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NOV
27
3 YEARS

FEINBERG FORECAST: 'War Horse' Screens, 'Hugo' Surges, 'The Artist' Remains Steady

THR's awards expert Scott Feinberg offers his latest take on the Oscar race.

War Horse - H 2011
DreamWorks
"War Horse"

What follows is my latest assessment of all of the high-profile Oscar categories, along with commentary about what/who has positive and negative momentum at the moment in each of them. I welcome your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of the post.

BEST PICTURE
Frontrunners
The Artist (The Weinstein Company, 11/23, PG-13, trailer)
War Horse (Disney, 12/25, PG-13, trailer)
The Descendants (Fox Searchlight, 11/23, R, trailer)
The Help (Disney, 8/12, PG-13, trailer)
Hugo (Paramount, 11/23, PG, trailer)
Midnight in Paris (Sony Pictures Classics, 5/20, PG-13, trailer)
Moneyball (Columbia, 9/23, PG-13, trailer)
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Warner Bros., 12/25, PG-13, trailer)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sony, 12/21, R, trailer)
J. Edgar (Warner Bros., 11/11, R, trailer)
Major Threats
Margin Call (Roadside Attractions, 10/21, R, trailer)
The Ides of March (Sony, 10/14, R, trailer)
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Focus Features, 12/9, R, trailer)
The Tree of Life (Fox Searchlight, 5/27, PG-13, trailer)
The Iron Lady (The Weinstein Company, 12/30, PG-13, teaser)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2 (Warner Bros., 7/15, PG-13, trailer)
Shame (Fox Searchlight, 12/2, NC-17, trailer)
Beginners (Focus Features, 6/3, R, trailer)
Possibilities
We Bought a Zoo (20th Century Fox, 12/23, PG, trailer)
My Week with Marilyn (The Weinstein Company, 11/23, R, trailer)
50/50 (Summit, 9/30, R, trailer)
Young Adult (Paramount, 12/9, R, trailer)
Carnage (Sony Pictures Classics, 12/16, R, trailer)
Super 8 (Paramount, 6/10, PG-13, trailer)
Drive (FilmDistrict, 9/16, R, trailer)
In the Land of Blood and Honey (FilmDistrict, 12/23, R, trailer)

Scorsese's 3D family flick opened this weekend, generating virtually unanimous rave reviews (it's at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes) and $11.35 million, which is very respectable considering it played at only 1,277 theaters. Its $9,000 per-theater take was better than any other new film.
The densely-layered Cold War-era spy flick still needs to be seen by audiences, but industry insiders repeatedly tell me they have a hard time following it, much less being inspired by it. With the rise of The Iron Lady, the Academy's British contingent now has another hometown option.

PHOTOS: The Making of 'The Artist'

BEST DIRECTOR
Frontrunners
Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Steven Spielberg (War Horse)
Alexander Payne (The Descendants)
Tate Taylor (The Help)
Martin Scorsese (Hugo)
Major Threats
Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
Bennett Miller (Moneyball)
Stephen Daldry (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
David Fincher (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Clint Eastwood (J. Edgar)

Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life)
Possibilities
George Clooney (The Ides of March)
Steve McQueen (Shame)
J.C. Chandor (Margin Call)
Tomas Alfredson (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy)
Phyllida Lloyd (The Iron Lady)
Jason Reitman (Young Adult)

Not everyone loves the film, but virtually everyone seems to agree that it marks a return to the sort of filmmaking for which its director is famous -- well-crafted, sweeping in scope, and tremendously emotionally moving. It's been a while, but -- the consensus seems to be -- Spielberg is back.
The film looks like a decent enough bet for a SAG ensemble nod and perhaps nods in the supporting actor category there, at the Globes, and maybe even at the Oscars. Individual recognition for its first-time feature writer/director, however, looks to be a bridge too far.

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BEST ACTOR
Frontrunners
Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
George Clooney (The Descendants)
Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar)

Michael Fassbender (Shame)
Major Threats
Michael Shannon (Take Shelter)
Woody Harrelson (Rampart)
Gary Oldman (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy)
Matt Damon (We Bought a Zoo)
Ryan Gosling (The Ides of March)
Ryan Gosling (Drive)
Possibilities
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (50/50)
Paul Giamatti (Win Win)
Demian Bichir (A Better Life)
Ralph Fiennes (Coriolanus)
Daniel Craig (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Thomas Horn (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
Zachary Quinto (Margin Call)

Early reactions to the film, which had its first sneak screenings this weekend, have far exceeded most people's expectations, and the best feedback has gone to its star, who is one of Hollywood's most likable personalities on screen (as captured in this film) and off.
I'm not yet ready to drop the three-time Oscar nominee on my charts, but it's hard to imagine that the mixed-leaning-negative feelings toward the film (which is now at a dismal 41% on Rotten Tomatoes) won't impact everyone associated with it.

