leigh’s “Another Year.”

Ultimately, I was very grateful that both of these professionals took time out to answer some questions from an Oscar Blogging babe in the woods. The upshot, I will be talking to both of them again next week as a part of the post-Oscar parsing of the results. So, I’m looking forward to that.

Coming on Sunday morning…the final look at The Oscar Clearinghouse prior to Sunday night’s presentation.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Coming Soon...and Costumes

The Costume Designer's Guild awarded their trophies last night. Telluride films did well. "The King's Speech" and "Black Swan" were both winners. Here is the link to that story from The Hollywood Reporter.

'King's Speech,' 'Black Swan,' 'Glee' Among Costume Designers Guild Award Winners

Coming tomorrow: a surprise from The Oscar interview with a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Oscar Clearinghouse/Telluride Film #37 and Tech/Doc/Foreign Oscars

Ten days...

Here is the latest compilation of the smartest of the smart when it comes to Oscar prediction for the 13 categories outside the Big 8 (we haven't included the Short Film nominees...not enough experts weighing in to get an objective conclusion). Data was gathered from, Awards Daily, Scott Feinberg and the Gurus of Gold from Movie City News.

Telluride #37 films in CAPS AND BOLD.

Film Editing: 1) The Social Network, 2) THE KING'S SPEECH, 3) The Fighter, 4) THE BLACK SWAN, 5) 127 HOURS.
Comment: A relatively close race between the top two. Although, you can make a pretty good case for any of the 5.

Cinematography: 1) True Grit, 2) Inception, 3) THE KING'S SPEECH, 4) BLACK SWAN, 5) The Social Network.
Comment: Roger Deakins was thought to be a shoo-in to get his first Oscar for "True Grit" and he's still a pretty solid favorite. But Wally Pfister's ASC win for "Inception" last weekend has made this a tighter race than expected.

Art Direction: 1) THE KING'S SPEECH, 2) Alice in Wonderland, 3) Inception, 4) True Grit, 5) Harry Potter/Deathly Hallows.
Comment: A pretty close race between King's and Alice. And Inception winning wouldn't be a shocker either.

Foreign Film: 1) INCENDIES/CANADA, 2) In a Better World/Denmark, 3) BIUTIFUL/MEXICO, 4) Outside the Law/Algeria, 5) Dogtooth/Greece.
Comment: A volatile category that any of the top three contenders could win.

Animated Film: 1) Toy Story 3, 2) How to Train a Dragon, 3) THE ILLUSIONIST.
Comment: TS3 has had this locked up for months.

Documentary: 1) INSIDE JOB, 2) Exit Through the Gift Shop, 3) Restrepo, 4) Waste Land, 5) Gasland.
Comment: This seems to be a two horse race between the top two.

Costume: 1) Alice in Wonderland, 2) THE KING'S SPEECH, 3) True Grit, 4) I Am Love, 5) The Tempest.
Comment: This category mirrors Art Direction...Alice or TKS...

Score: 1) (TIE) THE KING'S SPEECH and The Social Network, 3) Inception, 4) 127 HOURS, 5) How to Train Your Dragon.
Comment: Very close between TKS and TSN and an Inception win here wouldn't surprise either.

Song 1) Toy Story 3, 2) Tangled, 3) 127 HOURS, 4) Country Strong.
Comment: TS3 is likely, but not a lock to win this. Actually, this might be the most tightly bunched category from top to bottom out of the 21 major categories.

Sound Editing: 1) Inception, 2) True Grit, 3) Toy Story 3, 4) Tron: Legacy, 5) Unstoppable.
Comment: Inception has this locked up.

Sound Mixing: 1) Inception, 2) The Social Network, 3) THE KING'S SPEECH, 4) True Grit, 5) Salt.
Comment: Again, Inception is the prohibitive favorite.

Visual Effects: 1) Inception, 2) Alice in Wonderland, 3) Harry Potter/Deathly Hallows, 4) Hereafter, 5) Iron Man 2
Comment: Inception in a walk.

Makeup: 1) The Wolfman, 2) THE WAY BACK, 3) Barney's Version.
Comment: Wolfman has a substantial edge here.

Sooooo, if the Clearinghouse is 100 % accurate (Ha!)...This is the what the Oscar winning
breakdown would be on Feb. 27th:

The King's Speech wins 5 or 6 depending on Score ( and could get a 7th for Costume).

Inception wins 3.

