Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 5

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.

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

Week 6

Tue. Jan. 1 – Vancounver Film Critics Nominations (guesstimate)
Thu. Jan. 3 – Academy Awards Nominations Voting Ends
Thu. Jan. 3 – Art Directors Guild Nominations
Thu. Jan. 3 – Producers Guild Nominations
Fri. Jan. 4 – Writers Guild Nominations
Sat. Jan. 5 – National Society of Film Critics Awards (guesstimate)

Big Winners

Holy Motors has little chance of being nominated by the Oscars in any major capacity, but that didn’t stop the Online Film Critics Society for putting it forward for four nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Foreign Language Film. It’s the best performance the film has had in the precursors to date, but is likely to be indicative of nothing.
The Master earned the most nominations from the OFCS this year garnering eight, two more than second-place finisher Lincoln. Clearly Master‘s downward momentum has been staunched in recent weeks and the film seems like a far stronger competitor than previously believed.
Argo once again took a Best Picture prize against an obviously well-liked Zero Dark Thirty at the Phoenix Film Critics Awards. The film also won awards for Adapted Screenplay and Editing, the latter being a more noteworthy win than the former.

Big Losers

Django Unchained has been doing decently well with other critics, but the group which recognize Kill Bill, Vol. 1 as one of its five nominees for Best Picture of 2003, when most other critics groups had ignored it. The love affair with Tarantino continued in 2010 when it nominated Inglourious Basterds for eight awards, giving it four prizes including a surprise win by Melanie Laurent for Best Actress. This could be the fault of Weinstein’s machine, which has already been struggling with its big contender Silver Linings Playbook as the studio didn’t send the group screeners this year, the first time they haven’t gotten them in over a decade. With Basterds not receiving a release until after the nominations were announced and few screenings made available, its failure to merit much inclusion (it did get one nominations for Best Supporting Actor Christoph Waltz) with the OFCS may be signs of a more challenging environment for the film and Weinstein’s other projects.

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