Oscar Futures: Will Toronto’s Big Winners Be Oscar’s Big Winners?

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Photo: Courtesy of Lionsgate Films

Every week between now and January 22, when the nominations are announced, movies and stars will help themselves — or, sometimes, hurt themselves — in the Oscar race. Vulture's Oscar Futures will listen to insider gossip, comb the blogs, and out-and-out guess when necessary to track who's up, who's down, and who's currently leading the race for a coveted nomination.

Best Picture UP: Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. Its audience award in Toronto destroys the argument that this sex-abuse drama is too bleak. Just wait till Oprah starts pushing it. DOWN: Nine. Amid rumors of Nine's delay till next year, the Weinstein Co. has shed staff and moved The Road to the same release date. Will Harvey play all his chips on A Single Man this year?
CURRENT PREDIX: Bright Star, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Invictus, Nine, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, A Serious Man, A Single Man, Up, Up in the Air
Best Director UP: Jason Reitman, Up in the Air. Even though Oprah hasn't yet weighed in on it, his movie's the presumed front-runner to win Best Picture after impressing in Telluride and Toronto. DOWN: Jane Campion, Bright Star. Critics love Star enough to make us think it'll land one of this year's ten Best Picture slots, but does its crappy first-weekend box office mean she could have trouble scoring a nod?
CURRENT PREDIX: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker; Lee Daniels, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire; Clint Eastwood, Invictus; Rob Marshall, Nine; Jason Reitman, Up in the Air.
Best Actor UP: Colin Firth, A Single Man. Everybody who saw Man in Toronto is talking about his performance — and Harvey did promise Tom Ford at least one Oscar. DOWN: Daniel Day-Lewis, Nine. An underwhelming behind-the-scenes clip left some undazzled. Whoever wins Best Actor next year should definitely make a joke in his acceptance speech about drinking Day-Lewis's milkshake.
CURRENT PREDIX: George Clooney, Up in the Air; Daniel Day-Lewis, Nine; Colin Firth, A Single Man; Morgan Freeman, Invictus; Viggo Mortensen, The Road.
Best Actress UP: Gabourey Sidibe, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. With her movie a leading contender, and Streep and Mulligan this category's only other sure things, we bet she'll sneak in there (with Oprah's help). DOWN: Charlize Theron, The Burning Plain. Bad reviews and worse box office for Plain mean we can probably count out at least one previous winner here.
CURRENT PREDIX: Abbie Cornish, Bright Star; Carey Mulligan, An Education; Gabourey Sidibe, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire; Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia; Hilary Swank, Amelia.
Best Supporting Actor UP: Paul Schneider, Bright Star. His is a "huge" performance that saves Star from being "overmelodramatic," says New York's David Edelstein. "All costume dramas need actors this rude." If the Academy likes the movie, he'll at least snag a nomination. DOWN: Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Road. Reviews have gotten better since Venice, but consensus from Toronto is that Viggo is its best awards hope.
CURRENT PREDIX: Matt Damon, Invictus; Richard Kind, A Serious Man; Alfred Molina, An Education; Paul Schneider, Bright Star; Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds.
Best Supporting Actress UP: Mo'Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. She's been a front runner since Sundance, where they gave her a special acting prize. Given the events of the past week, if Nine gets pushed back, she might win the first-ever Oscar awarded before Thanksgiving. DOWN: Judi Dench, Nine. She's great, say those who've seen the movie! But her role's not as flashy as Cruz's or Cotillard's, and now Harvey has to run a campaign for Moore as well.
CURRENT PREDIX: Marion Cotillard, Nine; Penélope Cruz, Nine; Judi Dench, Nine; Mo'nique, Precious: Based on the Novel by Sapphire; Julianne Moore, A Single Man.