Another Snapshot

I really do need to know which ten 2010 films are going to be nominated for Best Picture. It’s not too early to figure this out. All the Oscar-campaign publicists have been hired, they all know what’s going on, and we at least need to take a reading. Obviously things will evolve and develop over the next four or five months, but anyone who says it’s too early to get a fix on things now just isn’t being candid.

Definitely Inception and Toy Story 3 — both pretty much locked as we speak. I’m told that The Kids Are All Right has burrowed right in among the liberal Academy set. Almost certainly The Social Network, even though director David Fincher, I’m hearing, doesn’t want to formally “campaign.” And possibly The Conspirator, which is going into Toronto guns blazing and is looking at a serious fall-winter campaign. (It seems odd to hear that Robin Wright Penn is going for Best Supporting Actress, considering that she has the female lead role.) So that’s two solids, one likely and two semi-probables.

In a fair and just world Biutiful (which Sony Classics will distribute, I’m told) ought to be among the ten. So should Fair Game, which I creamed over in Cannes. (I’m aware that other critics aren’t as enthusiastic, but this is a smart and solid piece of work with top-grade performances.) If they both land a nomination that’ll make seven.

The remaining three will come from a pack composed of True Grit, Hereafter, Conviction, Everything You’ve Got, London Boulevard, Love and Other Drugs, Your Highness. Maybe this list should also include Aaron Schneider‘s Get Low, Mark Romanek‘s Never Let Me Go and/or Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech (which has a shot at a Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor nomination for Colin Firth).

The fact that The Tree of Life by the Endlessly Dilly-Dallying Terrence Malick isn’t doing Telluride/Toronto/Venice doesn’t mean it’s folding its tent altogether, but the fact that folks close to the action are saying “who knows?” and “all bets are off” doesn’t exactly imply strength and confidence.

Greenberg and The Ghost Writer are still among the year’s best so far. I don’t care what anyone else says about this. Anyone who disagrees, I mean.

Mike Leigh‘s Another Year will open and be well reviewed and go away.

  • Scott Feinberg

    Jeff, you’ve neglected to mention “The Fighter,” a movie that might WIN best picture, from what I’ve heard and suspect.

  • Matthew Starr

    How about upcoming work from Darren Aronofsky, Danny Boyle and Peter Weir?

  • Guy who likes Glosette Raisins

    If “Get Low” is based on the L’il Jon song, it’s a lock.

  • Phreaker

    Uh, a David O’Russell movie winning? Yeah, no. No way.

    It’s too soon to know which films will be nominated. Any speculation about unseen movies is just jerking off. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    I think Danny Boyle’s movie will be great given his track record — but it’s too soon to know.

    If I had to spitball ten, knowing nothing about anything right now, I’d go with (*means has a shot to win, again, based on nothing real)–going from most likely to more iffy.

    Toy Story 3


    True Grit*

    Another Year

    The Fighter

    127 Hours

    The Social Network

    Fair Game


    Blue Valentine

    Not ruling out: The Town, Secretariat

  • Nick Rogers

    Surely, you don’t mean “Your Highness” with Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman and Zooey Deschanel. Even if you did, it’s been bumped to 2011.

  • Mark

    How to Train Your Dragon will be nominated. And Cameron will find a way to get his Avatar re-release in there as well

  • erniesouchak

    Greenberg?? No way. I think “Get Low” will mount a sneak attack, though Sony Classics isn’t exactly known for such things. And “127 Hours.”

  • Overstreet

    I don’t care if Terrence Malick works until 2015 on Tree of Life. Because every day he works on it, it’s likely to become a more beautiful thing.

    (The extended cut of The New World was superior to the theatrical release, and it made me wish he’d just waited to release the later, longer, better version so I could see it on a big screen.)

    So take your time, Terry. No pressure.

  • Gabriel

    How long until it’s widely accepted that “The Tree of Life” never has its tent in this particular campground in the first place?

    “Surely, you don’t mean “Your Highness” with Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman and Zooey Deschanel. Even if you did, it’s been bumped to 2011.”

    That, plus the fact that it seems to be a sorcerer flick for stoners.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m fucking psyched for it. But once again, I don’t see it trying to enter the Oscar derby.

  • Blepyrus

    THE GARDENER – directed by Chris Weitz. Summit plans to release it later this year. It’s a BICYCLE THIEF inspired film about a Mexican gardener who loses his truck and because he is illegal he can’t go to the police. Instead, he enlists the help of his 16 year old son who is flirting with joining a street gang.

