The Oscar season is just kicking into high gear and our Experts are already shifting their predictions based on the reaction to contenders at Venice and Telluride.
(See all of our Experts' predix here. Click "Full Predix" link under each Expert's name to see their predix for the top Oscar races on one page.)
BELOW: Move your cursor across the graph to see the changing percentage of support for each contender, which is reflected in our racetrack odds generated by these predix. See more category charts like this one here.
"Even though there's been a lot of buzz for 'Les Miz,' I'm an 'Argo'-naut at this point in terms of Best Picture," Thelma Adams (Yahoo) asserts in a podcast chat with Gold Derby. "Because 'Silver Linings Playbook' hasn't played yet, we don't really know the roll-out. I would say that those two are the front-runners."
While "Silver Linings Playbook" will not open until Nov. 21, it's been seen by journos, but "Les Miserables," "Zero Dark Thirty," "Django Unchained" and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" have not and therefore they're wild cards – or rather wild ponies. Adams recalls the high early expectations last year for "War Horse," which tripped up once it hit the derby track.
Adams remains optimistic about "Les Miz," though ("the trailer looks yummy"), but doesn't think "Django" will be Oscar bait. "'Django Unchained' is going to be big and crazy and I don't really know if that will move the academy mountain," she says, but I disagree.
We do concur on this: "'The Master' is falling," she notes. "It came out of Venice hot, hot, hot … and now it's not, not, not"— at least in the Best Picture contest. Joaquin Phoenix remains a strong contender for Best Actor, of course, but he needs to slip by Daniel Day-Lewis ("Lincoln").
Weighing the lead actress derby, Adams zeroes in on the star of "Zero Dark Thirty": "I think it's interesting that they moved Jessica Chastain up to lead from supporting. She could've been nominated for – what? – five films last year and got in for 'The Help.' She has so much momentum behind her. I think that really changes the Best Actress race."
Click on one of the boxes below to subscribe to Gold Derby's podcasts. Here is RSS feed.
Back in the early days of the film's development, its three directors/writers Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer received terrifying news as they drove to Hanks' house in an attempt to woo him to take an acting role.
Lana Wachowski got a phone call from a Warner Bros. exec who said, "We don't want to be in on this movie, after all. We're taking back our offer."
"OK, so we have to go and convince Tom Hanks to be in this movie for no money and it's actually just been killed," she tells Gold Derby, recalling their desperation. "Even though we were destroyed by this information, Tom Hanks, in this meeting, in this very first meeting, said, 'This sounds great. I'm in! When do we start?' …. It gave us life again. We were resurrected in the span of that two-hour meeting."
"We walked in and the movie was dead," adds Tykwer, "and we walked out and we knew we were going to make it."
"Argo" has widened its lead over "Les Miserables" in the Best Picture race as Christopher Rosen (Huffington Post) switched his vote to become the 11th of our 25 Experts to back Ben Affleck's docudrama. The film, which just topped the box office in its third week of release, has odds of 9 to 2 to win Best Picture. (See predix of all Experts here and see racetrack odds here.)
Rosen joins Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes), Scott Feinberg (Hollywood Reporter), Pete Hammond (Deadline Hollywood), Guy Lodge (In Contention/ Hitfix), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Chuck Walton (Fandango), Glenn Whipp (Los Angeles Times) and Susan Wloszczyna (USA Today).
Among our Oscarologists, the still-unseen "Les Miserables" now has odds of 11 to 2. The eight Experts who foresee victory for the screen adaptation of the 1987 Tony-winning Best Musical are: Edward Douglas (Coming Soon), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Sean O'Connell (Hollywood News), Kevin Polowy (Next Movie), Tom O'Neil (Gold Derby), Keith Simanton (IMDB), Alex Suskind (Moviefone) and Jeff Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere).
Three Experts -- Thelma Adams (Yahoo), Steve Pond (The Wrap) and Dave Karger -- still favor "Silver Linings Playbook' which now has odds of 13 to 2. This winner of the audience award at the Toronto filmfest in September opens on Nov. 21. David O. Russell's comedy-drama showcases Jennifer Lawrence who has dominated the Best Actress category for weeks. She currently has the backing of 21 Experts and odds of 9 to 5.
