Sasha and I agree that it will definitely be nominated for Best Picture and there's a very good chance that its adorable moppet star, Quvenzhané Wallis, will nab a nom for Best Actress – yes, lead actress. Yesterday, when I met her for a video chat, I asked the precocious eight-year-old what she'll say at the podium on Oscar night if she wins. Stay tuned to Gold Derby to see her doozy reply for yourself.
"Beasts," granted, is brutally hard to watch – Jeff is especially freaked out by all of its slimy little beasts – just like the brutal "Precious" and "Winter's Bone," which both, let's recall, nabbed noms for Best Pic and lead actress. But it has the same kind of passionate core support as those other grueling flicks that ripped out your heart and flung it heavenward. "Beasts" just got a hefty push in the derby coming out of Cannes where it won the Grand Jury Prize.
Furthermore, Fox Searchlight is behind it – the same studio that championed "The Descendants," "127 Hours," "Black Swan," "Crazy Heart," "Slumdog Millionaire," "The Wrestler" and "Juno." Searchlight won't admit it, but I am sure the studio is releasing "Beasts" so early this summer so that it can slowly build its audience in limited release, then Searchlight will blitz Hollywood with DVDs early this fall, just like it did so successfully with "Little Miss Sunshine," which was the first DVD shipped to Oscar voters in 2006. "Sunshine" also had a sassy pixie girl at its heart (supporting actress nominee Abigail Breslin) and it earned four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. It won two -- Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Alan Arkin).
In our podcast, Jeff seems startled at my skepticism over the casting of Daniel Day-Lewis in "Lincoln," but, come on, he recently ruined "Nine" because Rob Marshall foolishly cast Bill the Butcher as lovable Guido. Abe Lincoln had a warm charm and a riotous sense of self-deprecating humor ("If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?" he once said) – two things you don't associate with Day-Lewis, who may end up giving us a brutally brooding Lincoln instead. That's my fear. I hope I'm wrong. I consider myself a Lincolnphile – so I'm eager to see the real deal.
Maybe we're foolish, but Sasha and I are both optimistic about "Les Miserables," too. Beyond that, Sasha, Jeff and I all think Quentin Tarantino is so ridiculously overdue for an Oscar that "Django Unchained" could get unleashed on the derby track and trot the distance. I have such fondness for "The Great Gatsy" that I even liked the widely ridiculed 1974 screen adaptation starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. If you recall my mad love for "Moulin Rouge," you can guess how much I'm anticipating seeing Baz Luhrmann's adaptation.
Here is Gold Derby's list of Oscar frontrunners referred to throughout the podcast.