Sure, “The Artist” won best picture at the Oscars on Sunday. But who was the hottest personality during the entirety of the award season just ended?
According to Heat Meter, The Times’ data desk's analysis of the race that used a sophisticated point system to rank contenders, it was "The Artist" producer Thomas Langmann, who topped all other personalities, including his own director, Michel Hazanavicius (who came in second). Langmann had 235 points to Hazanavicius’ 231.
The hottest non-“Artist” personality was Meryl Streep ("The Iron Lady"), who with 207 points landed in third place and set a personal best, topping even the two previous seasons in which she also won Oscars. Alexander Payne, who at the Academy Awards picked up an adapted screenplay win and a director nomination, edged out Jean Dujardin for fourth place.
On the film side, "The Artist" trounced the competition with 715 points. Coming in a distant second was "The Descendants" with 409 points, followed by "The Help" with 370 points.
Not surprisingly , Weinstein Co. won the race for hottest studio. But more dramatic was the race for fourth place, which saw Paramount edge out its former corporate sibling, DreamWorks, by just one point, 355-354.
You can see the top five personalities, films and studios after the jump.
Movies: Past, present and future
This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
Several of Hollywood's biggest names — including Meryl Streep, Martin Scorsese, Glenn Close and Woody Allen -- have had a strong year on the 2011-12 awards circuit: But how does this season compare to some of their career high points?
With the Oscars on Sunday poised to add to their already heaping totals, we put the Heat Meter in a time machine and took a look at how this year stacks up to some of these titans' past triumphs.
The most-nominated actress in Academy Awards history has had a strong year — stronger, in fact, than 2002, when she gained heat from two films, “Adaptation” and “The Hours," and stronger than 2006, when she played an ice-queen fashion editor in "The Devil Wears Prada." And it's been a better run than her “Bridges of Madison County” year of 1995.
Streep has 127 Heat Meter points so far this season for her turn as Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.” If she notches a best actress win Sunday, she'll top her previous hottest year -- 1982, when she won an Oscar for “Sophie's Choice.”
1982 “Sophie's Choice”: 195
1979 "The Deer Hunter": 150
2011* “The Iron Lady”: 127
2002 “Adaptation,” “The Hours": 88
2006 "The Devil Wears Prada": 80
1995 “The Bridges of Madison County”: 44
With turns in movies such as “Fatal Attraction” and “Dangerous Liaisons,” Close had some very strong years in the 1980s. But her gender-bending role as “Albert Nobbs” in 2011, for which she's racked up 44 points, bests them all. Even if she walks out of the awards venue with her arms empty, Close will still have topped her bunny-boiling year of 1987, when she of course played a vengeful mistress in “Fatal Attraction.”
2011* "Albert Nobbs”: 44
1987 “Fatal Attraction”: 32
1988 “Dangerous Liaisons”: 20
1984 “The Natural”: 12
Woody had one of the best years in awards history in 1977, when he was nominated for a rare Oscar trifecta of best writer, director and actor for “Annie Hall” (he won for director and writer). The whopping 375 points he gathered throughout that season are one of the all-time best for any filmmaker. Can he get close this year? Not quite. But the 138 points the Woodster has garnered so far as a writer-director on “Midnight in Paris” is still pretty strong. He can add to that with wins on Sunday.
1977 “Annie Hall”: 375
1986 “Hannah and her Sisters”: 177
2011* “Midnight in Paris”: 138
1994 "Bullets Over Broadway": 34
If you're the much-acclaimed, often Oscar-deprived Martin Scorsese, perhaps no year will compare to 2006, when “The Departed” won you your first golden statuette. The crime auteur scored a killer 275 Heat Meter points that year. Only a Marty party — that is, best picture and best director wins -- on Sunday will allow him to top that.
But the filmmaker has still had a year to remember — according to Heat Meter, 2011 is already better for Scorsese than 1990, when “Goodfellas” came out, and his landmark year of 1976, when “Taxi Driver” was released.
