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2 YEARS

FEINBERG FORECAST: Updated Projections (With 21 Weeks Until the Oscars)

THR's awards analyst assesses the field as the New York Film Festival gets underway and the first screeners of the season arrive in voters' mailboxes.

Looper - H 2012
"Looper"

Every Sunday through the Oscars on Feb. 24, The Hollywood Reporter's awards analyst Scott Feinberg will release a new "Feinberg Forecast," a post in which he recaps the most noteworthy awards-related news of the past week and shares his latest assessment of the standings in each of the major awards categories. (For more information about Feinberg and how he arrives at his projections, see the bottom of this post.)

NOTEWORTHY DEVELOPMENTS SINCE LAST WEEK'S FORECAST:

  • On Friday night, Life of Pi opened the 50th New York Film Festival, which we previewed last week. THR's Todd McCarthy, a member of the fest's selection committee, was one of many film critics who positively reviewed the film, but my own sense is that its awards prospects will be limited to the crafts categories.
  • The AFI Fest has announced that Hitchcock will open its 26th installment Nov. 1. The Hollywood-based event previously had announced that it will close with Lincoln on Nov. 8.
  • Many pundits received their first screener this week, courtesy of the small distributor Millennium Entertainment: Richard Linklater's Bernie, which features a breakthrough performance by Jack Black. Screeners of small films that arrive on voters' doorsteps before the fall's high-profile titles begin screening tend to get watched and rewarded with nominations more than later arrivals -- recent examples include Junebug (2005), Frozen River (2008) and Animal Kingdom (2010).
  • Warner Bros. announced this week that The Dark Knight Rises will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on Dec. 4, giving the awards hopeful a much-needed reluanch. Its theatrical opening weekend in July was overshadowed by the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colo.
  • The domestic box office rebounded after several weak weekends in a row, with Sony Animation's Hotel Transylvania taking in $43 million, the biggest September opening ever, and TriStar's Looper doing a very respectable $21.2 million in business as well. (Amazingly, Looper also pulled in $24 million in China, making this the first time that a film has opened internationally and grossed more in China than in America.)
  • End of Watch, which topped the box office each of the previous two weekends, finished third and won a very impressive endorsement: William Friedkin, the Oscar-winning director of the classic cop film The French Connection (1971), tweeted his impression that End of Watch is not only "a great film" but "may be the best cop film ever."
  • 20th Century Fox's Won't Back Down, meanwhile, had the second-worst wide opening (meaning 2,500 or more locations) in the past 30 years, marred by a controversy that I discussed with its stars last week.

THIS WEEK'S FORECAST:

BEST PICTURE
Front-runners
Lincoln (DreamWorks, 11/9, TBA, trailer)
Les Miserables (Universal, 12/25, TBA, trailer)
Silver Linings Playbook (The Weinstein Co., 11/21, TBA, trailer)
Argo (Warner Bros., 10/12, R, trailer)
Zero Dark Thirty (Sony, 12/19, TBA, teaser)
The Master (The Weinstein Co., 9/14, R, trailer)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Fox Searchlight, 6/27, PG-13, trailer)
Promised Land (Focus Features, 12/28, R, trailer)
Django Unchained (The Weinstein Co., 12/25, R, trailer)
Hitchcock (Fox Searchlight, 11/23, TBA, TBA)
Major Threats
Flight (Paramount, 11/2, TBA, trailer)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros., 12/14, TBA, trailer)
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox Searchlight, 5/4, PG-13, trailer)
Amour (Sony Pictures Classics, 12/19, TBA, trailer)
Life of Pi (20th Century Fox, 11/21, TBA, trailer)
Moonrise Kingdom (Focus Features, 5/25, PG-13, trailer)
The Sessions (Fox Searchlight, 10/19, TBA, trailer)
The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros., 7/20, PG-13, trailer)
Cloud Atlas (Warner Bros., 10/26, R, trailer)
The Impossible (Summit, 12/21, PG-13, trailer)
Possibilities
End of Watch (Open Road Films, 9/21, R, trailer) NEW
Anna Karenina (Focus Features, 11/16, TBA, trailer)
Arbitrage (Roadside Attractions, 9/14, R, trailer)
Rust and Bone (Sony Pictures Classics, 11/23, TBA, trailer)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Summit, 9/14, TBA, trailer)
Not Fade Away (Paramount, 12/21, TBA, TBA)
The Hunger Games (Lionsgate, 3/23, PG-13, trailer)
The Avengers (Disney, 5/4, PG-13, trailer)

