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Golden Globes: Irrelevant? Maybe. But not the speeches

January 16, 2012 |  3:32 pm

Meryl Streep
In the most obvious of ways, the Golden Globes have absolutely no bearing upon the Oscars. No academy member suddenly thought last night, "By Jove, that 'Artist' sure seems to be a favorite of the Hollywood Foreign Press. I'd best check it out." If anything, given the reputation of the people voting for the Globes, you could see academy members wanting to go the opposite way.

But that's not how it works either. At this juncture of the award season, with nomination ballots already in, Oscar contenders can only help (or hurt) their chances by the way they conduct themselves when in the spotlight at public events. So how did this year's crop of Oscar contenders do last night at the Globes? Let's go to the tape:

MERYL STREEP

She's human. Forget for a moment the forgetting of the glasses. Did you see the kiss she gave her husband of 33 years, Don Gummer? Or the smooch she planted on Colin Firth's lips? Mamma Mia! Meryl was bursting with love last night! And then, yes, this master thespian can apparently be reduced to fits of profane yammering without her pair of trusty reading glasses. Granted, her speech went on a bit too long, but the standing ovation that greeted her and the charming humanity she displayed from the stage can only enhance her chances with academy voters. Which brings us to ...

DAVID FINCHER

When Streep did that cute little distress signal at the podium, miming a pair of spectacles with her hands, the call went forth to Hollywood: Get this woman her glasses! A specialized unit immediately sprang into action, an A-list A-Team that had Harvey Weinstein handing off the glasses to George Clooney who then made it almost all the way to the target before (in his words) "chickening out" and giving the final baton to David Fincher who ... started for the podium and then sat back down.

First, let us just remark how odd it is to see Fincher occupying the Mayor of Hollywood front-and-center table spot usually reserved for the likes of Jack Nicholson or Tom Hanks. But more to the fatal Clooney gaffe: There's no way the publicity-shy Fincher makes that final handoff in the spotlight. Clooney might as well have picked up his phone and called Ryan Gosling in Thailand for all the good he did in giving the glasses to Fincher. And viewers would have delighted in seeing him on stage with Streep.

GEORGE CLOONEY

On all other counts, Clooney acquitted himself nicely, displaying his trademark blend of graciousness and charm. His acceptance speech mixed an affable shout-out to friend Brad Pitt's humanitarian work with a profane thank-you to Michael Fassbender to "taking over the frontal nudity responsibility that I had." His remarks were short and sweet and few would mind hearing a variation of them come Oscar night.

OCTAVIA SPENCER

Tears? Check. Surprise? Check. "Seriously nuts" and "trembling ... gonna fall off these high-heel shoes"? Endearing. Quoting Dr. King? Priceless. The shot of Melissa McCarthy crying says it all. This woman will be hard to beat, even in a year dominated by her "Help" costar Jessica Chastain.

JEAN DUJARDIN

Even though (from the look on his face) Mark Wahlberg has no idea how to pronounce his name (nice save, Jessica Biel!), Dujardin enjoyed a nice introduction to Middle America last night, delivering a clever speech that played up his nationality without resorting to Benigni-level antics. The bad news: He's still being upstaged by the dog.

RELATED:

Complete Golden Globes coverage

— Glenn Whipp

Photo: Meryl Streep hoists her Golden Globe for lead actress in a motion picture drama, which she won for her performance as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady." Credit: European Pressphoto Agency


Golden Globes: We predict Sunday's TV winners

January 13, 2012 | 12:46 pm

Golden Globe predictions for TV, including Claire Danes in "Homeland"

Yes, the Hollywood Foreign Assn. Press consigns its Golden Globe television nominees to the back of the Beverly Hilton Hotel ballroom, which means less camera time and a greatly diminished chance at getting water glasses refilled. But there's one consolation: Host Ricky Gervais probably will ignore them too.