Michael Musto (Village Voice) and Richard Horgan (Mediabistro/FishbowlLA) support the still-unseen "Zero Dark Thirty." In her followup to 2009 Best Picture winner "The Hurt Locker," Oscar champ Kathryn Bigelow tells the tale of Seal Team Six and its hunt for Osama Bin Laden.
Taylor Swift will co-host the Grammy nominations concert. From the press release: "Six-time Grammy winner Taylor Swift will co-host 'The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night,' along with two-time Grammy winner LL Cool J. Additionally, country singer/songwriter Luke Bryan has been added to the lineup for the one-hour special, joining previously announced three-time Grammy-winning group Maroon 5. The show — which will announce nominations in several categories as well as feature performances by past Grammy winners and/or nominees — will take place live for the first time ever at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday, Dec. 5, and will be broadcast in HDTV and 5.1 surround sound on the CBS Television Network (www.cbs.com) from 10 – 11 p.m. ET/PT (9 p.m. Central)."
Considering the best performances by actors playing characters with disabilities: "Don’t be surprised if John Hawkes gets an Oscar nomination – and possibly a win – for his astonishing turn as 'The Sessions’s' real-life poet and journalist Mark O’Brien, who after a childhood bout with polio lost the use of all his limbs. The Academy loves when able-bodied actors take on physical challenges. They’ve handed out awards to everyone from Cliff Robertson ('Charly,' 1968) and Jayne Wyman ('Johnny Belinda,' 1948) to Jon Voight ('Coming Home,' 1978). Here’s a list of the best performances by actors who’ve captured gold for playing disabled onscreen." NOW
Best Costume Design and Best Makeup/Hairstyling are Halloween-friendly Oscar categories: "And yet, the best and most common outfits and frightening faces aren’t necessarily those that tend to be recognized by the Academy. This year’s list of popular movie-related costumes predominantly consists of superheroes, which has been the norm for a while, but there are even more timely examples represented now thanks to the 'The Avengers' featuring so many masked and caped crusaders ... Does the Academy think that because superhero costumes originate in comic books that their cinematic adaptations, in spite of their need for performance practicality and a mix of familiar and fresh takes on the uniforms (see never-nominated Kim Barrett‘s effort for 'The Amazing Spider-Man'), aren’t as worthy?" FILM SCHOOL REJECTS
Alan Cumming will host the Britannia Awards: "Tony Award winner Alan Cumming has been tapped to return as the host of the 2012 Britannia Awards when the ceremony is held in Los Angeles on November 7. Among the presenters at the event are Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford and original 'Book of Mormon' star Josh Gad. Gad’s involvement with the starry list of celebs is likely because 'Book of Mormon' creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone will be honored at this year’s ceremony, receiving the prestigious Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy." BROADWAY.COM
Oscar-winner Nat Faxon hopes his struggling FOX sitcom "Ben and Kate" finds an audience: "In reality, Faxon - who won an Academy Award for co-writing the George Clooney dramedy 'The Descendants' - is not so carefree. And he might have wanted to channel some of Ben's anxiety-free frivolity when sizing up the freshman show's early ratings. Although the heartfelt ensemble comedy has been a hit with critics, its ratings haven't reflected that goodwill. TV By the Numbers, a website that predicts a show's odds of staying on the air, prognosticated this week that the show was a likely candidate for cancellation. And Faxon admits he's concerned about the show's small viewership. 'I got very panicky about it and had to talk to Dana Fox, the creator,' the down-to-earth Faxon said during a promotional visit to Toronto this week." LETHBRIDGE HERALD
The award for Best Picture often corresponds with a filmmaker voters feel is long overdue for recognition. Look no further than the victory for "The Departed" in 2006: Martin Scorsese had been nominated five times for Best Director, losing for "Raging Bull" (1980), "The Last Temptation of Christ" (1988), "GoodFellas" (1990), "Gangs of New York" (2002), and "The Aviator" (2004).
The man whom many consider to be the greatest director working had been criminally overlooked by the academy over the years, and his win for "The Departed" was seen as both a way of honoring the filmmaker for one of his best works and making up for lost time as well.
