Oscar race heats up

By Chris Nguyen
Features Editor

Dec. 31 marks the end of the eligibility period for Oscar films to be nominated for this year’s ceremony. Here’s the rundown of what’s hot and what’s not in currently in the race, with my predictions for its nomination hopes:

Hot

Company downsizer and frequent flyer Ryan Bingham (George Clooney, left) finally meets a woman with a similar case of corporate wanderlust, Alex (Vera Farmiga, right), in the dramatic comedy "Up in the Air," a Paramount Pictures release. (Dale Robinette/Paramount Pictures/MCT)
Company downsizer and frequent flyer Ryan Bingham (George Clooney, left) finally meets a woman with a similar case of corporate wanderlust, Alex (Vera Farmiga, right), in the dramatic comedy "Up in the Air," a Paramount Pictures release. (Dale Robinette/Paramount Pictures/MCT)

Up in the Air: Released today after months of buzz from the Toronto Film Festival, Up in the Air has both the plus and the very large negative of being the current front runner for Best Picture, with the National Board of Review picking it as its best film of the year. With a charismatic turn from George Clooney and good critical buzz, there is not doubt of the box office potential, but will the film’s depiction of the harsh world of white collar workers be too depressing? Will buzz wane soon enough?

Predix: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, TWO Best Supporting Actress

The Blind Side: It came out unassumingly enough in the shadow of New Moon as the adult, heartwarming alternative. However, with $100 million already in ticket grosses and no signs of stopping, The Blind Side has Oscar pundits buzzing about a nomination for Sandra Bullock. She is beloved actress by both the industry and the public. She has never been nominated for an Oscar. She has spunk and sass as a Southern mother who helps an African-American child realize his potential. Most importantly, she has only just begun gaining buzz, meaning there won’t be any fatigue come January 1 when the Academy begins voting for nominations.

Predix: Best Actress

Lukewarm

Precious: Still a strong contender, Precious did take a hit after 0 mentions by the National Board of Review. However, it still has the backing of Oprah and earning solid money at the box office. While its hopes of winning are shaky in the wake of Up in Air‘s rise, the film will be hearing its name many times come nomination time.

Predix: Best Picutre, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress

Not

Nine: Review for the films have not be too kind for the star-studded musical. Also, there has yet to be any release of Daniel Day-Lewis’ vocal ability. Considered the front runner way back in February, Nine has been plagued by bad buzz since. Even a nom in the expanded Best Picture category is on shaky ground.

Predix: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress

The Lovely Bones: Reviews for The Lovely Bones by the major publications have been largely negative about the approach of director Peter Jackson. It may resonate with viewers, but overall, it looks to be the disappointment of the year, so much so that amazing performances by Saoirse Ronan and Stanley Tucci may be denied an invitation to the big night.

Predix: Best Actress