BEST ACTRESS
Frontrunners
Viola Davis (The Help)
Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)
Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs)
Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Major Threats
Charlize Theron (Young Adult)
Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene)
Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
Keira Knightley (A Dangerous Method)
Michelle Yeoh (The Lady)
Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre)
Possibilities
Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia)
Ellen Barkin (Another Happy Day)
Felicity Jones (Like Crazy)
Adepero Oduye (Pariah)
Rachel Weisz (The Whistleblower)

I don't think I've encountered one person who has a bad word to say about Williams downright-eery portrayal of Marilyn Monroe. Monroe's contemporaries -- many of whom are still alive and in the Academy -- are taking notice (see: Don Murray and Angie Dickinson), as did the New York Times this weekend.
Criminally, the buzz for this tour-de-force performance has come to a standstill, even if its impact continues to be felt beyond Hollywood -- the Secretary General of the United Nations recently arranged for the film to be screened at the UN followed by a panel discussion about the issues that it raises.

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Frontrunners
Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
Albert Brooks (Drive)
Jim Broadbent (The Iron Lady)
Kevin Spacey (Margin Call)
Major Threats
Jeremy Irons (Margin Call)
Jonah Hill (Moneyball)
Armie Hammer (J. Edgar)
Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn)
Ben Kingsley (Hugo)
Patton Oswalt (Young Adult)
Nick Nolte (Warrior)
Possibilities
Tom Hanks (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
Christoph Waltz (Carnage)
John C. Reilly (Carnage)
Stanley Tucci (Margin Call)
John Hawkes (Martha Marcy May Marlene)
Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes)
Brad Pitt (The Tree of Life)

The two-time Oscar winner is receiving his best reviews since American Beauty (1999) for his perf as a Wall Street insider who develops a conscience. Even though he's working abroad and therefore unable to campaign much on his own behalf, he is firmly at the center of Roadside's awards campaign.
One never wants to bet against an old Academy favorite like this one, but I'm told that his part in this film is miniscule, meaning that if anyone is going score a supporting nod for it it will, in all likelihood, be the long-overlooked veteran von Sydow.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Frontrunners
Octavia Spencer (The Help)
Shailene Woodley (The Descendants)
Berenice Bejo (The Artist)
Jessica Chastain (The Help)
Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs)

Major Threats
Sandra Bullock (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)
Vanessa Redgrave (Coriolanus)
Carey Mulligan (Shame)
Judy Greer (The Descendants)
Scarlett Johansson (We Bought a Zoo)
Evan Rachel Wood (The Ides of March)
Possibilities
Jessica Chastain (The Tree of Life)
Demi Moore (Margin Call) NEW
Jodie Foster (Carnage)
Kate Winslet (Carnage)
Judi Dench (J. Edgar)
Marion Cotillard (Midnight in Paris)
Elizabeth Reaser (Young Adult)

Ever since the film premiered in Telluride people have been talking about McTeer's performance as much as -- and in some circles even more than -- Glenn Close's, so Roadside has wisely made a point of having both of the Damages co-stars present at receptions, parties, and Q&As on both coasts.
The 24-year-old is, in my opinion, as good as she's ever been opposite Ryan Gosling in George Clooney's political-thriller, but the film got off on the wrong foot in Venice and Toronto and has never recovered from the bad buzz.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Frontrunners
Richard Curtis, Lee Hall (War Horse)
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash (The Descendants)
Tate Taylor (The Help)
John Logan (Hugo)
Stan Chervin, Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian (Moneyball)

Major Threats
Eric Roth (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
Steven Zaillian (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
George Clooney, Grant Heslov (The Ides of March)
Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy)

Possibilities
Pedro Almodovar (The Skin I Live In)
Cameron Crowe, Aline Brosh McKenna (We Bought a Zoo)
Roman Polanski (Carnage)
Christopher Hampton (A Dangerous Method)
Hossein Amini (Drive)

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BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Frontrunners
Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
Mike Mills (Beginners)
J.C. Chandor (Margin Call)

Tom McCarthy, Joe Tiboni (Win Win)
Major Threats
Dustin Lance Black (J. Edgar)
Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady)
Abi Morgan, Steve McQueen (Shame)
Diablo Cody (Young Adult)
Annie Mumolo, Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids)
James Ward Byrkit, John Logan, Gore Verbinski (Rango)
Possibilities
Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene)
Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life)
Will Reiser (50/50)
Asghar Farhadi (A Separation)
James Ellroy, Oren Moverman (Rampart)
Drake Doremus, Ben York Jones (Like Crazy)
Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter)

