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Oscar Futures: Locker Blows Up, Amelia Disappears

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: The Hurt Locker. A tie (with the presumably Oscar-hopeless Big Fan) for the most Gotham Awards nods. Not a bad start to a campaign. DOWN: Amelia. "Exasperatingly dull!" "Dismayingly superficial!" Critics ground it before it can even take off, and any number of other negative-sounding aeronautical metaphors.
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: Lee Daniels, Precious. After reading his Times Magazine profile this week, wouldn't you like to see him make an acceptance speech? DOWN: James Cameron, Avatar. After reading his New Yorker profile this week, wouldn't you like to see him watch the Oscars from home this year?
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: Patton Oswalt, Big Fan. His movie's Gotham Awards nods were a surprise, but he is great in the movie. Could it happen? DOWN: Morgan Freeman, Invictus. The Playlist doesn't love the script. Maybe his part is not as great as we'd assumed?
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: Helen Mirren, The Last Station. The Film Experience has seen it and they like her chances.DOWN: Hilary Swank, Amelia. She's not bad as the movie, say reviews, but she's not given much to work with.
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: Peter Sarsgaard An Education. He's the film's male lead, but he'll slum it in supporting, Scott Feinberg reports... DOWN: Alfred Molina, An Education ... he's competing with his co-star; Molina's better but has a smaller role.
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: Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air. She impresses in a new clip. Is hers the better role than Vera Farmiga's? DOWN: Mo'Nique, Precious. It's still probably her award to lose, but she comes off even more campaign-sabotaging than expected in that Times feature, and it's a long time till the Oscars.
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 Summit Entertainment