Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 12

As the precursor awards continue unabated until Oscar night, I’m going to be providing a weekly update highlighting the films that have won and lost momentum through the precursor awards (and in some cases other outside influences). We’re entering the final week of precursors before the Oscars. There will be one week of nothing new, followed by the Academy Awards. Then a week after that, the final precursor shows up, the Satellite Awards.

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

Week 13

Sat., Feb. 22 – Cinema Audio Society Awards
Sat., Feb. 22 – Costume Designers Guild Awards
Sun., Feb. 23 – Spirit Awards

Big Winners

Gravity couldn’t have come off a better week. After dominating the Visual Effects Society awards, it captured five non-nation-specific awards at BAFTA including Best Director, which pretty much assures its ascent at the Oscars. It also won Best British Film, which may help bolster its chances at the Oscars, but losing then to 12 Years a Slave makes it seem an also-ran, though the two categories rarely align at BAFTA.
American Hustle, with its high profile wins for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay, has emerged from the doldrums it was in over the staggering losses in the last few weeks. Still, the wins aren’t going to help much since Nyong’o is still favored at the Oscars and Her wasn’t eligible at BAFTA. I could still see it walking away with Original Screenplay, the only category the film seems to have a decent shot at winning with the Oscars.
12 Years a Slave almost got slotted as a big loser thanks to its loss in the supporting acting categories and the adapted screenplay category at the BAFTA awards. Still, it ended up picking up Best Actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor and then Best Film, which at least gives it some credentials for an Oscar win. Lupita Nyong’o’s loss is hard to take as she has been the frontrunner, but Jennifer Lawrence didn’t win at the BAFTA’s last year, so they seemingly had to give her the prize this year. Nyong’o still has the edge, but some voters won’t remember Lawrence didn’t win last year and might vote there anyway. The Adapted Screenplay loss is weird as well, but Philomena was written by Brits, so it’s hard not to see a bit of favoritism there. I can’t explain the Michael Fassbender loss other than the fact that he hasn’t been campaigning. Abdi, on the other hand, makes a nice human interest story, which may have helped him win in the absence of Jared Leto.

Big Losers

Michael Fassbender can’t catch a break. After missing a deserved Oscar nomination for Shame, Fassbender had no competition from Oscar frontrunner Jared Leto at the BAFTA’s and still managed to lose to a first-time actor. Fassbender is a gifted actor and his performance in 12 Years a Slave is strong, but it seems like not campaigning has hurt his chances more. Maybe he’ll find recognition in the future, but this year was not his year.

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