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oscar futures

Oscar Futures: Christmas Edition

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 Social Network. Following Network's sweep of the critics prizes last week, most of Gold Derby's pundits and the Gurus o' Gold now have it as the front-runner. DOWN: The King's Speech. Dethroned! A few experts even have it losing to The Fighter.
CURRENT PREDIX: 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King's Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter's Bone.
Best Director UP: Sofia Coppola, Somewhere. She's still in no immediate danger of being nominated, but in a slow week for this category her heretofore written-off movie scored good reviews and a few notable raves. DOWN: Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit. Great reviews for the movie, but most critics seem to think it's an anomaly in an oeuvre filled with weirder, more ambitious work. Who wants to give these guys an award for playing it straight?
CURRENT PREDIX: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan; David Fincher, The Social Network; Tom Hooper, The King's Speech; Christopher Nolan, Inception; David O. Russell, The Fighter.
Best Actor UP: Javier Bardem, Biutiful. Outraged over his snubs by SAG, BFCA, and the Golden Globes, Stu Vanairsdale, Dave Karger, and Steve Pond make a plea. DOWN: Jeff Bridges, True Grit. Again, reviews for Grit are good, but nobody seems wild enough about his performance to give him the boost he needed this week.
CURRENT PREDIX: Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine; Robert Duvall, Get Low; Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network; Colin Firth, The King's Speech; James Franco, 127 Hours.
Best Actress UP: Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine. Her profile's way up this week, owing to last week's Globe nod and Tuesday's Nightline interview. She may sneak in there yet.DOWN: Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole. Her movie's dying young at the box office.
CURRENT PREDIX: Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right; Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole; Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone; Lesley Manville, Another Year; Natalie Portman, Black Swan.
Best Supporting Actor UP: Justin Timberlake, The Social Network. So Yogi Bear won't be his Norbit — not only does he give an allegedly "charming" performance as Boo Boo, but nobody even saw the thing. Phew. (Plus he was never going to get nominated anyway. Still, though!) DOWN: Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech. Not much real movement in the category this week, but with Speech seemingly losing momentum and Fighter gaining it, Bale's lead over rush seems even safer.
CURRENT PREDIX: Christian Bale, The Fighter; Andrew Garfield, The Social Network; Jeremy Renner, The Town; Sam Rockwell, Conviction; Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech.
Best Supporting Actress UP: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit. Category fraud or not, critics love her performance. DOWN: Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom. It pains us to say so, but with Carter and Leo shoo-ins, and Amy Adams, Kunis, and Steinfeld rising fast, we're nervous about her spot.
CURRENT PREDIX: Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech; Mila Kunis, Black Swan; Melissa Leo, The Fighter; Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit; Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom.
Photo: Sony (Eisenberg); Hat courtesy of Santa Claus