The Globes have a long history of beating the Emmys to the punch when it comes to rewarding new shows. (Unless it's AMC's "Breaking Bad." You'd think this bunch could relate to a show about desperation.) This year, look for "Homeland" and "New Girl" to break out, unless the HFPA decides to really let its freak flag fly and go with "American Horror Show."

Following Thursday's movie predictions, here are our picks for the TV side:

TELEVISION SERIES DRAMA

The nominees: “American Horror Story,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Boss,” “Game of Thrones,” “Homeland”

The winner is … “Mad Men” ran the table for its first three seasons before “Boardwalk Empire” ended that streak last year. Now “Boardwalk” faces off against four first-year series. Among them, we’re guessing Showtime’s topical thriller “Homeland” has enough heat to knock off "Boardwalk."

Unless … All the freshman series divide voters and “Boardwalk” wins for a second season that rivaled its debut year in quality.

LEAD ACTOR TV DRAMA

The nominees: Steve Buscemi, “Boardwalk Empire”; Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”; Kelsey Grammer, “Boss”; Jeremy Irons, “The Borgias”; Damian Lewis, “Homeland”

The winner is … Cranston has never lost an Emmy in this category, but has never won a Globe. (And this is only his second nomination.) We suspect that the HFPA doesn’t want to play catch-up and goes with the Brit, Lewis, who was Globe-nominated a decade ago for “Band of Brothers.”

Unless … Voters been jonesing to give eight-time nominee and two-time winner Grammer an award since “Frasier” ended its run.

LEAD ACTRESS TV DRAMA

The nominees: Claire Danes, “Homeland”; Mireille Enos, “The Killing”; Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”; Madeline Stowe, “Revenge”; Callie Thorne, “Necessary Roughness”

The winner is … Danes. She's an HFPA favorite, having won twice, including a victory last year for “Temple Grandin.”

Unless … Voters go back to 2009 winner Margulies or didn’t hate the Season 1 finale of “The Killing” as much as we did.

TELEVISION SERIES COMEDY OR MUSICAL

The nominees: “Enlightened,” “Episodes,” “Glee,” “Modern Family,” “New Girl”

The winner is … “Modern Family” seems poised to end “Glee’s” two-year run.

Unless … Voters side with the ambitiously layered “Enlightened,” easily the best of this season’s new comedies.

LEAD ACTOR TV COMEDY OR MUSICAL

The nominees: Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”; David Duchovny, “Californication”; Johnny Galecki, “The Big Bang Theory”; Thomas Jane, “Hung”; Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”

The winner is … An odd bunch. Last year’s winner, Jim Parsons, is out, replaced by “Big Bang” co-star Galecki. No Steve Carell for his fantastic last season of “The Office”, or Louis CK, but Duchovny … again? Really? Baldwin has already won three times; HBO just canceled Jane’s show. And “Big Bang” isn’t nominated for comedy. That leaves … LeBlanc? (Really?)

Unless … They’d like to give Jane, a nominee for all three seasons of “Hung,” a nice parting gift.

LEAD ACTRESS TV COMEDY OR MUSICAL

The nominees: Laura Dern, “Enlightened”; Zooey Deschanel, “The New Girl”; Tina Fey, “30 Rock”; Laura Linney, “The Big C”; Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”

The winner is … Deschanel.

Unless … Too many HFPA members overdosed on all the good cheer found in Deschanel’s “She & Him” Christmas album. Then, look to past winner Dern or Poehler.

RELATED:

Golden Globes: What do they mean for Oscars?

Golden Globes: We predict Sunday's movie winners

Golden Globes: "The Help's" director and star on film's wild ride

-- Glenn Whipp

Whipp writes the Gold Standard awards column for The Envelope.

