Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 1

As the precursor awards continue unabated through the month of December, I’m going to be providing a weekly update highlighting the films that have won and lost momentum through the precursor awards (this will be in place of my prior weekly article “Oscar Preview”. Today, we look back at the results of the New York Film Critics Circle, National Board of Review, Satellite Awards nominations, Spirit Awards nominations and the Producers Guild of America nominations. This is a healthy spread of award bodies from indie to big budget, and a nice broad spectrum of critics groups.

Note that there were no Oscar contenders released over the weekend and thus this afternoon’s Oscar Preview Article will not be posted.

But, before we get into this week’s winners and losers, let’s take a look at what’s coming up this week:

Week 2

Monday, Dec. 3 – Annie Awards Nominations
Monday, Dec. 3 – Satellite Awards Nominations
Monday, Dec. 3 – New York Film Critics Awards
Wednesday, Dec. 5 – Grammy Awards Nominations
Wednesday, Dec. 5 – National Board of Review Awards
Friday, Dec. 7 – Detroit Film Critics Nominations (guesstimate)
Sunday, Dec. 9 – Boston Film Critics Awards
Sunday, Dec. 9 – Los Angeles Film Critics Awards
Sunday, Dec. 9 – Houston Film Critics Nominations (guesstimate)
Sunday, Dec. 9 – New York Online Film Critics Awards (guesstimate)
Sunday, Dec. 9 – San Francisco Film Critics Awards (guesstimate)

Big Winners

Silver Linings Playbook Despite exceeding the minimum budgetary guideline by a few million, Harvey Weinstein’s Best Picture contender picks up 5 nominations from the Spirit Awards including Best Picture, Director, Actor (Bradley Cooper), Actress (Jennifer Lawrence) and Screenplay. Notably absent was Robert De Niro in the Supporting Actor lineup. While that doesn’t mean the Academy will ignore him, it does bring up the question of whether his career trajectory of the last several years hurts or hinders his chances.
Moonrise Kingdom Scott Rudin’s horse in the race also nabbed five nominations, with one less acting nomination, but a Cinematography nomination to compensate. Although the film is directed by Wes Anderson, a director the Academy hasn’t really warmed up to in the past, with Rudin behind it, these nominations will keep it in the conversation.
Keep the Lights On While it’s chances at the Oscars weren’t aided by today, there’s no doubt that this film (and to a lesser extent Middle of Nowere) were given more attention in the light of its four nominations, including Best Picture. The film could be a surprise screenwriting nominee, but it’s also just as likely to be ignored.
Beasts of the Southern Wild Nabbing Best Picture and Director spots with the Spirit Awards, Beasts only helps its profile with Academy voters. The film has gotten strong notices throughout its festival circuit, which could be of benefit in the long run.

Big Losers

Beasts of the Southern Wild The problem is that the film didn’t earn nominations for Best First Feature or Best Screenplay. The latter is the more telling item as it was the one category the film seemed most likely to score a nomination in come Oscar morning. That doesn’t mean the film will be ignored, but it suggests that it wasn’t as universally loved as we may have originally thought.
The Sessions The film that some were predicting as a spoiler in the Best Picture race earned only two nominations in Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. While these were the only two categories I thought it would be nominated in at the Oscars, the fact that it qualified for and didn’t earn other nods at the Spirit Awards suggests it doesn’t have the teeth for an Oscar campaign of any magnitude.

Individual Analyses

Spirit Awards

There is no individual analysis this time out as there is only one group to report.

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