In the past 72 hours, a seemingly endless parade of groups have announced their annual film award nominations, including the three most reliable Oscar predictors: Critics' Choice, SAG and the Golden Globes.
You can check out nominations for all three here, but here's what really went down: The Oscar race just went from quite murky to nearly crystal clear:
1. "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" gets all but shut out. Waiting until the last minute to debut a film is not always the best tactic; it's unclear if that's the reason Stephen Daldry's would-be Oscar bait "Extremely Loud" got snubbed across almost every precursor. While it did nab a best picture nomination from the Critics' Choice, it failed to receive a single nomination from the SAGs or Golden Globes. That gives the film — reviews for which are still under embargo — a considerable uphill battle for Oscar recognition.
2. Sorry, Gary Oldman. So who is this year's Leslie Manville? None other than Manville's ex-husband, Gary Oldman. The non-Oscar nominee will likely continue his reign as one of the Academy's greatest snubees as his work in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" went unnoticed by essentially all the precursors.
3. There's no such thing as too much Jessica Chastain. After splitting prizes at critics groups between three of her 10,000 roles this year ("The Tree of Life," "Take Shelter" and "The Help"), it seems like folks have finally settled on her work in the latter. The Globes, SAG and Critics' Choice all gave her a nod for "The Help," and it seems likely the Oscars will follow suit. Which puts a nice end to one of the most extraordinary breakout years for any actor in recent memory.
4. George Clooney got SEVEN nominations between the three groups. Between producing, directing, writing and starring in "The Ides of March" as well as his lead role in "The Descendants," Mr. Clooney nabbed more nominations than most films did altogether. Notably, four of them came from the Clooney-hungry Globes, giving him a new grand total of 13 nominations there (including the three he got for "ER").
5. It's all about the cross-dressers. Perhaps not the politically correct term for Glenn Close and Janet McTeer's characters from "Albert Nobbs" (though "transgendered" doesn't fit either), they nonetheless join Leonardo diCaprio of "J. Edgar" as three actors nominated for roles in which they play with gender roles. In the likelihood they all head Oscar way, that will up make 15% of all acting nominations.
6. Melissa McCarthy gets SAG and Critics Choice nods… and nothing from the Globes. "Bridesmaids" had a surprisingly big few days, taking multiple nominations from all three groups (including an ensemble nod from SAG and a best picture nod from the Globes). Its best chance at nabbing an Oscar nom is most certainly for Melissa McCarthy's supporting performance, which received both SAG and Critics' Choice noms but no love at the Globes. Of all the groups, that seemed the most likely one to embrace a comedic performance, so who knows how Oscar will react.
7. Jonah Hill, Oscar nominee? Speaking of the Oscars embracing comic actors, it seems like Jonah Hill could get a nod for his more dramatic turn in "Moneyball." In a supporting actor race filled with Oscarless veterans like Christopher Plummer, Nick Nolte, Albert Brooks and Kenneth Branagh, Hill could very well be the only actor under 50 to make the cut.
8. Corey Stoll was not the only strange omission from the SAG Ensemble Cast nominations. A dark horse in the supporting actor race, Corey Stoll was oddly not among the listed nominees when "Midnight in Paris" received an ensemble nomination from the SAG Awards (neither were castmates Tom Hiddleston or Alison Pill). Meanwhile, the glorified cameo from French First Lady Carla Bruni made the cut. Also omitted? Nick Krause and Amara Miller of "The Descendants," despite much bigger roles than listed nominees Robert Forster and Judy Greer, and — more reasonably — Uggie The Dog from "The Artist."
9. Michael Fassbender and Tilda Swinton are looking pretty darn good for Oscar nominations: For months, Oscar prognosticators suggested "Shame" and "We Need To Talk About Kevin" would be too dark and challenging for Oscar voters. Perhaps that will end up being the case, but so far its stars Fassbender and Swinton are taking precursors left and right, suggesting Oscar will probably take notice as well.
10. Oh, and "The Artist" is winning best picture. It's dominated the nominations for pretty much everything and the two films that seemed like they could beat it — "War Horse" and aforementioned "Extremely Loud" — are losing a whole lot of steam. Yes, it's early, but the thought of anything beating "The Artist" for Oscar's biggest prize is difficult to muster.