Photo: Claire Danes stars in "Homeland." Credit: Showtime


Golden Globes: We predict Sunday's film winners

January 12, 2012 |  1:47 pm

Asa Butterfield and Jude Law in Hugo
The envelopes are in! No, no … not the ones with the round-trip airplane tickets to Italy along with directions to George Clooney’s villa on Lake Como or the ones containing passes to Super Bowl XLVI. (Thanks, Madonna! We can’t wait for the halftime show!)

We’ll leave it Ricky Gervais to make the jokes about the ins and outs of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.'s rigorous selection process. We’re interested only in the envelopes containing the winners of the 69th annual Golden Globes awards. Who will be beaming from the podium and who will be pretending to smile while being insulted by Mr. Gervais? We'll predict the movie categories today and return tomorrow with a look at the Globes' television slate.

MOTION PICTURE DRAMA

The nominees: “The Descendants,” “The Help,” “Hugo,” “The Ides of March,” “Moneyball,” “War Horse”

The winner is … : Intimate, intricate family dramas aren’t really the HFPA’s thing, which makes us think they might go with favorite son Martin Scorsese’s theatrical, Franco-friendly “Hugo.”

Unless … : HFPA members have decided to test Clooney with a challenge far greater than anything he dealt with in “The Descendants” or “Ides” -- namely, how many times can he convincingly look thrilled, overjoyed and Just Plain Happy to Be Here in a three-hour period? Current over/under line in Vegas: Six.

LEAD ACTOR DRAMA

The nominees: George Clooney, “The Descendants”; Leonardo DiCaprio, “J. Edgar”; Michael Fassbender, “Shame”; Ryan Gosling, “The Ides of March”; Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

The winner is …: Clooney. C’mon. They gave him four nominations, and this is the most logical place to honor him. (And, yes, we realize logic doesn’t always come into play with this nutty group. But since we don’t know which movie star posed for the most photos with HFPA members, humor us, OK?)

Unless …: Pitt posed for more photos.

LEAD ACTRESS DRAMA

The nominees: Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”; Viola Davis, “The Help”; Rooney Mara, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”; Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”; Tilda Swinton, “We Need to Talk About Kevin”

The winner is …: Davis. It’s her year.

Unless …: HFPA voters got a warm, fuzzy feeling in their heads … er, um … hearts while watching Streep do her darnedest to humanize Margaret Thatcher. But since even Streep is out stumping for her “Doubt” costar, we think she’ll be applauding Davis from her table.

MOTION PICTURE COMEDY OR MUSICAL

The nominees: “50/50,” “The Artist,” “Bridesmaids,” “Midnight in Paris,” “My Week With Marilyn”

The winner is …: “The Artist.”

Unless …: Its writer-director Michel Hazanavicius suddenly publishes a heartfelt remembrance of all the grand times and delightful conversations he enjoyed over the years with Kim Jong Il.

LEAD ACTOR COMEDY OR MUSICAL

The nominees: Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”; Brendan Gleeson, “The Guard”; Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “50/50”; Ryan Gosling, “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”; Owen Wilson, “Midnight in Paris”

The winner is …: Dujardin. It’s going to be the first of many big nights for “The Artist.”

Unless …: Gosling’s two nominations indicate that, after two previous nods, the HFPA is ready to reward him for an undeniably great year.

LEAD ACTRESS COMEDY OR MUSICAL

The nominees: Jodie Foster, “Carnage”; Charlize Theron, “Young Adult”; Kristin Wiig, “Bridesmaids”; Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”; Kate Winslet, “Carnage”

The winner is …: Williams. You have to understand: What’s funny to you and me doesn’t necessarily make HFPA double over with laughter. Winners in this category tend to come mostly from musicals or romantic-comedies that are heavy on the drama. That would exclude the deserving Wiig, whose movie, remarkably, represented the first-ever Globe nomination for producer Judd Apatow.

Unless …: They go with Theron, as they have rewarded actresses in black comedies in the recent past (Nicole Kidman in “To Die For” and Renee Zellweger in “Nurse Betty”).

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-- Glenn Whipp

Whipp writes the Gold Standard awards column for The Envelope.