Trouble With the Curve (Warner Bros., 9/21, PG-13, trailer)
Hyde Park on Hudson (Focus Features, 12/7, R, trailer)
On the Road (IFC Films, 12/21, R, trailer)

Still Awaiting Domestic Distribution and/or Release Date
Out of the Furnace (Relativity Media, TBA, TBA, TBA)
The Sapphires (The Weinstein Co., TBA, TBA, trailer)

BEST DIRECTOR
Front-runners
Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
Tom Hooper (Les Miserables)
David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
Ben Affleck (Argo)
Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master)
Major Threats
Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)
Michael Haneke (Amour)
Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)
Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
Gus Vant Sant (The Promised Land)

Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
Robert Zemeckis (Flight)
Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom)
Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises)
Peter Jackson (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)
Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski (Cloud Atlas)

Joe Wright (Anna Karenina)
Possibilities
Sacha Gervasi (Hitchcock)
Ben Lewin (The Sessions)
Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible)
David Ayer (End of Watch)
NEW
John Madden (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
Jacques Audiard (Rust and Bone)
David Chase (Not Fade Away)
Gary Ross (The Hunger Games)
Joss Whedon (The Avengers)
Nicholas Jarecki (Arbitrage)
Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

Robert Lorenz (Trouble the Curve)
Roger Michell (Hyde Park on Hudson)
Walter Salles (On the Road)

Still Awaiting Domestic Distribution and/or Release Date
Wayne Blair (The Sapphires)
Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace)

BEST ACTOR
Front-runners
Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
John Hawkes (The Sessions)
Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)
Denzel Washington (Flight)

Anthony Hopkins (Hitchcock)
Major Threats
Richard Gere (Arbitrage)
Jean-Louis Trintignant (Amour)
Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)
Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables)
Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained)
Jack Black (Bernie)
Matt Damon (Promised Land)
Tommy Lee Jones (Hope Springs)
Ben Affleck (Argo)
Joel Edgerton (Zero Dark Thirty)
Bill Murray (Hyde Park on Hudson)
Omar Sy (The Intouchables)
Jake Gyllenhaal (End of Watch) NEW
Possibilities
Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi)
Clint Eastwood (Trouble With the Curve)
Liam Neeson (The Grey)
Tom Holland (The Impossible)

Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone)
Gael Garcia Bernal (No)
Christopher Walken (Stand Up Guys)
Al Pacino (Stand Up Guys)
Frank Langella (Robot & Frank)

Paul Dano (Ruby Sparks)
Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises)
Terence Stamp (Song for Marion)
Logan Lerman (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

Geoffrey Rush (The Eye of the Storm)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Anna Karenina)
Still Awaiting Domestic Distribution and/or Release Date
Christian Bale (Out of the Furnace)
Michael Shannon (The Iceman)

BEST ACTRESS
Front-runners
Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone)
Helen Mirren (Hitchcock)

Meryl Streep (Hope Springs)
Major Threats
Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)
Naomi Watts (The Impossible)
Keira Knightley (Anna Karenina)
Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
Judi Dench (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
Frances McDormand (Promised Land)
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Smash)
Elle Fanning (Ginger & Rosa) NEW
Barbra Streisand (The Guilt Trip)
Michelle Williams (Take This Waltz)
Maggie Smith (Quartet)

Laura Linney (Hyde Park on Hudson)
Possibilities
Leslie Mann (This Is 40)
Kristen Wiig (Imogene)
Julianne Moore (What Maisie Knew)

Viola Davis (Won't Back Down)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (Won't Back Down)
Melissa Leo (Francine)
Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games)
Rashida Jones (Celeste and Jesse Forever)
Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks)
Toni Collette (Jesus Henry Christ)
Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue Sea)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Front-runners
Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
Dwight Henry (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
Alan Arkin (Argo)
John Goodman (Argo)

