“Best Picture” Oscar Predictions

#1The Artist

Updated (1/20/12 at 9:56 AM): With wins at the Critics Choice and Golden Globe Awards, The Artist has definitely made the leap toward being the Best Picture front-runner, but I don’t see it as far ahead as some others.

Updated (12/19/11 at 12:59 PM): Since the last time I updated my comments here The Artist has been named the best film of the year by the New York, Washington D.C. and Boston Film Critics and many are considering it the front-runner to win the big prize. I’m not convinced yet.

Updated (10/26/11 at 12:04 PM): The Artist continues to win over festival crowds recently taking prizes at both the Chicago and Hamptons International Film Festivals. With all the love it has received I’d say it is the favorite amongst films that have been seen, but until Extremely Loud and War Horse are seen they remain my two favorites.

Updated (9/20/11 at 4:55 PM): The love for The Artist continued in a big way in Toronto and with the Weinsteins behind it I am beginning to come on board and am considering this a top contender for Best Picture. I guess I really should see it again when it comes out in November.

Can a silent French film find its way into the heart of the Best Picture race? People love to point at the Academy and chastise how old their thinking is, does that mean this is a film they are likely to praise? I honestly can’t tell where I stand on this one, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it climbing the charts over the following months.


Updated (1/20/12 at 9:58 AM): With a Best Director win for Martin Scorsese this is one film that is making a serious bid to be taken serious in the Best Picture category. I have it competing for several technical awards, but can it take the big one?

Updated (12/19/11 at 1:06 PM): It’s in! Hugo is the film that has me bumping my predictions from seven noms to eight and at this point I now believe it is in even if I decide to swing it back to seven nominees. There is too much goodwill out there for Scorsese’s latest to think otherwise.

Updated (11/28/11 at 7:46 AM): Hugo has been seen and largely adored by the masses and enjoyed a rather impressive roll-out in only 1,277 theaters. This one is going to come down to staying power, but I must admit the overwhelming critical response has definitely bumped it up a notch.

After a pair of work print screenings there is definitely an appreciation for Martin Scorsese’s 3D ode to the silent era with a film that sounds as if it will play well to the family audience while holding a particular appreciation for filmmakers and film lovers. Not exactly bad qualifications if you’re looking to be a Best Picture contender.

#4The Help

Updated (2/21/12 at 6:14 PM): The actors may end up behind it, but I just don’t think it will have enough support to push it over the edge.

Updated (1/20/12 at 9:57 AM): I see The Help being neck-and-neck with Hugo in third place as both have scooped up some solid award recognition, most notably in the acting categories for The Help, which is where an ensemble win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards could really boost their efforts.

Updated (12/19/11 at 1:03 PM): The Help doesn’t necessarily have to be considered the best film of the year in the precursors, but the fact it received three individual acting nominations from the Screen Actors Guild along with a fourth nomination for ensemble tells me the largest branch in the Academy may be able to propel this film to top contender status in the blink of an eye.

Updated (9/20/11 at 5:01 PM): The cast of The Help will be recognized at the Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony on October 24 with the “Hollywood Ensemble Acting Award.” That doesn’t hurt its chances of sticking around for a while.

Can The Help stick around long enough to be a contender come the end of the year? People like it and it fits the criteria for a typical Best Picture contender as Bill already discussed. My biggest question is to ask whether it’s too safe, too vanilla? I think we’ll know sooner rather than later once the major September festivals are over.


Updated (1/3/12 at 2:20 PM): I’m beginning to think the last spot in the Best Picture race may end up a battle between Moneyball and The Ides of March and whether there are seven or eight nominees could prove to be the difference.

Updated (12/19/11 at 1:05 PM): A great movie and one that will be sticking around and earning an Oscar nomination though it feels like a film that will remain in the middle of the pack, always a nominee, but never a top prize contender.

Updated (9/20/11 at 5:03 PM): I really liked Moneyball and several other critics agree. A few days before its release and it’s sitting pretty with a 91% rating at RottenTomatoes and audiences are expected to eat it up as it will serve just about every moviegoer in a positive way.

Just like The Help, I wonder if this film is playing softball or hardball. The first trailer carried a tone that made it seem like it wasn’t going to take many risks, but we’ll know soon enough just what kind of film we’re seeing as it will play early at the Toronto Film Festival.