Photo: Asa Butterfield and Jude Law in "Hugo." Credit: Jaap Buitendijk/Paramount Pictures 


Golden Globes: What do they mean for the Oscars?

December 16, 2011 |  3:47 pm

A scene from the Artist
It’s been 15 years since Harvey Weinstein had a clear best-picture Oscar front-runner at this stage in the award season. How will he handle being the odds-on favorite with "The Artist"? And would "Seinfeld's" Elaine Benes like “The Artist” any more than she did “The English Patient”?

While we ponder those questions, let’s look at how this week’s noms from the Globe voters, Screen Actors Guild and Critics Choice have changed the landscape for best picture and the other Oscar categories.

PICTURE:  Who, among the likely nominees, might best “The Artist”? Possibly “The Help,” which has a devoted following among older academy members. Maybe “Hugo,” though it won’t have a presence in the lead acting categories. “The Descendants” will have acting nominees but may be shut out in the below-the-line races. “War Horse” will soon be earning box-office ribbons, which could translate into a boost with voters.

LEAD ACTOR: George Clooney, Jean Dujardin, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio swept the Globes, SAG and Critics noms. The quartet seems on solid footing, even DiCaprio, who has transcended “J. Edgar’s” disappointing reception. Michael Fassbender and Gary Oldman rank as the leading contenders for the fifth spot, though Oldman’s blanking this week indicates trouble. Demian Bichir’s SAG nod for “A Better Life” makes a great story, but it’s unlikely he can ride the momentum to the Kodak Theatre come February.

LEAD ACTRESS: Viola Davis, Michelle Williams and Meryl Streep swept through the week as expected, and Glenn Close shored up her standing after being passed over by the Spirit Awards. After going 3-3 this week, Tilda Swinton looks good for the final spot, though one shouldn’t discount Rooney Mara, either. More academy members will be watching “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” than “We Need to Talk About Kevin” over the holidays.

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Albert Brooks’ SAG snub reinforces the notion that this category belongs to Christopher Plummer for his beautiful turn in “Beginners.” Brooks still gets in, as will Kenneth Branagh, who went 3-3 in the week’s precursors. Max von Sydow got bupkis, but it’s hard to imagine his silent turn in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” won’t connect with older academy members. And Paramount will be pushing Ben Kingsley hard for “Hugo,” knowing an acting nomination will help the film’s standing in the best picture race.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Octavia Spencer and Berenice Bejo connected with all three groups. Jessica Chastain did too and, importantly, for a single performance (“The Help”) of the many roles she had this year, which gives academy voters a clear signal. (Not that they necessarily needed it, since, as mentioned, “The Help” plays huge with this group.) Melissa McCarthy and Janet McTeer had good weeks too. That could be the final nomination group, though newcomer Shailene Woodley remains strongly in the mix.

RELATED:

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Golden Globes: 6 nods for 'Artist'; 5 for 'Help,' 'Descendants'

-- Glenn Whipp

Photo: A scene from "The Artist." Credit: The Weinstein Co.


Plummer? Pitt? Oscar's supporting actor race wide open

November 20, 2011 |  7:00 am

Andy Serkis played an ape through motion caption
A category full of questions: Will voters reward the relevance of “Margin Call”? How about a nomination here for Brad Pitt’s best acting work of the year? Has resistance to motion-capture performances started to crumble? Will anyone remember the name of the guy they loved so much in “Midnight In Paris”?