Major Threats
Bryan Cranston (Argo)
Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
Hal Holbrook (Promised Land)
Russell Crowe (Les Miserables)
Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
David Strathairn (Lincoln)

Michael Pena (End of Watch) NEW
Ewan McGregor (The Impossible)
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)
Ian McKellen (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)

Tom Hanks (Cloud Atlas)
Jim Broadbent (Cloud Atlas)

William H. Macy (The Sessions)
Jude Law (Anna Karenina)
Chris Tucker (Silver Linings Playbook)
Possibilities
Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
Woody Harrelson (Seven Psychopaths)
James Gandolfini (Not Fade Away)
Irfan Khan (Life of Pi)
Josh Brolin (Men in Black 3)
Alan Arkin (Stand Up Guys)
Brad Pitt (Killing Them Softly)
Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises)
Tom Courtenay (Quartet)
Billy Connolly (Quartet)

Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
Samuel West (Hyde Park on Hudson)

Garrett Hedlund (On the Road)
Aaron Paul (Smashed)

Justin Timberlake (Trouble With the Curve)
Still Awaiting Domestic Distribution and/or Release Date
Casey Affleck (Out of the Furnace)
Chris O'Dowd (The Sapphires)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Front-runners
Amy Adams (The Master)
Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
Samantha Barks (Les Miserables)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Major Threats
Kerry Washington (Django Unchained)
Ann Dowd (Compliance)
Maggie Smith (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)
Susan Sarandon (Arbitrage)
Kelly Reilly (Flight)
Melissa Leo (Flight)
Halle Berry (Cloud Atlas)

Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy)
Amy Adams (Trouble With the Curve)
Possibilities
Emma Watson (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
Tabu (Life of Pi)
Kristen Stewart (On the Road)
Vanessa Redgrave (Song for Marion)
Pauline Collins (Quartet)
Maggie Smith (Quartet)
Olivia Williams (Hyde Park on Hudson)
Olivia Colman (Hyde Park on Hudson)
Isabelle Huppert (Amour)
Gina Gershon (Killer Joe)
Elizabeth Banks (People Like Us)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Front-runners
Lincoln (Tony Kushner)
Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell)
Argo (Chris Terrio)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin)
Les Miserables (William Nicholson)
Major Threats
Life of Pi (David Magee)
Hitchcock (John McLaughlin)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Philippa Boyens, Guillermo Del Toro, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh)
The Sessions (Ben Lewin)
The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan)
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Ol Parker)
The Intouchables (Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano)
Cloud Atlas (Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski)

Possibilities
Rust and Bone (Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain)
Anna Karenina (Tom Stoppard)
The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray, Gary Ross)
The Avengers (Joss Whedon)
Rise of the Guardians (William Joyce)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)
On the Road (Jose Rivera)
Quartet (Ronald Harwood)
Killing Them Softly (Andrew Dominik)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Front-runners
Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)
Zero Dark Thirty (Mark Boal)
The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Amour (Michael Haneke)
Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson)
Major Threats
Promised Land (Matt Damon, John Krasinski)
Flight (John Gatins)
Arbitrage (Nicholas Jarecki)
End of Watch (David Ayer)
NEW
The Impossible (Sergio G. Sanchez)
Ginger & Rosa (Sally Potter)
NEW
Not Fade Away (David Chase)
Brave (Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman)
Possibilities
Looper (Rian Johnson)
The Guilt Trip (Dan Fogelman)
Stand Up Guys (Noah Haidle)
Trouble With the Curve (Randy Brown)
To Rome With Love (Woody Allen)
Hyde Park on Hudson (Richard Nelson)
Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan)
Celeste and Jesse Forever (Rashida Jones, Will McCormack)
For a Good Time, Call... (Lauren Miller, Katie Anne Naylon)