The Social Network wins 2 or 3 (also depending on Score and could steal a 3rd or 4th if Fincher snags the Directing prize).

The Fighter and Toy Story 3 win 2 apiece.

And one Oscar each for: True Grit, Incendies, Inside Job, Alice in Wonderland, The Wolfman, and Black Swan.

Categories that are fluid: Director, Supporting Actress, Art Direction, Costume, Film Editing, Score, Song, Documentary and Foreign Film.

More next week...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Oscar Clearinghouse/Telluride Film #37...11 Days

With only 11 days left until they open the envelopes in LA, here is the latest analysis for the Big 8 categories from The Clearinghouse. The data is from, Awards Daily, Dave Karger at entertainment Weekly, Movie City News' Gurus of Gold, Scott Feinberg and Awards Circuit.

Telluride Film #37 films in CAPS AND BOLD.

Best Picture: 1) THE KING'S SPEECH, 2) The Social Network, 3) The Fighter, 4) True Grit, 5) BLACK SWAN, 6) Inception, 7) Toy Story 3, 8) 127 HOURS, 9) The Kids Are All Right, 10) Winter's Bone.

Comment: King's is the solid favorite at this point. But there are still pockets of guessperts that are holding out for Social Network and an apparently aggressive campaign for The Fighter. Still, TKS looks like the winner.

Best Director: 1) TOM HOOPER/TKS, 2) David Fincher/TSN, 3) (tie) Joel & Ethan Coen/True Grit and David O. Russell/The Fighter, 5) DARREN ARONOFSKY/BLACK SWAN.

Comment: Despite Hooper's DGA win, the race between he and Fincher is regarded by the experts as essentially a toss-up. Fincher's BAFTA win earlier this week puts an exclamation point on it. In this most recent crunching of the numbers Hooper has a lead of a whisper-thin 1 point. Could we see a split with TKS winning Best Picture and Fincher winning Director? The numbers suggest that that could happen on Oscar night.

Best Actress: 1) NATALIE PORTMAN/BLACK SWAN, 2) Annette Bening/Kids Are All Right, 3) Jennifer Lawrence/Winter's Bone, 4) Nicole Kidman/Rabbit Hole, 5) Michelle Williams/Blue Valentine.

Comment: In a race that was considered close for most of this awards season, Portman has grabbed solid lead among the prognosticators. Bening is reportedly waged a really solid campaign since The Golden Globes but Portman is still seen as a clear front-runner.

Best Actor: 1) COLIN FIRTH/TKS, 2) JAMES FRANCO/127 HOURS, 3) Jesse Eisenberg/TSN, 4) Jeff Bridges/True Grit, 5) JAVIER BARDEM/BIUTIFUL.

Comment: This really is the "honor just to be nominated" category this year (and Supporting Actor is close to being he same way). No one is going to beat Firth.

Best Supporting Actress: 1) Melissa Leo/The Fighter, 2) Hailee Steinfeld/True Grit, 3) HELENA BONHAM CARTER/TKS, 4) Amy Adams/The Fighter, 5) Jacki Weaver/Animal Kingdom.

Comment: A category that looked all but done a few weeks ago has suddenly opened up. Leo's lead over Steinfeld has shrunk precipitously due to Leo's personal campaign for the award and what has been perceived as some awkwardness from her during the run through awards season. Consequently, the door has opened and young Ms. Steinfeld would appear to be a beneficiary. Additionally, if there is a really big King's sweep, Bonham Carter might sneak in. This is one of the categories that will actually make Oscar night have some suspense.

Best Supporting Actor: 1) Christian Bale/The Fighter, 2) GEOFFREY RUSH/TKS, 3) Mark Ruffalo/Kids Are All Right, 4) John Hawkes/Winter's Bone, 5) Jeremy Renner/The Town.

Comment: Bale is a prohibitive favorite and has been for a long time. The only shot at a disruption in this category is if "The King's Speech" is having a tsunami-like wave. That might get Rush his second Oscar...but don't hold your breath.

Best Original Screenplay: 1) THE KING'S SPEECH (David Seidler), 2) The Kids Are All Right, 3) Inception, 4) The Fighter, 5) ANOTHER YEAR.

Comment: It's Seidler's to lose at this point.

Best Adapted Screenplay: 1) The Social Network (Aaron Sorkin), 2) True Grit, 3) Toy Story 3, 4) Winter's Bone, 5) 127 HOURS.