That wasn't the first time the academy tried to make good with a celebrated director: Steven Spielberg was snubbed for years before winning Oscars for "Schindler’s List" (1993) and "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), having lost for "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977), "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981), and "E.T." (1982).
George Cukor lost four times -- "Little Women" (1933), "The Philadelphia Story" (1944), "A Double Life" (1947) and "Born Yesterday" (1950) -- before finally winning for "My Fair Lady" (1964).
And Clint Eastwood’s Best Picture and director wins for "Unforgiven" (1992) marked not only the first time he had won an Oscar, but the first time he’d ever been nominated.
That is not to say that the academy always does right by its most talented filmmakers. Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Robert Altman, Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman and Sidney Lumet were all nominated multiple times without winning. David Lynch, Ridley Scott, Peter Weir and David Fincher have all seen their nominations come to nothing.
A lot depends on popularity and sentiment and, unfortunately for these fine filmmakers, those two points never quite aligned. In the past two years, Best Picture has not depended on a director getting his due, as witnessed by the wins for Tom Hooper ("The King’s Speech") and Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist"). In both cases, the wins had more to do with the Academy’s love for the films, not necessarily for their directors.
This year finds a wide variety of overdue directors vying for their first Oscar. What’s unique about this year’s crop of overdue directors is their relative freshness: unlike Scorsese, Spielberg, Cukor or Eastwood, these are filmmakers who have all come into prominence within the last twenty years. They are still, in a sense, growing in stature, and an Oscar win will only help cement their legacy.
First there is Paul Thomas Anderson, in the running this year with "The Master." Anderson has been nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture, director, and screenplay nominations for "There Will Be Blood" (2007), and screenplay nominations for "Magnolia" (1999) and "Boogie Nights" (1997). The year of "There Will Be Blood," Anderson had the bad luck to go up against the Coen brothers, themselves overdue directors, and "No Country for Old Men" beat Anderson in every category.
Now with "The Master," Anderson is hoping for goodwill from the Academy, yet the film is more polarizing and obtuse than "There Will Be Blood" was, so a Best Picture win seems unlikely. What does seem likely, though, is an Original Screenplay win, and that could be the only place where the academy chooses to honor Anderson. He leads that race with odds of 11 to 4 according to our Experts while he is in fifth place for helming with odds of 10 to 1.
Often times, a win for screenwriting is where the academy chooses the reward its more adventurous auteurs. Just ask Quentin Tarantino, who won Best Original Screenplay for "Pulp Fiction" in 1994 but lost both Best Picture and director that year to "Forrest Gump." In 2009, Tarantino was again nominated for writing and directing "Inglourious Basterds," only to lose those races to "The Hurt Locker," a loss that nevertheless saw Kathryn Bigelow become the first woman ever to win best director. This year Tarantino is back with "Django Unchained', and if the film is good enough, Harvey Weinstein could build a strong enough campaign around Tarantino being overdue for a best director win.
Weinstein has his hands full with three overdue filmmakers this year: Tarantino, Anderson, and David O. Russell, whose "Silver Linings Playbook' may be the most academy friendly film of the bunch, even if the director himself is not. Russell received his first nomination for "The Fighter" in 2010, a bid that seemed like a welcoming back for a filmmaker who had garnered a reputation for difficulty. Now Russell is on a roll, and "Silver Linings Playbook" looks poised to become a huge hit with voters. However, academy members may view the small-scale film as more an achievement in acting and writing than in directing. If so, like Anderson, Russell may reap his reward in the Adapted Screenplay category where he leads with odds of 14 to 5 rather than for Best Director where he is in fourth place with odds of 6 to 1.
One overdue filmmaker looking for his first directing nomination this year is Wes Anderson, whose "Moonrise Kingdom" garnered Anderson some of the best reviews of his career. Anderson has previously been nominated for writing "The Royal Tenenbaums" (2001) and for the animated feature for "Fantastic Mr. Fox" (2009). Yet Anderson may find himself left out of an already crowded directing field even if "Moonrise Kingdom" is nominated for Best Picture, and an original screenplay nom may yet again be his reward.
