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Oscar Contest: Category Highlight: Best Picture

February 20th, 2011

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which nominees should just feel honored to be nominated. This weekend we wrap things up and the final category is the most prestigious, Best Picture. With ten nominations, it's a crowded field; however, all but a couple of those are clearly long shots.

Best Picture

127 Hours
Tomatometer Score: 93% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Six
Golden Globe Nominations: Three
Golden Globe Wins: None
Guild Nominations: Three
Guild Wins: None
Notes: This film has been considered an Awards Season player practically since it was first announced. However, while it is has done well earning nominations, it hasn't been able to turn those nominations into wins. This might continue on Oscar night, leaving it zero for six. It is certainly an underdog to win this category. I feel almost mean talking about this film as if it has no shot at winning, especially considering its reviews, but it just hasn't won any major awards so far.

Black Swan
Tomatometer Score: 88% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Wins: One
Guild Nominations: Six
Guild Wins: One
Notes: This film is almost guaranteed to win an Oscar. However, that Oscar is Best Lead Actress and it is possible that will be the only Oscar the film wins. While many consider it one of the best films that came out in 2010, as shown by its reviews and nominations, relatively few consider it the best, as shown by its lack of wins in those categories. That said, this film is already a success in every regard, so the studio should be more than happy with just the nomination.

The Fighter
Tomatometer Score: 90% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Seven
Golden Globe Nominations: Six
Golden Globe Wins: Two
Guild Nominations: Seven
Guild Wins: Two
Notes: Another film that is virtually guaranteed to win an Oscar; in fact, most people think it will win both Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress Oscars. However, it is a long shot to win this award, as the only major awards it has been winning are in those two supporting acting categories. Although I'm sure the filmmakers would love to win Best Picture, it's a major feat to be a multi-Oscar winning film.

Inception
Tomatometer Score: 86% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Eight
Golden Globe Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Wins: None
Guild Nominations: Three
Guild Wins: One
Notes: On the one hand, this film did earn eight Oscar nominations. On the other hand, those were mostly for technical categories while its overall reviews were weak compared to the rest of the field. Returning the number of nominations for Best Picture to ten was done so films like this would get a nomination, but if Avatar can't win, what chance does this film have?

The Kids Are All Right
Tomatometer Score: 94% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Wins: Two
Guild Nominations: Five
Guild Wins: None
Notes: This is another film that would have no chance at earning a nomination if there were only five handed out. This is not because it is a bad movie, far from it; however, comedies are generally not taken as seriously by Award Season voters as dramas are. It did win the Golden Globe for Best Comedy or Musical, but that rarely translates into an Oscar win for Best Picture.

The King's Speech
Tomatometer Score: 95% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Twelve
Golden Globe Nominations: Seven
Golden Globe Wins: One
Guild Nominations: Six
Guild Wins: Four
Notes: The question surrounding this film is not whether or not it will be a winner on Oscar night, but whether or not it will be the winner on Oscar night. There is a chance the film will be swept up in a wave and a lot of Oscar voters will vote a straight ticket. Even if that doesn't happen, it is still one of the leading contenders for this award, if not the favorite. My biggest concern for the wave scenario is the film's relatively poor performance at the Golden Globes where The Social Network was the big winner. This could easily repeat itself on Oscar night.

The Social Network
Tomatometer Score: 97% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Eight
Golden Globe Nominations: Six
Golden Globe Wins: Four
Guild Nominations: Five
Guild Wins: One
Notes: This is the only film that has a real chance at stopping The King's Speech from becoming an Oscar juggernaut. It might be a tag-team effort between this film and Inception, with the latter sweeping the technical awards and this one winning the more prestigious ones. However, I think that is unlikely, as not only did The King's Speech earn more Oscar nominations, but it also did better among the guilds. It could still win here, but I don't think it is the favorite.

Toy Story 3
Tomatometer Score: 99% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Nominations: One
Golden Globe Wins: One
Guild Nominations: Two
Guild Wins: One
Notes: If this award was based purely on quality, Toy Story 3 would win. It did earn the best reviews of any wide release this year. However, being an animated film, it's chances are just this side of zero. Too many Awards Season voters just don't respect the medium, and I don't think that will change anytime soon. It certainly won't change in time for Toy Story 3 to win.

True Grit
Tomatometer Score: 95% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Ten
Golden Globe Nominations: None
Golden Globe Wins: None
Guild Nominations: Four
Guild Wins: None
Notes: This film was one of very few to earn ten or more Oscar nominations and it was one of the biggest box office hits on this list as well, and that does have some effect. However, there is a chance it could be shut out on Oscar night. It could win a couple of the technical awards, but it is not a favorite to win any of the big ones, despite being nominated for five of them. It was shut out for Golden Globe nominations, while it hasn't won a single Guild award. That adds up to a long shot.

Winter's Bone
Tomatometer Score: 95% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Nominations: One
Golden Globe Wins: None
Guild Nominations: Two
Guild Wins: None
Notes: The smallest film on this week's list and it has practically no shot at winning as a result. It's reviews are amazing compared to the average wide release, but when compared to the rest of this list, they are roughly average. And since it is the smallest film, it won't have as much studio support as the big guns will have. That it turn, will mean too many potential voters will not have seen it. Hopefully Oscar night will give it enough exposure that it will get a bounce on the home market, but that will have to be a consolation prize.

Conclusion: There are only three films on this list that have a good chance at winning three or more Oscars: Inception, The King's Speech, and The Social Network. However, Inception might only win technical awards, leaving the last two as the only two contenders in the battle to be the biggest winner on Oscar night. It could come down to whichever film takes home the Oscar for Best Picture. While I think Toy Story 3 should win, The King's Speech has a tiny advantage in this category.


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Filed under: Inception, The Fighter, Toy Story 3, True Grit, The Kids Are All Right, The Social Network, Winter's Bone, Black Swan, 127 Hours, The King’s Speech