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oscar race 2011

Oscar Futures: The King’s Speech Crowned

Every week between now and January 25 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 for 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 King's Speech. A great trailer and an audience award in Toronto allay fears that it might be too boring. Plenty of probable contenders are still unseen — but for right now, Speech is in a two-horse race with Social Network. DOWN: Never Let Me Go. Okay reviews and not-bad box office. Hasn't picked up much steam, though.
CURRENT PREDIX: 127 Hours, Another Year, Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King's Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit.
Best Director UP: David Fincher, The Social Network. Like the website on which it's based, his movie seems to lack a dislike button. SN's perfect Metascore (so far!) should buy him at least a ticket to the Oscars. DOWN: Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right. Her category's filling up fast with big names (and Tom Hooper) — will voters remember her from all the way back in July?
CURRENT PREDIX: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan; Danny Boyle, 127 Hours; David Fincher, The Social Network; Tom Hooper, The King's Speech; Christopher Nolan, Inception.
Best Actor UP: Colin Firth, The King's Speech. He plays a disability-conquering royal person in this year's presumable Best Picture front-runner, the trailer for which looks terrific. He probably won't need Harvey Weinstein's ruthless backing, but he'll have it anyway. DOWN: Mel Gibson, The Beaver. "Could Mel Gibson become a late player in this year's Best Actor race?" wondered Pete Hammond on Wednesday, giving everyone a pretty good laugh.
CURRENT PREDIX: Javier Bardem, Biutiful; Robert Duvall, Get Low; Colin Firth, The King's Speech; James Franco, 127 Hours; Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter.
Best Actress UP: Natalie Portman, Black Swan. The buzz gets louder! Tom O'Neil asks if the Best Actress race is already over. DOWN: Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right. More good news for Portman: Bening, her strongest competition (so far!), may lose votes to her own co-star, Julianne Moore, who'll compete in the same category.
CURRENT PREDIX: Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right; Anne Hathaway, Love and Other Drugs; Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole; Lesley Manville, Another Year; Natalie Portman, Black Swan.
Best Supporting Actor UP: Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech. Unless voters just decide he already has too many damn awards, all buzz for the movie should translate into at least a nod. DOWN: Andrew Garfield, The Social Network. So far there's been more awards talk for his co-star, Justin Timberlake. Justin Timberlake!
CURRENT PREDIX: Christian Bale, The Fighter; Andrew Garfield, The Social Network; Sam Rockwell, Conviction; Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right; Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech.
Best Supporting Actress UP: Helena Bonham-Carter, The King's Speech. Blah blah blah. Trailer. Toronto. Terrific-seeming. DOWN: Sissy Spacek, Get Low. Despite her unflashy role, she had an early advantage in a weak category. Things seem to be heating up a bit, though.
CURRENT PREDIX: Helena Bonham-Carter, The King's Speech; Melissa Leo, The Fighter; Miranda Richardson, Made in Dagenham; Sissy Spacek, Get Low; Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit.
Photo: The Weinsten Company