Earlier this year, the critic's choice for the best drama series on TV racked up its best-ever Emmy haul -- an impressive 13 nominations, a vast improvement on its seven nods in 2010, five in 2009 and four for its first truncated season in 2008.
Whether or not "Breaking Bad" can continue its upward Emmy trajectory next year remains to be seen. However, the smart money is on the trend continuing. Next summer, the highly anticipated final eight episodes will air when TV Academy voters will be filling out their Emmy ballots.
Indeed, the deafening buzz emanating from the show's final episodes will be very difficult to avoid. Tasked with choosing six episodes to submit to Emmy judges, the show's producers will essentially have to eliminate two episodes of the eight that aired this summer from the mix.
It will be like a "Sophie's Choice" decision, and opinions will be divided as to which episodes best encapsulate this first half of the final season.
Looking ahead to 2013, this is how "Breaking Bad" might fare in its penultimate Emmy campaign.
The TV Academy loves Bryan Cranston, rewarding him with three consecutive Best Drama Actor awards and a nomination last season (surprisingly bested on the night by "Homeland" star Damian Lewis) for his razor sharp portrayal of main protagonist Walter White. It is unimaginable that he won't be back next year for a fifth consecutive nod. Although he may lack one dynamite standout episode of sufficient explosiveness to warrant frontrunner status, he could be a real threat to win again if he submitted "Say My Name" or perhaps "Fifty One", a highlight of which is Walter's chilling intimidation of frazzled wife Skyler.
Aaron Paul, coming off a second Best Drama Supporting Actor win in September, is a likely nominee again next year. He may have a more difficult time claiming a third win, as he wasn't given a standout showcase this time around. However, he was particularly strong in "Say My Name," "Madrigal" and especially "Buyout," where his character Jesse Pinkman admirably and awkwardly bumbles his way through the most painfully tense dinner scene of the year alongside an icy Skyler and Walt.
With Emmy nominee Giancarlo Esposito's Gus Fring out of the picture, many pundits are already talking up the possibility that Jonathan Banks may step into the supporting slot vacated by Esposito. And they would be right in saying so, as his loveable but lethal Mike Ehrmantraut was one of the highlights of the season (so far). It seems almost a foregone conclusion that if Banks is nominated next year, he should submit "Say My Name" as his episode submission, where he mines nuance and emotion out of a guy whose rough exterior had come to define him for the episodes preceding this instalment in which Mike meets his untimely demise.
Anna Gunn's Skyler has had a fascinating journey over the last four and a half seasons; from oblivious wife to newly-confident co-conspirator to damaged victim. Emmy voters finally noticed earlier this year and rewarded her with an overdue nomination in the Best Drama Supporting Actress category (which she ultimately lost to "Downton Abbey" scene stealer Maggie Smith). However, a few weeks before Gunn attended her first Emmy ceremony as a nominee, she delivered a performance in the episode "Fifty One" which set off a wave of early calls that she will be back in contention next year as the frontrunner. This was undoubtedly the clearest example of an Emmy episode submission for any of the show's actors, and if Gunn returns to the supporting actress field next year, expect her to submit this episode, cementing her status as the one to beat in 2013.
At last year's CMA Awards, Blake Shelton won Best Male Vocalist for the second year running. He is back to defend his title at this year's kudos, which take place on Nov 1. at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena and air live on ABC.
With his profile at an all-time high as a judge on "The Voice," Shelton is favored to make it a three-peat, with leading odds of 9 to 10.
His closest competition comes from Jason Aldean who contended in this category for the first time last year. While he lost this race, he did win Album of the Year for "My Kinda Party." His newest disc, "Night Train," just debuted in the top slot on the Billboard 200. He has odds of 13 to 8 to win this award.
Last year, Shelton also bested Keith Urban who won this award three years running beginning in 2004. Ironically, Urban has odds of 4 to 1 to add a fourth trophy to his mantle.
The other nominees last year -- three-time category champ Brad Paisley and four-time Entertainer of the Year Kenny Chesney -- were snubbed this year.
