October 19, 2011 6:32pm PT by Scott Feinberg
FEINBERG & FRIENDS, Episode 3: Scott & Hollywood News' Sean O'Connell on the Awards Race (Audio)
I'm very pleased to bring you the third episode of "Feinberg & Friends," a podcast that will air on The Race every week, usually on Tuesdays. Each episode features a discussion between me and a different guest -- a film blogger, critic or journalist of some other variation -- about 10 different awards-related topics (which we will list in the text accompanying the audio so that you know exactly what you're signing up for) and will last approximately 30 minutes (so that if one topic is not of particular interest to you it will only be about three minutes before we're on to the next one, which hopefully will be).
I was delighted that my friend Sean O'Connell, who runs the "Awards Alley" blog for HollywoodNews.com and also contributes to several other sites, agreed to join me for this episode. I really enjoyed our chat, during which we addressed the following 10 topics:
1. The two biggest awards developments this week, thus far: (a) the well-received debut of The Adventures of Tintin, the motion-capture/animated film directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson, which had its first press screening in London ahead of its Paris debut; and (b) the continued success of The Artist, which won the audience award at the Hamptons International Film Festival, which is attended by many industry insiders, including Academy voters.
2. If all of the remaining "question-mark movies" -- War Horse, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, J. Edgar, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Young Adult -- prove to be disappointing when they are finally screened, which of the other films that we have seen would be most strongly positioned to win best picture? In other words, what is the strongest contender that we know about already? The Artist? Moneyball? Midnight in Paris? The Help? Something else?
3. Can The Tree of Life, Carnage, or any other film with an ensemble cast/without a clear lead (or at least a clear shot at getting a lead nomination) successfully argue -- like Bullets Over Broadway (1994) or Babel (2006) in years past -- that all of each of its cast members should be considered in the supporting categories?
4. Are Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and -- to a lesser extent -- The Ides of March actually too smart for their own good when it comes to awards contention? Will voters who crave escapsim rather than intellectual stimulation -- i.e. the folks who secured The Blind Side a best picture Oscar nod -- be able to wrap their heads around films that really make them think?
5. Will the best supporting actress category feature two nominees from the same film gain for the fourth year in a row, a la Doubt (2008), Up in the Air (2009), and The Fighter (2010)? The Descendants's young star Shailene Woodley has seemed like a pretty solid bet to score a nod ever since the film premiered in Telluride, but buzz has also been building since then for her co-star Judy Greer, who has only a few minutes of screen time, but one particularly powerful scene that could conceivably land her a Beatrice Straight (Network)/Viola Davis (Doubt)-type nod of her own.
6. This week, the Academy released its list of all of the films submitted for best foreign language film Oscar. Did any countries surprise us by picking obscure films over popular ones, as was the case in recent years with several films, including Sweden's Let the Right One In (2008) and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2010)? Perhaps Pedro Almodovar's The Skin I Live In? And, of those that were submitted, which look to be the strongest contenders to make it onto the short-list and face the Academy's eccentric foreign language sub-committee?
7. Of this year's many worthy "little" movies -- among them, Like Crazy, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Take Shelter, Drive, Win Win, and Tyrannosaur -- which stand the best chance of registering in one category or another with the Academy? And where?
8. Of this year's "bigger" movies -- including Super 8, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2, Hugo, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo -- which have the best shot of snagging nods outside of the tech categories?
9. Are any of the presumptive best actress front-runners "slam-dunk" locks at this point? And, if not, who is most likely to step up and fill their slot(s)?
10. Is best actress hopeful Ellen Barkin (Another Happy Day) helping or sabotaging her prospects of securing her first Oscar nod with her -- pardon the expression -- “f*ckin’” Twitter rampage?
We ran a little longer than 30 minutes this week, but I think it was all time well spent. You can decide for yourself by tuning in below...
NOTE: We welcome your constructive feedback about this week's edition and topic suggestions for next week's edition in the comments section below.