Hollywood's Guild nominees are more indicative of where the Oscar race is heading then the various critics' groups, which serve to put a spotlight on what Academy voters should see, and help start momentum behind certain contenders. But the Guilds actually overlap with Academy voters. Here are the five nominees:
Guillaume Schiffman, AFC ("The Artist")
Jeff Cronenweth, ASC ("The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo")
Robert Richardson, ASC (Hugo)
Hoyte van Hoytema, FSF, NSC (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC (The Tree of Life)
Thus Steven Spielberg's period "War Horse" is looking like a weak candidate indeed, as Janusz Kaminski did not land a nomination from the American Society of Cinematographers. Also notable is the inclusion instead of 2011 nominee Jeff Cronenweth ("The Social Network") for another David Fincher film, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," which is taking guild slots (ADG, WGA, DGA) that might have been expected to go to "War Horse." And as I predicted, while "The Tree of Life" has been making a poor showing so far with the Guilds (as opposed to critics groups), Emmanuel Lubezki does turn up here. Also showing continued strength is meticulously made period film "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."
While "The Descendants" was the only contender with a perfect record so far with the guilds (nommed by SAG, PGA, DGA, WGA and ADG), it was not to be expected that the low-budget relationship drama would score many technical awards. Steady as they go are "The Artist" and "Hugo." This group should also be the Oscar five. While Lubeszki (who won the ASC in 2007 for "Children of Men") could win the Oscar, note that respected Robert Richardson scored his 10th ASC nomination. The ASC winner often matches up with the Oscar-winner, as Wally Pfister did last year ("Inception").