Here’s how Gold Standard sees the supporting acting race currently shaking out:

1. Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”

2. Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn”

3. Albert Brooks, “Drive”

4. Armie Hammer, “J. Edgar”

5. Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”

6. Max von Sydow, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

7. Nick Nolte, “Warrior”

8. John Hawkes, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”

9. Andy Serkis, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

10. Ben Kingsley, “Hugo”

Bubbling under: Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci and Kevin Spacey, “Margin Call”; Brad Pitt, “The Tree of Life”; Patton Oswalt, “Young Adult”; Philip Seymour Hoffman and George Clooney, “The Ides of March”; Corey Stoll, “Midnight in Paris”; Viggo Mortensen, “A Dangerous Method”; Ezra Miller, “We Need to Talk About Kevin”; John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz, “Carnage”; Jim Broadbent, “The Iron Lady”

For your consideration: Corey Stoll, “Midnight In Paris.” Bad Hemingway = Great Hemingway for Stoll, who hilariously plays the author as a parody of one of his manly-man characters.

Analysis: Hasn’t Plummer already delivered his acceptance speech? We seem to remember it was deliciously droll and, god, dropping in the chorus from “Edelweiss” made The Standard Bearer’s mom tear up. No? Didn’t happen? Well … not yet.

Serkis can’t be making the rounds to stump for his bravura work in “Apes” since he’s off in New Zealand reprising his work as Gollum in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit.” But he did take part in a Skype-aided Q&A for the Screen Actors Guild last weekend following an enthusiastic “Apes” screening at the Zanuck Theatre on the 20th Century Fox lot.

Given the volume of ovations and the number of times audience members used the word “genius” when prefacing their questions to Serkis, the 47-year-old actor would seem to be in the thick of the race. The big hurdle now comes in reminding voters just how much they enjoyed watching Serkis’ chimpanzee Caesar go all Spartacus on the humans in “Apes,” since voters typically ignore acting from the sci-fi movies.

RELATED:

The Gold Standard: Predicting the best picture race

-- Glenn Whipp

Photo: Andy Serkis stars as an ape through motion capture technology. Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times


Octavia Spencer leads, Janet McTeer gains in supporting Oscar race

November 19, 2011 |  7:00 am

Octavia Spencer
Glenn Close isn’t the only woman bending genders in “Albert Nobbs.” Tony-winning costar Janet McTeer gains some momentum this week as audiences continue talking about her magnificent work as the confident housepainter who inspires Close’s quiet character to contemplate a brighter future.

Here’s how the Gold Standard sees the supporting actress category stacking up:

1. Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

2. Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”

3. Shailene Woodley, “The Descendants”

4. Jessica Chastain, “The Tree of Life”

5. Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”

6. Vanessa Redgrave, “Coriolanus”

7. Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”

8. Sandra Bullock, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

9. Judi Dench, “J. Edgar”

10. Carey Mulligan, “Shame”

Bubbling under: Jessica Chastain, “The Help” and “Take Shelter”; Evan Rachel Wood, “The Ides of March”; Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet, “Carnage”; Judy Greer, “The Descendants”; Emily Watson, “War Horse”

For your consideration: Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids.” It’s the year’s most talked-about supporting performance. Hell, why even qualify it? Did any other acting turn generate the kind of response that McCarthy’s gale-force bridesmaid did? And you’re not going to nominate her because she starred in a movie that made people laugh? Seriously?

Analysis: Will Chastain be nominated for playing sassy and sad (“The Help”), strong and exasperated (“Take Shelter”) or the Living Embodiment of Grace (“Tree of Life”)? Or for one of her other … gulp … three movies? Can we settle on one? It’d be a shame if Chastain isn’t at the Kodak after this year’s remarkable run, but her absence looms as a very real possibility because she was so good in three prominent movies.

The other problem facing Chastain -- the depth of competition in this category. Whichever way it plays out, some deserving performances will be overlooked.

RELATED:

The Gold Standard: Predicting the best picture race

--Glenn Whipp

Photo: Octavia Spencer leads in the supporting actress predictions. Credit: Los Angeles Times


George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio in tight Oscar race

November 17, 2011 |  2:46 pm

George Clooney and Shailene Woodley in The Descendants
George Clooney seems to be solidly holding on to a lead actor Oscar nomination slot (and is the leading candidate for the win at the moment). But "The Artist's" Jean Dujardin, a leading French actor, is climbing in popularity as well. And with Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Gary Oldman still in the race, anything can happen.

