The change in Oscar voting rules, so that only films earning hundreds of number one or two votes will land a Best Picture slot– leads to more speculation and excitement than ever this year. But it's already clear that there will be eight nominees, and we know what they are. In whatever order–and there will be movement between now and January 13, when the final nominations ballots are delivered–they will be:
- "The Artist"
- "The Descendants"
- "War Horse"
- "Midnight in Paris"
- "The Help"
- "The Tree of Life"
And that's it. Look at the Gurus 'o Gold list, which breaks down after a solid consensus on eight. Some of the following movies may land nominations, but the prospects of competing for Best Picture are slim: No "Ides of March" or "J. Edgar," even though the Academy loves actor-directors George Clooney and Clint Eastwood; no film from Oscar faves Stephen Daldry or David Fincher; no Brit entry "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," and no vulgar comedy "Bridesmaids." (Anyone who thinks the high-minded Academy is going that way is on crack.) The Wrap's Steve Pond has done the numbers, and he agrees with me. He tweets: "We recounted the Critics Choice Movie Awards ballots using the Oscar system. They'd have 8 best-pic nominees, not 10."
Here's the Oscar calendar (Hat Tip: Awards Daily):
▪ Tuesday, December 27, 2011: Nominations ballots mailed
▪ Friday, January 13, 2012: Nominations polls close 5 p.m. PT
▪ Tuesday, January 24, 2012: Nominations announced 5:30 a.m. PT
▪ Wednesday, February 1, 2012: Final ballots mailed
▪ Monday, February 6, 2012: Nominees Luncheon
▪ Saturday, February 11, 2012: Scientific & Technical Awards presentation
▪ Tuesday, February 21, 2012: Final polls close 5 p.m. PT
▪ Sunday, February 26, 2012: 84th Academy Awards presentation