  • ElstonGunnAICN

    Rabbit Hole?

  • Hollis Mulwray

    They HAVE to pick ten – “Shutter Island”.

  • C.C. Baxter

    Anyone who says it’s NOT too early to get a fix on things now just isn’t being realistic. See, I can play that game too. It’s going to be fun to go back and read this article in December.

    I don’t know where Wells ever got the idea that Tree of Life would be playing one of these festivals. There hasn’t been a Malick film in a festival since Cannes ’79. It’s just not his style. His last two films have premiered at the very end of December, and I expect this one will be no different.

    Based on the trailer for Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, I’d say it’s more baity than anything else listed thus far.

    LOL at the idea of stoner comedy Your Highness being nominated for anything.

  • Ray DeRousse

    Anything could happen this year.

    I think there are four locks: Toy Story 3, Inception, The Social Network, and Get Low. The rest is wide open.

    Can’t see Greenberg in there if, for no other reason, it had a terrible release date and is now out of the consciousness of the Academy. Same with Fair Game.

    It’s obvious Inception has Best Picture locked up unless Fincher pulls off something amazing with The Social Network.

  • bulltron

    What about The American? Are people sick of Clooney?

  • 115thDreamer

    Jeff – have you seen “Another Year”, or have you just worked up a dislike for the characters in advance? Just curious….I’m a much bigger fan of Leigh’s than you are, so I’m looking forward to it, of course. I think “All Or Nothing” was the only one of his flicks that genuinely made me say “oh come on…is everyone in the movie a complete dick?”…or something to that extent.

    I would also like to see “Ghost Writer” included in the big ten, but I don’t know….Polanski factor + the fact that no one seemed to actually see it. Tough sell.

  • adorian

    I want Winter’s Bone to make the final ten.

  • thrilla

    When does The Way Back come out? You would figure the Weir would be a shoo in with this expanded palette…

  • tradeshoes00

    Best regards for you all,

    Looking forward to your visiting.

  • Geoff

    Is Inception really a shoe-in? I would love for it be so – with ten Best Pics and District 9 & Inglorious Basterds making it last year, I guess it could work out.

    I actually have a feeling that Eat Pray Love could squeak in.

  • LexG


    Yeah, I know, another year, *another* icy Tony Scott/Denzel surveillance programmer… But if Jeff can make an impassioned case for “Pelham,” might as well dream big again this year. All I know is this one was shot mostly LAST YEAR, and not a single teaser, trailer, or so much as a still image has been seen. Mostly I’m curious how state-of-the-art big-city Euro chic-meets-American Junk Culture editing maniac Sir Tony makes a slicked-up megaton action movie… in the backwoods of rural Western Pennsylvania, where it was shot.

    Nothing against my former OH/PA backyard, but when every third movie is shot in Georgia or Pittsburgh, think MAYBE all of cinema would benefit from NYC and LA reducing the fucking costs of shooting in the big leagues again?

  • worrywort

    Alexander Payne’s The Descendants

  • moviechick44

    I’m not feeling Black Swan or The Social Network as films being nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. I do think good chances are for Miral, 127 Hours, Get Low, The Tree Of Life, The Way Back ( great book btw ) The Fighter, along with the others Jeff has mentioned. Still on the fence with Winter’s Bone. Also keep your eyes and ears open for Animal Kingdom.

  • BaxterPeanut

    Fascinating to read a post with such passionate arguments for Best Pic nominees about movies that haven’t been released yet. I realize there’s buzz and leaks and reputations that are being considered but, c’mon…Not that it’s not fun to speculate, but can’t we keep the ball on the field? And don’t forget, every year it seems some sleeper sneaks up and becomes a darling, if nothing if not to spark irrelevant interest and cross-critical discussions about inclusion/exclusion and the overall awards-season process as a whole. GOD this is fun!!

  • moviechick44

    Oh and Secretariat being one of the best sports stories in sports history, that might catch on with critics and voters alike. There is also couple of Sally Hawkins films, European indies, that might get some critical attention.

    Not sure about the James L. Brooks film. The cast makes me not think Oscar but ya never know. Another Year might be this years An Education. The British Mike Leigh film that squeezes in. They like him and the people he casts.

  • BaxterPeanut

    Yeah moviechick..freakin’ SECRETARIAT!!! Great flick…

  • Yer

    @C.C Baxter

    The Thin Red Line played at the Berlin Film Festival and won the best film award.

