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Oscar Futures: Invictus Scores

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: Invictus. Is it any good? Nobody knows! But its new trailer confirms it's exactly the sort of movie everyone assumes gets nominated for Best Picture. DOWN: Avatar. Its new story-focused trailer is a little better than the silly-looking previous one, at least — but this thing still doesn't look like awards material, does it? (No.)
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: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker. Pundits at Gold Derby have Locker in the lead for Best Picture (tied with Invictus). We like her chances. DOWN: Peter Jackson, The Lovely Bones. The early word on Bones, says Roger Friedman, is that it "doesn't quite work as a thriller" and "awards may be elusive."
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. He won at Venice in September and now he'll be honored as best actor at the Santa Barbara Film Fest. DOWN: Morgan Freeman, Invictus. We're sure he'll be nominated, but, from the trailer, doesn't it sort of look like he's just playing Morgan Freeman?
CURRENT PREDIX: George Clooney, Up in the Air; Daniel Day-Lewis, Nine; Colin Firth, A Single Man; Morgan Freeman, Invictus; Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker.
Best Actress UP: Gabourey Sidibe, Precious. Her appearance on Ellen yesterday shows she's much better adjusted than her character. Wouldn't it be fun to see her do a victory dance behind an Oscar podium?DOWN: Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia. Most agree it's still a two-way race between her and Carey Mulligan, and Mulligan has the edge.
CURRENT PREDIX: Abbie Cornish, Bright Star; Helen Mirren, The Last Station; Carey Mulligan, An Education; Gabourey Sidibe, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire; Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia.
Best Supporting Actor UP: Matt Damon, Invictus. His South African accent: better than we expected! DOWN: Christopher Plummer, The Last Station. We're sure he'll be great, but his co-star Helen Mirren is getting most of the attention so far.
CURRENT PREDIX: Matt Damon, Invictus; Alfred Molina, An Education; Christopher Plummer, The Last Station; Paul Schneider, Bright Star; Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds.
Best Supporting Actress UP: Mo'Nique, Precious. So she won't campaign and she's demanding money for promotional appearances — she'll still be nominated, thinks Anne Thompson. DOWN: Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air. After flirting with a lead-actress campaign, Paramount decides to run her in supporting (against her co-star Anna Kendrick, who has more screen time).
CURRENT PREDIX: Marion Cotillard, Nine; Judi Dench, Nine; Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air; Mo'nique, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire; Julianne Moore, A Single Man.
Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.