Comment: Like Seidler, it's Sorkin's to lose.

Tomorrow we'll look at the other Oscar categories and assess where they are with a week and a half left to go before the big night.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Telluride Film #37, The OC, BAFTA and Oscar

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts named their 2011 winners two nights ago and, as you might expect, "The King's Speech" did very well. But there was a surprise or two along the way...

Here's the complete BAFTA run-down from

Best Film- The King’s Speech

Director - The Social Network - David Fincher

Leading Actor - Colin Firth - The King’s Speech

Leading Actress - Natalie Portman - Black Swan

Supporting Actor - Geoffrey Rush - The King’s Speech

Supporting Actress - Helena Bonham Carter - The King’s Speech

Adapted Screenplay- The Social Network - Aaron Sorkin

Original Screenplay - The King’s Speech - David Seidler

Animated Film - Toy Story 3 - Lee Unkrich

Outstanding British Film - The King’s Speech

Film Not In The English Language - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Outstanding Debut By A British Writer, Director Or Producer - Four Lions - Chris Morris (Director/Writer)

Cinematography - True Grit - Roger Deakins

Editing - The Social Network - Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter

Production Design - Inception - Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Doug Mowat

Sound - Inception - Richard King, Lora Hirschberg, Gary A Rizzo, Ed Novick

Special Visual Effects - Inception - Chris Corbould, Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Peter Bebb

Make Up & Hair - Alice In Wonderland - Valli O'Reilly, Paul Gooch

Original Music - The King’s Speech - Alexandre Desplat

Costume Design - Alice In Wonderland - Colleen Atwood

Short Film - Until The River Runs Red - Paul Wright, Poss Kondeatis

Short Animation - The Eagleman Stag - Michael Please

The Orange Wednesdays Rising Star Award (voted by the public) - Tom Hardy

Biggest surprise was that English director and TKS helmer Tom Hooper did NOT win Best Direction...David Fincher did for "The Social Network" in what was essentially an upset of the home team that was dominant in almost every other category.

It wasn't really a surprise that Geoffrey Rush won Supporting Actor but a bit of a surprise that Helena Bonham Carter did...even with the home field advantage she wasn't expected to win Supporting Actress.

Finally, the American Society of Cinematographers awarded its top prize a couple of nights ago to Wally Pfister for "Inception." That leads one to second guess the expected Oscar for Roger Deakins and "True Grit."

Coming tomorrow, The OC updates the Big 8 races...

Friday, February 4, 2011

The OC/How the Oscar Race Evolved

The Telluride Film Festival along with Toronto and Venice have become the unofficial start to the Oscar season each year. Consequently, the first serious attempts at Oscar prediction occur as those festivals come to an end in September.

In today's post we take a look back at what we thought would happen and contrast that with how it all came out when the nominations were announced last week. The Clearinghouse first was up on Sept. 26. And on that day, this is what we thought:

Best Picture: Already the field was pretty well established. 9 of the 10 of the eventual Best Pic nominees were on the list. Mike Leigh's "Another Year" was the film in the 7th position that eventually gave way to "Winter's Bone." "Bone"was lurking" as the 14th film on the list.

Best Director: Again, Mike Leigh and "Another Year" was on this list ( at #2) riding a wave of positive critical response that had begun with its presentation at Cannes. And Danny Boyle's "127 Hours" was at #3. But Leigh and Boyle were supplanted by The Coen Brothers for "True Grit" (who are also popularly believed to have supplanted "Inception's" Christopher Nolan at the last minute) and by Darren Aronofsky foe "Black Swan." Both The Coens and Aronofsky were lurking in the next five at #9 and #8 respectively.

Best Actress: 3 actual nominees were on the first attempt-Bening and Portman were 1-2 and Kidman was at #4. Also on that first list-Lesley Manville and Sally Hawkins. Manville and Hawkins were replaced by the actual nominations of Jennifer Lawrence and Michelle Williams. On that first pass at prediction Lawrence was at #6 and Williams was at #8.

Best Actor: 4 of the 5 eventual nominees were on the first stab at prognostication. Firth, Franco, Eisenberg, and Bridges. Robert Duvall and Mark Wahlburg (who was tied with Bridges for the #5 spot) ended up on the outside looking in. They were replaced by Javier Bardem for "Biutiful." Bardem is believed to have bumped Duvall out at the very end of the nominating process. Bardem began on 9/26 at the # 8 spot.