BEST ANIMATED FILM (FEATURE)
Frontrunners
Rango (Paramount, 3/4, PG, trailer)
The Adventures of Tintin (Paramount, 12/21, PG, trailer)
Cars 2 (Disney, 6/24, G, trailer)
Puss in Boots (DreamWorks, 11/4, PG, trailer)
Kung Fu Panda 2 (DreamWorks, 5/26, PG, trailer)

Major Threats
Happy Feet 2 (Warner Bros., 11/18, PG, trailer)
Rio (20th Century Fox, 4/15, G, trailer)
Arthur Christmas (Sony, 11/23, PG, trailer)
Possibilities
Winnie the Pooh (Disney, 7/15, G, trailer)
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked (20th Century Fox, 12/11, TBA, trailer)
The Smurfs (Sony, 7/29, PG, trailer)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM (FEATURE)
Frontrunners
If a Tree Falls (Oscilloscope, 6/22, TBA, trailer)
Project Nim (Roadside Attractions, 7/8, PG-13, trailer)
Buck (IFC Films, 6/17, PG,
trailer)
Bill Cunningham New York (Zeitgeist Films, 3/16, TBA, trailer)
Battle for Brooklyn (TBA, 6/17, TBA,
trailer
)
Major Threats
Long Way Home: The Loving Story (TBA, TBA, TBA, trailer)
Hell and Back Again (Docurama Films, 10/5, TBA, trailer)
Pina (Sundance Selects, 12/23, TBA, trailer)
Sing Your Song (HBO Documentary Films, 9/2, TBA,
trailer)
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (HBO Documentary Films, TBA, TBA,
trailer)
Possibilities
We Were Here (Red Flag Releasing, 9/?, TBA, trailer)
Undefeated (The Weinstein Company, 2/10, TBA, TBA)
Semper Fi: Always Faithful (TBA, TBA, TBA, trailer)
Under Fire: Journalists in Combat (TBA, TBA, TBA,
trailer)
Jane's Journey (First Run Features, TBA, TBA,
trailer)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Frontrunners
A Separation (Iran)
Where Do We Go Now? (Lebanon)
Le Havre (Finland)
A Simple Life (Hong Kong)
In Darkness (Poland)

Major Threats
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
Declaration of War (France)
Footnote (Israel)
Pina (Germany)
The Flowers of War (China)
Happy, Happy (Norway)
Terra Firma (Italy)
Sonny Boy (Netherlands)
Superclasico (Denmark)

Possibilities
Bullhead (Belgium)
Black Bread (Spain)
Postcard (Japan)
Omar Killed Me (Morocco)
The Turin Horse (Hungary)
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Turkey)
Montevideo: Taste of a Dream (Serbia)
Morgen (Romania)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Frontrunners
War Horse (Janusz Kaminski)
The Artist (Guillaume Schiffman)
The Tree of Life (Emmanuel Lubezki)
Hugo (Robert Richardson)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Jeff Cronenweth)

Major Threats
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Hoyte Van Hoytema)
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Chris Menges)
Drive (Newton Thomas Sigel)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Eduardo Serra)
Possibilities
The Descendants (Phedon Papamichael)
Shame (Sean Bobbitt)
J. Edgar (Tom Stern)
A Dangerous Method (Peter Suschitzky)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Frontrunners
Hugo (Sandy Powell)
The Artist (Mark Bridges)
Jane Eyre (Michael O'Connor)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Jacqueline Durran)

W.E (Arianne Phillips)

Major Threats
The Help (Sharen Davis)
J. Edgar (Deborah Hopper)
War Horse (Joanna Johnston)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Trish Summerville)
Albert Nobbs (Pierre-Yves Gayraud)

Possibilities
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Jany Temime)
Captain America (Anna B. Sheppard)
My Week with Marilyn (Jill Taylor)
Anonymous (Lisy Christl)
A Dangerous Method (Denise Cronenberg)
Immortals (Eiko Ishioka)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Frontrunners
War Horse (John Williams)
Hugo (Howard Shore)
The Adventures of Tintin (John Williams)

The Artist (Ludovic Bource)
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Alexandre Desplat)
Major Threats
Jane Eyre (Dario Marianelli)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Alberto Iglesias)
The Help (Thomas Newman)
The Ides of March (Alexandre Desplat)

Moneyball (Mychael Danna)
Possibilities
Super 8 (Michael Giacchino)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Alexandre Desplat)
A Dangerous Method (Howard Shore)
The Skin I Live In (Alberto Iglesias)
Midnight in Paris (Stephane Wrembel)
Margin Call (
Nathan Larson)