Still Awaiting Domestic Distribution and/or Release Date
Out of the Furnace (Scott Cooper)
The Sapphires (Tony Briggs, Keith Thompson)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Front-runners
Brave (Pixar, 6/22, PG, trailer)
Rise of the Guardians (DreamWorks Animation, 11/21, TBA, trailer)
Wreck-It Ralph (Disney, 11/2, TBA, trailer)
Frankenweenie (Disney, 10/5, TBA, trailer)

ParaNorman (Focus Features, 8/17, PG, trailer)
Major Threats
From Up on Poppy Hill (GKIDS, TBA, TBA, trailer)
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Sony Animation, 4/27, PG, trailer)

Hotel Transylvania (Sony Animation, 9/28, TBA, trailer)
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (DreamWorks Animation, 6/8, PG, trailer)
Possibilities
Le Tableau (GKIDS, TBA, TBA, trailer)
The Rabbi's Cat (GKIDS, TBA, TBA, trailer)
Zarafa (GKIDS, TBA, TBA, trailer)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Front-runners
The Gatekeepers (Sony Pictures Classics, TBA, TBA, clip)
Searching for Sugar Man (Sony Pictures Classics, 7/27, PG-13, trailer)

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (Sundance Selects, 7/27, R, trailer)
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (HBO Documentaries, TBA, TBA, trailer)
West of Memphis (Sony Pictures Classics, 12/25, TBA, trailer)
Major Threats
Stories We Tell (Roadside Attractions, TBA, TBA, trailer)
Central Park Five (Sundance Selects, TBA, TBA, trailer)
The House I Live In (Charlotte Street Films, 10/5, NR, trailer)

Head Games (Variance Films, 9/21, PG-13, trailer)
First Position (Sundance Selects, 5/4, NR, trailer)
Detropia (Loki Films, 9/7, TBA, trailer)
Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare (Roadside Attractions, 10/5, TBA, trailer)

The Invisible War (Docurama, 6/22, NR, trailer)
How to Survive a Plague (Sundance Selects, 9/21, TBA, trailer)
Love, Marilyn (HBO Documentaries, TBA, TBA, TBA)
Possibilities
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (Magnolia, 3/9, PG, trailer)
Marley (Magnolia, 4/20, PG-13, trailer)
The Queen of Versailles (Magnolia, 7/20, PG, trailer)
Brooklyn Castle (Producers Distribution Agency, 10/19, TBA, trailer)
The Waiting Room (International Film Circuit, 9/26, trailer)
The Zen of Bennett (Abramorama, 10/24, TBA, trailer)
NEW
Scenes of a Crime (New Box Productions, 3/30, NR, trailer)
Chasing Ice (Submarine Entertainment, TBA, TBA, TBA)
Neil Young Journeys (Sony Pictures Classics, 6/29, PG, trailer)
Bully (The Weinstein Co., 3/30, PG-13, trailer)
Side by Side (Tribeca Films, 8/31, TBA, trailer)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FEATURE
Front-runners
Austria -- Amour
France -- The Intouchables
Denmark -- A Royal Affair
Switzerland -- Sister

Israel -- Fill the Void NEW
Major Threats
Romania -- Beyond the Hills
South Korea -- Pieta
Germany -- Barbara
Australia -- Lore

Canada -- War Witch
Japan -- Our Homeland
Bosnia and Herzegovina -- Children of Sarajevo
Hungary -- Just the Wind
Bulgaria -- Sneakers
Greece -- Unfair World

Possibilities
Philippines -- Bwakaw
Chile -- No NEW
Portugal -- Blood of My Blood
Serbia -- When Day Breaks
Belgium -- Our Children
Morocco -- Death for Sale
Netherlands -- Kauwboy

Norway -- Kon-Tiki
Sweden -- The Hypnotist
Mexico -- After Lucia
Iceland -- The Deep NEW
Czech Republic -- In the Shadow

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Front-runners
Lincoln
The Master
Django Unchained
Beasts of the Southern Wild

Life of Pi
Major Threats
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Zero Dark Thirty
Les Miserables
The Dark Knight Rises

Anna Karenina
Possibilities
Hitchcock
Moonrise Kingdom
Argo
Cloud Atlas
The Hunger Games
Sister