#6Midnight in Paris

Updated (12/19/11 at 1:04 PM): As Teddy KGB would say, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris is just “hanging around” and while I now have it on the cusp of being nominated I still think it will manage to be included among the Best Picture nominees.

Updated (10/26/11 at 3:12 PM): Well, one day you’re out and the next you’re in. Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris moves back into my top seven.

Updated (9/20/11 at 4:58 PM): As much as it pains me to do so, I have to move Woody Allen’s early year contender out of the top slots. I just don’t think there is enough room among the nominees for the likes of The Help (which I think is pretty much a lock at this point) and Moneyball. If Moneyball were to bounce out and Ides of March back in then maybe I’ll have to re-evaluate, but for now the math says, “Nope.”

Woody Allen’s latest film has generated a lot of attention not only because it’s a great film but because it’s the writer/director’s highest grossing film ever with over $51 million domestically and over $85 million worldwide. Right now I’d say this is the only film that’s been released so far that is a bonafide Best Picture nominee and I wouldn’t discount its chances for director and screenplay either.

#7Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Updated (12/19/11 at 12:58 PM): I’ve seen it (my review here) and I loved it. However, the only other reviews out there come from the trades where both The Hollywood Reporter and Variety don’t really offer much of an opinion, instead opting to remain relatively neutral.

Here in lies the problem, no one is talking about this film. They can, but they won’t and as such I don’t know what to do with it. It’s the kind of film I think the Academy would fall all over themselves to support, but without any buzz it’s hard to gauge where it lies, thus I must drop it from its #1 perch for the first time on my predictions this year.

Updated (10/1/11 at 11:40 AM): The trailer premiered on Wednesday, September 28 (watch it here) and the reaction was, for the most part, positive. Some of the reader comments called it “sappy and emotionally manipulative,” but as another reader puts it, “Definitely looks sappy and feel-good…which means it should be right up the Academy’s alley.”

Beyond the pre-judgment, however, the question is whether or not it will be any good. There’s some quality early buzz so for now things still look pretty good.

In the early stages of the Oscar race there are obvious contenders that stand out and when you consider a film starring the likes of Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, John Goodman, Viola Davis and Jeffrey Wright; directed by Stephen Daldry (The Hours, The Reader); and written by Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) that’s an adaptation of the Sept. 11-themed novel by Jonathan Safran Foer you pretty much say to yourself, Yup, that’s a serious Best Picture contender.

Now, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has to live up to that billing if it hopes to remain at the top of the pile. 

#8The Tree of Life

Updated (12/19/11 at 1:08 PM): I have not had anything to really say about Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life since opening up the doors on my predictions, but with the San Francisco and Chicago Film Critics naming it the best film of the year and support for Jessica Chastain in her supporting role it would seem there is a resurgence. Who knows, it just might be able to get in after all.

It won Cannes Palme d’Or, but I don’t see it standing among the Best Picture nominees at the Oscars. It’s too much of an enigma. Too personal. Too fractured. Too Malick. 

#9War Horse

Updated (1/20/12 at 9:58 AM): Slipping and sliding, Spielberg’s WWI epic is going to have to scratch and claw for a Best Picture nomination at this point.

Updated (12/19/11 at 1:01 PM): Sappy to the point you walk out of the theater sticky with Speilberg’s sentimentality I have a hard time removing my opinion of this film from my predictions, but I am able to push my thoughts aside long enough to say I don’t think we’re looking at a Best Picture winner here.

Updated (11/28/11 at 8:15 AM): War Horse is finally being seen by critics as early sneak screenings are being held and the early word seems too mixed for this film to be considered among the top three, but it is certainly in the hunt.

Updated (10/1/11 at 11:42 AM): Disney has pretty much allowed this film to stay the course by not offering anything more than a trailer and recently debuting the poster. It’s a Steven Spielberg film so it will stay highly ranked until it’s finally seen.

Steven Spielberg directs a World War I epic based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel, which was also adapted into a stage play that won five Tonys including best play. The trailer had people crying and praising a snippet of John Williams’ score. What else do you need to declare a film one of the year’s site-unseen front-runners.


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