    Anyways once the Cannes lineup was announced this year it pretty much sealed the deal that Tree of Life wasn’t receiving a festival premiere. No other fest is big enough.

  • Yer

    oh and Jeff “Your Highness” was delayed until 2011. Didn’t you hear?

  • berg

    Toy Story 3 is one weak choice, animated yes, live action no way jose. But The Kids Are All Right would be a good guess …. my second favorite line of the year “Shit, that was a real vibe killer.”

  • LexG

    I have nothing against SECRETARIAT, like everyone involved, like Randall Wallace, sure it’s a delight…

    But when you see the preview, don’t you kinda keep waiting for the star to show up? Like they forgot to cast a lead in it or something, beyond the horse? Like, ah, cool, John Malkovich… Diane Lane… James Cromwell… and you’re waiting for Kurt Russell or Dennis Quaid or Jeff Bridges to show up, but they never do. It’s like an entire big-time studio movie that looks like an expensive production, but the leads are all middle-aged character actors.

  • Mr. Gittes

    Aw screw Secretariat and Wallace’s plug on Entourage. I’ll take HBO’s Luck: Michael Mann, Dustin Hoffman, gambling and horses. And Michael Mann. And Dustin Hoffman. I hope there was friction in that collaberation.

  • Mr. Gittes

    And Nick Nolte. “Staros!”

  • lipranzer

    While I do think Jeff’s prejudice against Mike Leigh is wrong-headed, he may be right about its Oscar chances. After all, even those who despised Sally Hawkins’ performance in HAPPY-GO-LUCKY thought she was a lock to get a Best Actress nomination, and look what happened. So while I hope it’s as good as everyone says it is, and that is does well with Oscar noms, I’m not making bets yet.

    I would also love to see WINTER’S BONE get a Best Picture nod at this point – admittedly, it’s the only one on my list that has a shot (even if they qualified, which they don’t, no way THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO or THE RED RIDING TRILOGY get nominated, and GHOST WRITER has all the Polanski hate against it)

  • bobbyperu

    Jeff, you’re seriously underestimating WINTER’S BONE. It’s too good and too well-reviewed to be ignored.

  • Chase Kahn

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo isn’t even the best film this year with the word “dragon” in the title…

  • CitizenKanedForPostingThoughts

    That’s because TGwtDT is an ’09 film. Zing!


  • joe banks

    can’t wait for True Grit to take down Inception and all the Nolanites bitch and moan like they did when Dark Knight failed to get the nomination it so richly did not deserve

  • BurmaShave

    good to see joe banks is a fan of movies for the right reasons.

  • Zach

    I think Sex and the City 2 might be a lock, as well as The Last Airbender.

    But really, it comes down to the last couple of months of campaigning where little-films-that-could come out of the woodwork. Happens every year. Crazy Heart and Precious are two recent examples.

  • Sailor Ripley

    Why exactly does anybody NEED to know in July what will be nominated for the Oscars NEXT year? Who cares! Cant people at least wait until say October or November until they start this silly game? Most of the interesting films in the world (and even in America) dont stand a chance of being nominated anyway….

  • cinemascopian

    Shutter Island will be in the top 10, as a Siamese twin with Inception.

    Also, lock your radar on the Holocaust documentary “A Film Unfinished” which Oscilloscope will release in August. It just won Best Documentary at the Jerusalem Film Festival, after winning awards in Sundance and Hot Docs, and will surely be short-listed for the Documentary category. It’s also an outstanding and powerful film.

  • Chase Kahn

    An ’09 film? Really? I don’t live in Sweden.

  • crazynine

    How bad is it that I could have sworn that Shutter Island was a 2009 release? I barely remember that film at all, it was very underwhelming (especially since he had to go in and include a twist I figured out in the first fifteen minutes of the film… grrr).

    Anyway, this post was runny poop. It’s JULY. Nobody knows nothin’. Not all the films are even out yet, and as others have noted, wildcards come out of nowhere every year.

    To provide an analogy, this is like sitting square in frozen New Hampshire in January 2008 making bets that the Clinton/Edwards team is going to trounce Romney/Huckabee in November.

  • Floyd Thursby

    As I predicted in April, Braves over Rays in World Series. . . . Well, that’ll be sooner than Oscar noms.

  • INeedUnguent

    I’m totally confused. How can ‘The Conspirator’ be coming into TIFF w/ guns blazing when the film doesn’t have a distributor to mount an Oscar campaign or decide whether Robin Wright is going for supporting or lead?