As the movie awards season progresses, the Gold Standard column will handicap the current state of the races in The Envelope and at 24 Frames — ranking them by likelihood of a nomination. Check back often for updates.

LEAD ACTOR
1. George Clooney, “The Descendants”
2. Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
3. Leonardo DiCaprio, “J. Edgar”
4. Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”
5. Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
6. Michael Fassbender, “Shame”
7. Woody Harrelson, “Rampart”
8. Ryan Gosling, “The Ides of March”
9. Michael Shannon, “Take Shelter”
10. Paul Giamatti, “Win Win”

Bubbling under: Matt Damon, “We Bought a Zoo”; Daniel Craig, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”; Jeremy Irvine, “War Horse”; Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “50/50”; Demián Bichir, "A Better Life".

For your consideration: Michael Shannon, “Take Shelter.” A movie that should go to the top of every screener pile for a dozen different reasons, including Shannon’s subtle, empathetic portrait of a haunted man consumed by apocalyptic visions and desperate to protect his family -- from the coming storm and from himself.

Analysis: DiCaprio’s work is so good that he actually makes you forget the geezer makeup -- no small feat. Reaction to the film itself is mixed, but nobody loved Eastwood’s “Invictus,” either, and Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon won noms. Still, the movie’s ashtray-tinted history lesson does feel a little blah when compared to full-frontal Fassbender. Might he sneak through the ... (wait, why does every metaphor feel vaguely dirty when connected to "Shame"?).

Harrelson and Shannon made the rounds in Los Angeles last weekend, with Woody working his charm at post-screening Q&As for SAG and BAFTA members. Some voters who have seen Harrelson’s violent cop character study express more admiration for the performance than the film itself. (“He’s insane in it,” one film academy member told me. “But the movie comes up a bit short on story.”)

Oldman’s “Tinker Tailor” might have the opposite problem. The Cold War espionage film already has a reputation for being so relentlessly complex that it has left a few voters feeling intimidated. (“You mean I have to really concentrate for 130 minutes?” one academy member sarcastically groused. “Can’t I watch ‘The Artist’ again?”)

The never-nominated Oldman has pried himself loose from filming “The Dark Knight Rises” and will be in town Tuesday for a SAG nomination committee screening. He’ll be feted at the Gotham Awards the following week, raising a profile that, to this point, has been as understated as his “Tinker Tailor” spy.

RELATED:

The Gold Standard: Predicting the best picture race

Viola Davis off to strong start in lead actress Oscar race

Gold Standard: Predicting the best director Oscar nominees

-- Glenn Whipp

Photo: George Clooney and Shailene Woodley in "The Descendants." Credit: New York Film Festival


Viola Davis off to strong start in lead actress Oscar race

November 14, 2011 |  7:00 am

Viola Davis in The Help
With Viola Davis, Michelle Williams, Glenn Close and Meryl Streep in the mix, the lead actress Oscar race is full with strong contenders.

As the movie awards season progresses, the Gold Standard column will handicap the current state of the races in The Envelope and at 24 Frames — ranking them by likelihood of a nomination. Check back often for updates.

LEAD ACTRESS
1. Viola Davis, “The Help”
2. Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”
3. Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”
4. Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
5. Rooney Mara, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
6. Charlize Theron, “Young Adult”
7. Tilda Swinton, “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
8. Elizabeth Olsen, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
9. Keira Knightley, “A Dangerous Method”
10. Kirsten Dunst, “Melancholia”

Bubbling under: Ellen Barkin, “Another Happy Day”; Felicity Jones, “Like Crazy”; Emma Stone, “The Help”

For your consideration: Vera Farmiga, “Higher Ground.” Farmiga’s searching, spiritual drama (which she also directed) had the misfortune of a stealth, end-of-summer release. All the more impressive: The same bold intelligence that informs her acting comes across behind the camera as well.

