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Oscar Talk: What Can Topple The Artist? New Ballots Change Race; Top Five Actresses; Lagging Christmas Contenders

Oscar Talk: What Can Topple The Artist? New Ballots Change Race; Top Five Actresses; Lagging Christmas Contenders

In this week’s Oscar Talk, after a holiday hiatus Kris Tapley and I come back to assess the Oscar race just as Academy voters get their ballots in the mail.

This time, there will be five slots for an undetermined number of Best Picture candidates. Any movie that gets too many third, fourth and fifth place votes won’t register in the final outcome. This could leave popular titles without passionate fans–such as “Moneyball” or “Midnight in Paris”– in the lurch.

I agree that it’s better for Oscar voters to select five movies that they love than to stretch to include a bunch of movies they just like. But if the idea behind the change was to boost more popular titles into the Oscar Show, the Academy could still wind up with a less mainstream list. My wicked fantasy: so many people in the Academy put “Melanchoilia” and “Shame” in the number one spot that they wind up in the Top Five.

Thus, even though Kris and I agree on the top eight films, we could be totally wrong. My guess at the top five: “The Artist,” “The Descendants,” “Hugo,” “War Horse” and “The Help,” followed by “Moneyball,” “Midnight in Paris” and “The Tree of Life.”

We assess the Best Actress race and agree that the SAG five will probably prevail, as “Young Adult” has joined the lengthening list of weak Oscar contenders that includes late-year Christmas entries “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Meanwhile Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse” could gain momentum going forward, with strong box office. 

And we both agree that the Academy played it too dull and safe with the ugly new Oscar poster.

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Brooks missing for SAG. Maybe because of the late start of their campaign? You see ads of Shame, Margin Call, the Artists…etc looping on these sites for a month before we started see some ads for Brooks and co. from Drive in recent weeks. And did they even screen it for the guilds before Dec.? And were we really sure that critics were going to like Drive before all the awards started rolling out? We heard no indication here or in any other pundits sites. I would still kind of give Drive some credits to have come this far.


Kris Tapley really must stop inflicting his ennui and total lack of curiosity on those of us who are interested in more lively conversations about the movies. Poor Anne, who tries to exihibit exuberance while in the presence of Charlton Heston's wood, has no chance with this dullard in killjoy dress.


Anne wrote: "Young Adult" has joined the lengthening list of weak Oscar contenders"— weak?! How in the world is Young Adult weak? Because SAG voters were too afraid to go for something that is truly challenging, dark, and actually awards worthy? I know you enjoyed Charlize Theron's performance Anne, so you may agree with me when I saw that the SAG voters are a bunch of cowards for going for "safe" performances. You mention how they are more mainstream than the Academy, and while that may be true, they are also incredibly dull. Snubbing Albert Brooks, Drive- Michael Fassbender, Shame- and Charlize Theron- Young Adult– unarguably three of the best performances of the year for Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs- Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar- Armie Hammer, J. Edgar— truly sickens me. I hope the Academy reverses this trend (although I wouldn't mind so much if DiCaprio is nominated because he is quite good in an otherwise bad film) and nominates WORTHY performances. It saddens me that Young Adult is being dismissed by nominating committees yet many critics have put this film on their top 10 lists and it has gotten great reviews (it is sitting at the same metacritic score as Dragon Tattoo and is well above We Need to Talk About Kevin, Albert Nobbs, The Help, My Week with Marilyn, and The Iron Lady). This is so depressing.

Bryan Aherns

If you like a movie that steals from Fredric March's character in A Star is Born, be my guest. I am not voting for The Artist as "Best" anything.

Rick Marsh

Several comments have asked about "Extremely Loud..". My wife and I both thought it was trite and very poorly done. I couldn't wait for it to be over.

Rick Marsh

Your list misses some of the TRULY best films of the year, which are foreign films. Some of the best are "Incendies" and "Sarah's Key", "le Havre", "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia" (seen at the NY Film Festival), "The Double Hour", "Of Gods and Men". An English language Indie that I loved was "Another Earth", which was poignant on several levels. "Margin Call" also deserves mention–I'm in the financial services industry, and I can tell you that this film was spot on accurate in depicting how some on Wall Street behave.


Holy moley! Not only do you have one of the most annoying voices I've ever heard, but you're also incredibly thick. How many times must it be repeated before it sinks into your lame brain? Midnight in Paris IS loved, and it IS top 5, displacing either Hugo or The Help. And Moneyball and Tree 0f Life will figure at all.


Though I am a fan of The Descendants very few of my friends who are movie buffs were crazy about the movie. They mentioned to me they didn't like the screenplay. Does the Academy really like the film?

I dread a War Horse upsurge. Not do I want to see Spielberg get a third Oscar.

Not sure why Ben Kingsley is being ignored this year. He's giving an exemplary supporting actor performance in Hugo.

David M

I haven't seen extremely loud and incredibly close but tree of life is garbage. film critic put it on the top 11 worst movies of 2011.


I hope the Academy goes bold and includes both Tree of Life and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

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