2006 “The Departed”: 275
2011* “Hugo”: 146
1976 “Taxi Driver”: 136
1990 “Goodfellas”: 130
*Not counting this year's Oscars
[For the Record, 8:29 a.m., Feb. 23: An earlier version of this post stated that Woody Allen won an Oscar in 1978 for best actor. He was nominated for the award but did not win.]
Photo: Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady." Credit: The Weinstein Company
Fans of George Clooney and Brad Pitt tend to feel strongly about their respective A-listers; for every "Good Night, and Good Luck" a Clooney-ite will lob, a member of the Pitt Crew will come back with a "Curious Case of Benjamin Button." And so it goes.
It’s rare enough when an awards season brings one movie from each superstar; it’s even less common to get a pair of films from each of them. But 2011 yielded just that, with Pitt starring in and producing “The Tree of Life” and “Moneyball,” and Clooney starring in “The Descendants” and starring in, producing, directing and co-writing “The Ides of March.”
Which of the two has more awards season heat? We turned to The Times’ Heat Meter system, which tallies points for nominations and awards from specific organizations — in any category — that a person has received throughout the season. Turns out the contest has been as dramatic as the pennant race in “Moneyball.”
Pitt jumped off to a big lead thanks to accolades from the New York Film Critics Circle and Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. Clooney made up some ground once the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations came out, then leapfrogged Pitt after winning the lead actor in a drama prize at the Golden Globes.
The Oscar nominations, though, have made the race close again, with Pitt picking up best picture points as a producer on "Moneyball." Now it’s anyone’s game as we head into the Oscars: Pitt trails Clooney by just nine points in our Heat Meter rankings.
For a complete look at the heat index by various films and personalities, visit The Times' landing page for all things Heat Meter.
Photo: Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in "Moneyball." Credit: Sony Pictures
Few award season contenders have been as intriguing as "Bridesmaids," the Kristen Wiig-driven phenomenon that grossed nearly $170 million domestically and made the world (OK, the U.S.) safe for a raunchy female comedy.
Like "The Hangover" a couple years back, "Bridesmaids" is a candidate of choice for a certain kind of award-season observer. The movie, they argue, deserves recognition for its writing and acting, not to mention its overall brand of honest comedy.
It's a compelling argument. There's only one problem: Awards voters don't feel the same way.
Though the perception is that the movie has some traction in the run-up to the Oscar nominations next week, the numbers paint a somewhat different picture. According to The Times' Heat Meter system, which our data desk has devised to compile and analyze the season’s contenders (for a fuller explanation please click here), the movie is a long-shot in pretty much all of the categories in which it might hope to compete.
The film's writers pick up just enough points for eighth place in the screenplay category -- but in a tie with three other films. That's perhaps -- perhaps -- good enough for a nomination in the relatively weak Oscar original screenplay category.
Meanwhile, Melissa McCarthy, whose display of frank Everywoman comedy has done wonders for her career, would seem like an ironclad contender. But she ranks just sixth on the supporting actress chart, with just a few points behind the fifth-place contender, Shailene Woodley. ("The Help" star Jessica Chastain is currently in first with 60 points.)
Maybe most important, "Bridesmaids" overall point total, which is rung up when anyone affiliated with a movie gets a win or a nomination, clocks in at a meager 43. That's good enough for only 15th place, just ahead of the documentary "Cave of Forgotten Dreams."
Supporters of "Bridesmaids" will say that the movie's tepid showing is simply proof that voters disadvantage comedies. Maybe so, though it’s also axiomatic that voters like a big commercial hit, especially when it has cultural significance (see under the recognition for movies like “Avatar” and “The Blind Side” in recent years.) That’s probably still true. It’s just increasingly clear they're not hungry for this big commercial hit.
Photo: A scene in "Bridesmaids." Credit: Universal Pictures