Analysis: Williams transforms herself in a way that touches Marilyn Monroe’s soul. Close transforms herself into a woman masquerading as a man, delivering a master class in understatement. Streep has been nominated 16 times. She’s not going to get one for playing Margaret Thatcher? And Mara is the wild card in a movie that will be widely seen and discussed. And they’ll all likely be applauding Davis from their seats.

RELATED:

The Gold Standard: Predicting the best picture race

Predicting the best director Oscar nominees

— Glenn Whipp

Photo: Viola Davis. Credit: DreamWorks.


With George Clooney et al, lead actor Oscar race is up for grabs

November 13, 2011 |  2:00 pm

George Clooney and Shailene Woodley in The Descendants
With George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gary Oldman and more, the race for lead actor at the Oscars appears to be wide open.

As the movie awards season progresses, the Gold Standard column will handicap the current state of the races in The Envelope and at 24 Frames — ranking them by likelihood of a nomination. Check back often for updates.

LEAD ACTOR
1. George Clooney, “The Descendants”
2. Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
3. Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”
4. Leonardo DiCaprio, “J. Edgar”
5. Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
6. Michael Fassbender, “Shame”
7. Ryan Gosling, “The Ides of March”
8. Woody Harrelson, “Rampart”
9. Paul Giamatti, “Win Win”
10. Michael Shannon, “Take Shelter”

Bubbling under: Matt Damon, “We Bought a Zoo”; Daniel Craig, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”; Jeremy Irvine, “War Horse”; Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “50/50.”

For your consideration: Tom Hardy, “Warrior.” We realize the similar “The Fighter” was just last year and that the prodigal son Hardy played often felt more like an archetype than a character, but can we find a little love in our hearts for Hardy’s mumbling, Method brooding?

Analysis: Subtlety (Oldman, Clooney) versus showy (DiCaprio, Dujardin) — all of them great, serving their films, as is Brad Pitt playing a very Brad Pitt-like Billy Beane in “Moneyball.” With these actors, along with a deep bench of indie standouts hoping for a spot in the lineup, this perennially strong category is, at the moment, up for grabs.

RELATED:

Gold Standard: Predicting the best picture race

Predicting the best director Oscar nominees

— Glenn Whipp

Photo: George Clooney and Shailene Woodley in "The Descendants." Credit: New York Film Festival


Gold Standard: Predicting the best director Oscar nominees

November 12, 2011 |  7:00 am

Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo in The Artist
As the movie awards season progresses, the Gold Standard column will handicap the current state of the races in The Envelope and at 24 Frames — ranking them by likelihood of a nomination. Check back often for updates. Here, we look at the director contenders.

DIRECTOR
1. Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
2. Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”
3. Stephen Daldry, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
4. Steven Spielberg, “War Horse”
5. Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”

Bubbling under: David Fincher, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”; Bennett Miller, “Moneyball”; Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”; Tomas Alfredson, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”; Clint Eastwood, “J. Edgar”; Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”

For your consideration: Steve McQueen, “Shame.” Can a movie that explicitly explores the depths of sexual desire be accessible (at least when compared to McQueen’s hell-on-earth, prison-strike debut, “Hunger”) and (please don’t judge us) even relatable on some basic, human levels? Answer to both: Yes, in McQueen’s impeccably crafted “Shame.”

Analysis: Daldry has never not been nominated. (Even for “Billy Elliot.” Really.) People have been seen crying during the “War Horse” trailer. (Probably not the same people who will be voting for Fincher and “Dragon Tattoo,” but still …) And Malick? Maybe voters don’t grasp everything going on in “Tree,” but there is an innate understanding that some pretty deep thoughts are being beamed their way on a level few filmmakers attempt.

RELATED:

The Gold Standard: Predicting the best picture race

— Glenn Whipp

Photo: Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo star in "The Artist." Credit: The Weinstein Co.


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