Kris Tapley analyzes the Oscar race for Best Animated Feature: "Currently there are 18 titles assumed eligible for the award, which has been dished out at the annual Oscars for 11 years now. And that 12-year history has shown an interesting progression for the category ... traditional animation is well-represented amid the usual CG flurry in 2012, as is stop-motion. A pair of this year's contenders even make brief use of live action footage, while another uses traditional two-dimensional animated characters placed into computer-generated 3D environments. Claymation even makes an appearance in one instance." IN CONTENTION
Tony Awards Adminstrative Committee meets for the first time to consider eligibility for 2013 awards. From the press release: "The four productions discussed include: 'Harvey'; 'Bring It On: The Musical'; 'Chaplin' and 'An Enemy of the People'. The committee has made the following determinations: Jessica Hecht and Charles Kimbrough will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actress/Actor in a Featured Role in a Play categories for their respective performances in 'Harvey.' Taylor Louderman and Adrienne Warren will each be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical category for their performances in 'Bring It On: The Musical.' Rob McClure will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical category for his performance in 'Chaplin.' Boyd Gaines will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play category for his performance in 'An Enemy of the People.' All other eligibility determinations were consistent with the opening night credits."
Ben Affleck among Casting Society honorees: "The Casting Society of America has announced the honorees for the Artios Awards for outstanding film, TV and theatre casting, given out at twin ceremonies at New York’s XL Nightclub and Los Angeles’s Beverly Hilton on Oct. 29, when the winners for Outstanding Achievement in Casting will also be announced ... 'Argo' director/star Ben Affleck will receive the Career Achievement Award (previously won by Quentin Tarantino and Dick Wolf). The Hoyt Bowers Award goes to 'Argo' casting director Lora Kennedy (past winners include Meg Liberman and Ellen Chenoweth). Harvey Fierstein wins the New York Apple Award, as have Mike Nichols and Tony Kushner in past years." HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
Unseen films loom large in the Oscar race: "Friday's opening of 'Cloud Atlas' and next week's bow of 'Flight' will introduce two more Oscar contenders to the masses, but they won't change the film community's waiting game. Waiting for 'Les Miserables.' Waiting for 'Zero Dark Thirty.' Waiting to see if those or any other highly anticipated end-of-year releases will seize the reins at the next Academy Awards or whether the race will continue to comprise a cluster of films without a frontrunner for the grand prize. Some years, an early season leader completes its journey to Oscar glory (say, 'Forrest Gump'), while others fall just shy of the ultimate honor ('Saving Private Ryan'). Other years, eventual Oscar winners don't emerge until other contenders stumble, as was the case with 'Gladiator.'" VARIETY
Sasha Stone on the scarcity of great female characters in American film: "Most of the best actress performances this year function as supporting female characters, even when they’re leads. There are a few that don’t, especially if they were made in other countries. Go to the Cannes Film Festival if you want to see movies about women as people rather than women as mattresses, eye-candy or ego-propper-uppers. In these films a woman’s internal life and character arc are important on their own, and don’t depend on the male’s story arc. Movies like 'Beyond the Hills' (Romania’s foreign language entry), or 'Rust and Bone,' or 'Amour' present audiences with a whole different spectrum of life than we’ve become conditioned to see over here ... It is different on TV. Look at Carrie on 'Homeland' or Olivia on 'Law and Order: SVU.' The pressure to make bank isn’t as urgent on TV or in films made on a smaller scale in other countries. This scarcity of strong leading women on the big screen is uniquely American. That’s the free market for you. Leave it up to the suits in the corporate suite and it’s all white male all the time." AWARDS DAILY
"Saving Private Ryan" stars Tom Hanks and Matt Damon reunited for "Colbert Report" segment: "Tom Hanks enlisted the help of 'Saving Private Ryan' castmate Matt Damon to help educate kids about Halloween costumes on 'The Colbert Report.' And no, Hanks promised us, his appearance did not have anything to do with promoting his new film, 'Cloud Atlas.' Damon and Stephen Colbert didn't sound entirely convinced." THE WRAP
Earliest Oscars Predictions Ever
Our Oscarologists are busy updating their predictions as they see more and more contenders. Make your early picks now -- click here -- and change them later as the derby heats up.