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Front-runners
Anna Karenina
Snow White and the Huntsman

Les Miserables
Django Unchained
Lincoln

Major Threats
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Cloud Atlas
Moonrise Kingdom

Possibilities
Life of Pi
Hitchcock
The Hunger Games
The Avengers
Mirror Mirror

BEST FILM EDITING
Front-runners
Lincoln
Zero Dark Thirty
The Master
Django Unchained
Argo

Major Threats
Silver Linings Playbook
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
The Dark Knight Rises
Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Cloud Atlas
Possibilities
Flight
The Bourne Legacy
Hitchcock

Moonrise Kingdom
The Avengers

The Hunger Games
The Impossible

BEST MAKEUP
Front-runners
Cloud Atlas
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Lincoln

Major Threats
The Master
Django Unchained
The Dark Knight Rises
Anna Karenina
Hitchcock

Possibilities
Men in Black 3
The Impossible
The Hunger Games
Hyde Park on Hudson

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Front-runners
Lincoln (John Williams)
The Master (Johnny Greenwood)

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Dan Romer, Benh Zeitlin)
Zero Dark Thirty (Alexandre Desplat)
Argo (Alexandre Desplat)

Major Threats
The Dark Knight Rises (Hans Zimmer)
Life of Pi (Mychael Danna)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Howard Shore)
Moonrise Kingdom (Alexandre Desplat)
Anna Karenina (Dario Marianelli)
Django Unchained (Mary Ramos)

Hitchcock (Danny Elfman)
Possibilities
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Thomas Newman)
Rust and Bone (Alexandre Desplat)
The Hunger Games (James Newton Howard)
The Impossible (Fernando Velazquez)
Cloud Atlas (Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek, Tom Tykwer)
Flight (Alan Silvestri)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Front-runners
Lincoln
Les Miserables
Anna Karenina
Django Unchained
Zero Dark Thirty

Major Threats
Cloud Atlas
The Master
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Dark Knight Rises
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Argo
Moonrise Kingdom

Possibilities
Life of Pi
The Impossible
Snow White and the Huntsman
Flight
The Avengers
The Hunger Games
Skyfall

BEST SOUND EDITING
Front-runners
Lincoln
Django Unchained
The Dark Knight Rises
The Avengers

Zero Dark Thirty

Major Threats
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
The Master
Argo
Flight

Possibilities
Skyfall
The Amazing Spider-Man
Cloud Atlas
The Impossible
The Bourne Legacy
The Hunger Games

Still Awaiting Domestic Distribution and/or Release Date
The Sapphires

BEST SOUND MIXING
Front-runners
Lincoln
Django Unchained
The Dark Knight Rises
The Avengers
Les Miserables

Major Threats
Zero Dark Thirty
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Life of Pi
The Master
Argo
Flight
Skyfall

Possibilities
The Amazing Spider-Man
Cloud Atlas
The Impossible
The Bourne Legacy
The Hunger Games

Still Awaiting Domestic Distribution and/or Release Date
The Sapphires

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Front-runners
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Cloud Atlas
Life of Pi

The Dark Knight Rises
The Avengers
Major Threats
The Amazing Spider-Man
Flight

Possibilities
The Bourne Legacy
Skyfall

* * *

ABOUT SCOTT FEINBERG "FEINBERG FORECAST"

Scott Feinberg is one of the film industry's most trusted awards analysts and has one of the world's best track records at forecasting the Oscars, something that he has been doing since 2001. His best showings came in 2006 (when he correctly called 21 of 24 winners) and 2004 (when he correctly called 20 of 24 winners). He was the only pundit to project long-shot best picture nominations for The Reader (2008), The Blind Side (2009) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011).

Scott factors into his projections personal impressions (based on advance screenings at festivals or elsewhere), publicly available information (release dates, genres, talent rosters and teasers/trailers often offer valuable clues), historical considerations (comparing and contrasting how other films with similar pedigrees have resonated with the Academy), precursor awards (some awards groups have better track records than others of correlating with the Academy) and regular conversations with industry insiders (including fellow members of the press, awards strategists, filmmakers and voters).