EK: Are you tired yet? We've made it safely into a new year and have started to anticipate a full year of movies (including the 50 we previewed last Friday and loads more set to premiere at Sundance next week). But we have some unfinished business from 2012, as tomorrow's Oscar nominations will remind us, so the prognostication game is about to get a little more complicated. We've already dissected the reasons why some of the movies we loved last year won't make the cut even though this season is nevertheless noticeably diverse compared to other recent editions. I know we should expect strong showings from "Lincoln," "Argo," "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Les Misérables." And "Amour" will get some love, too. But what do you expect to be surprised by? Could "Django" sneak into the best picture category? Will Jafar Panahi land his first Oscar nomination for a movie he made under house arrest? Might the Academy unearth its hidden fanboy and throw some love to "The Avengers"? I'm just riffing here, but let's talk dark horses.
PK: For the first January in quite some time, I'm actually not tired. There so much up in the air leading into tomorrow that it's actually rather exciting, at least as far as I'm concerned. Most if not all of the major categories are ripe for surprise, though I wouldn't call "Django" making the cut much of a shocker. I fully expect it to get a best picture nomination along with "Argo," "Lincoln," "Les Mis," "Life of Pi," "Silver Linings" and "Zero Dark Thirty." Those are a sort of assumed seven, and if one of them doesn't make it, that would be a surprise.
It's what happens -- or doesn't happen -- with the 0-3 slots that may or may not be left that will be interesting. Arthouse options like "Amour," "The Master," "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Moonrise Kingdom" all have shots...as do big studio hits like "Skyfall." However, I'd wager "Skyfall" has stolen the wind from "The Avengers," or, say, "The Dark Knight Rises," from managing a best picture nomination -- especially with a sizable British voting bloc likely to give it a boost.
Nothing wrong with an embarrassment of riches, though. Who are you rooting for?