Best Supporting Actress: The original guess had 3 of the 5 eventual nominees. Leo, Bonham Carter and Weaver. Also on that original list were Miranda Richardson for "Made in Dagenham" and Dianne Weist for Rabbit Hole. The other two actually nominated, of course, were Hailee Steinfeld and Amy Adams. Steinfeld was first set at the #6 spot while Adams began at #9.

Best Supporting Actor: Again a 3 of 5 category as the original prediction included actual nominees Bale, Rush and Ruffalo. Also included were Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake from "The Social Network." Actual nominees John Hawkes ("Winter's Bone') and Jeremy Renner ("The Town") were nowhere on the original list of ten possible nominees in what was the worst category for early prediction.

Best Adapted Screenplay: 3 for 5. The first guess got "The Social Network," "Toy Story 3, " and "Winter's Bone." "Rabbit Hole" and "Love and Other Drugs" which were on that first list failed to secure nominations. "127 Hours" (at #6 originally) and "True Grit" (at #9 originally) did.

Best Original Screenplay: 5 for 5. The first prediction had them all right..."Kids," King's," "Inception," "Another Year," and "The Fighter" were all listed as nominees on the very first chart.

For the Big 8 Categories the original Clearinghouse was 33 of 45 and of the 12 that were missing 10 were considered "possible." The only total whiffs were John Hawkes and Jeremy Renner in Supporting Actor.

Finally...the Oscar Finals Ballots went in the mail on Wednesday. The consensus at this moment would be the following:

Picture: "The King's Speech"

Director: Tom Hooper/King's (although there is still a chunk of support for the notion that Fincher could still win the thing)

Actress: Natalie Portman/Swan(still some feel for Annette Bening)

Actor: Colin Firth/TKS...not much doubt

Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo/Fighter is in the lead but Hailee Steinfeld is still regarded as having a chance.
Supporting Actor: Christian Bale/Fighter...again, not much doubt

Adapted Screenplay: Sorkin/"The Social Network" a prohibitive favorite.

Original Screenplay: David Seidler/"The King's Speech" also a prohibitive favorite.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Telluride Film #37/The OC and the SAG awards

Did you hear that door slamming 36 hours ago?

It was the door closing on anyone's thoughts that "THE KING'S SPEECH" might not be your Best Picture winner on Feb. 27.

After a week that had included surprise wins for TKS at The Producer's Guild and The Director's Guild, the SAG (Screen Actor's Guild) awards were thought to be the last chance to derail the juggernaut that was building. Some experts still holding to the notion the "The Fighter" or even "The Social Network" would prevail in the SAG"s version of"Best Picture" which is their Ensemble Award.

But when they opened the envelope, the TKS train just kept right on running.

Here (directly from the SAG website) are the winners from Sundays presentations:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role: COLIN FIRTH / King George VI - "THE KING’S SPEECH" (The Weinstein Company)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role:NATALIE PORTMAN / Nina Sayers – “BLACK SWAN” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role: CHRISTIAN BALE / Dicky Eklund – “THE FIGHTER” (Paramount Pictures and Relativity Media)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: MELISSA LEO / Alice Ward – “THE FIGHTER” (Paramount Pictures and Relativity Media)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Company)

Firth and Bale were not surprises. Portman solidified her chances as she continues to best what was thought to be her close competitor, Annette Bening. And in the Female Supporting category, Melissa Leo's win makes her the front-runner in a category that was thought to be the most fluid of the 4 individual acting categories.

With the Ensemble win, all signs now point to TKS having a big night at the Oscars. We're talking Slumdog type numbers (Slumdog won 8 Academy Awards). You have to think that TKS wins Picture, probably Director (DGA), Actor and Original Screenplay. Costume, Art Direction and Score are also likely. Unlikely are Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Cinematography and Sound Mixing. Leaving Film Editing as its only chance for an 8th Oscar, and that's not terribly likely either.

Who benefits from the TKS mini-sweep? "Inception," which likely ends Oscar night with the second largest total number of Oscars and "The Fighter," which will be the only film with more than one acting winner.

Who gets hurt: know.."The Social Network" which increasingly looks as if it will win one Oscar for Aaron Sorkin's script and that's all.

Next time on Michael's Telluride Film Blog/The Oscar Clearinghouse...we look at how the Oscar race mutated from September to now...and also, we'll start handicapping the Oscar categories for the winners on Feb. 27.