Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 2

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 3

Wednesday, Dec. 11 – Screen Actors Guild Nominations
Wednesday, Dec. 11 – Detroit Critics Nominations (guesstimate)
Wednesday, Dec. 11 – St. Louis Critics Nominations (guesstimate)
Wednesday, Dec. 11 – Las Vegas Critics Awards (guesstimate)
Wednesday, Dec. 11 – San Diego Critics Awards (guesstimate)

Thursday, Dec. 12 – Golden Globe Nominations

Friday, Dec. 13 – Chicago Critics Nominations (guesstimate)
Friday, Dec. 13 – Detroit Critics Awards (guesstimate)
Friday, Dec. 13 – Houston Critics Awards (guesstimate)

Monday, Dec. 16 – Broadcast Critics Nominations
Monday, Dec. 16 – Online Critics Awards
Monday, Dec. 16 – Chicago Critics Awards (guesstimate)
Monday, Dec. 16 – St. Louis Critics Awards (guesstimate)

Big Winners

12 Years a Slave When the National Board of Review and New York Film Critics Circle announced, it seemed like 12 Years a Slave wasn’t going to be the juggernaut people expected. While it hasn’t steamrolled the competition yet, it has done incredibly well in this past week’s precursors picking up three awards for Best Picture and securing a massive 12 nominations from the DC film critics. Along with awards for Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, the film is doing quite well in the second week of precursor season.
The Wind Rises has only lost one award this season and that was to Ernest & Celestine, not the film everyone thought would finally bring Disney its first Best Animated Feature Oscar. Hayao Miyazaki’s seems poised to pose a real threat to Disney, which could explain why the Mouse House has dumped the title onto its seldom seen Touchstone label. It fears the competition and if this week is any indication, the fears are justified.
Cate Blanchett has been banking win after win this precursor season. She may already be an Oscar winner, but another trophy is not out of the question and with the level of support she’s so far received, she may become unbeatable. We’ll see how the rest of the season goes, but this week has been a win for her.
Jared Leto has also been doing well in the last week, nabbing a number of Best Supporting Actor awards. His chances at Oscar victory are much dimmer, largely due to his poor reputation in the community. Still, a hefty slew of awards from precursors will go a long way in establishing him as someone not to be ignored.
Her went from expected critic hit to regular threat in the span of one week. Its victory from the National Board of Review’s surprise selection of the Spike Jonze film for Best Picture last week and its tie for Best Picture from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association add to the strong showing in various categories throughout the week suggest the film’s more potent going into the Oscar race than Jonze’s last film.

Big Losers

The Wolf of Wall Street got off to a rocky start. First, it was nominated for five awards from the Satellites, then it was revealed it wasn’t even screened for that group and didn’t start screening until after the International Press Academy’s deadline. On top of that, Paramount seems to be stumbling into the awards season. Barely showing the film to press in time to contend in year-end awards, Martin Scorsese’s film, which will likely be a box office hit has appeared on a couple of top ten lists, but has been virtually non-existent in the precursors. Leonardo DiCaprio needs the support to pick up an Oscar nomination even if the film will likely bring in a Best Picture slate regardless.
Blue Jasmine may have Cate Blanchett sewing up precursors left and right, but the critically acclaimed Woody Allen film has barely been a blip in any of the precursor contests. It’s not entirely out of the running for Oscars outside of Best Actress, but it needs to pick up more steam if it wants to beat out the otherwise more visible Before Midnight for the very few indie slots on this year’s Best Picture slate.

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