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oscar futures

Oscar Futures: Year of the Dragon

Every week between now and January 24, 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 Adventures of Tintin. Without a Pixar film in the running this year, could Tintin chase the animation vote? Reviews out of Europe have been very encouraging, though Spielberg's got a more traditional Oscar player in War Horse ... DOWN: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. If Tintin gets in, that would cut Potter's slim chances for an end-of-franchise nod to zero. "But stranger things have happened," writes Movieline's Stu VanAirsdale. "Wait. Actually, no they haven't."
CURRENT PREDIX: The Artist; The Descendants; Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; The Help; J. Edgar; Midnight in Paris; Moneyball; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; War Horse
Best Director UP: Michael Hazanavicius (The Artist). His feel-good film took home the Audience Award at the tony Hamptons Film Festival. DOWN: Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris). Right now would be the perfect time for another press push about Allen's artistry, but even with a newly premiered one-act of his, the headlines are dominated by Diane Keaton's revelation that she fell in love with the Woodman for his hot body. This benefits no one.
CURRENT PREDIX: Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris); David Fincher (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo); Michael Hazanavicius (The Artist); Alexander Payne (The Descendants); Steven Spielberg (War Horse)
Best Actor UP: Michael Shannon (Take Shelter). This sadly overlooked film was one of the very first screeners sent out this season, so let's hope voters notice Shannon's terrific performance. DOWN: Michael Fassbender (Shame). Over at Grantland, Mark Harris reminds us that Fassy will be competing against three other lead performances he gave this year (okay, well, maybe not so much on X-Men), but this category still only allows one nomination per actor. Change the rule! Let Michael Fassbender dominate Best Actor like Eddie Murphy at a Klumps family dinner!
CURRENT PREDIX: George Clooney (The Descendants); Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar); Jean Dujardin (The Artist); Michael Fassbender (Shame); Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
Best Actress UP: Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). A glowing new Vogue profile positions Mara as both a do-anything workhorse and the potential ingenue of the season. If stylists had their druthers, she'd be nominated for everything. DOWN: Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady). Boy, they're really keeping this one under lock and key, aren't they? We haven't even gotten a full trailer, and it's practically November.
CURRENT PREDIX: Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs); Viola Davis (The Help); Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo); Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady); Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn)
Best Supporting Actor UP: Rhys Ifans (Anonymous). The search for new blood in this category continues! Jeff Wells was won over by Ifans for his turn in Anonymous, which is significant since Wells usually despises the actor and once called for the "total termination of acting jobs given to Rhys Ifans." Great, we'll take him! Anyone else wanna get in? DOWN: Albert Brooks (Drive). Ryan Gosling inspired a man to throw a hot dog at Tiger Woods. Albert Brooks inspired a woman to file a lawsuit claiming that his character was an anti-Semitic stereotype. What the hell is going on with Drive, you guys?
CURRENT PREDIX: Kenneth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn); Albert Brooks (Drive); Nick Nolte (Warrior); Christopher Plummer (Beginners); Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
Best Supporting Actress UP: Berenice Bejo (The Artist). Can you feel that building groundswell for The Artist? Bejo could ride it all the way to the Kodak. DOWN: Shailene Woodley (The Descendants). We recently mentioned Woodley's Oscar buzz to an awards voter who was very taken with The Descendants, and he replied, "Really? I mean, ehhh."
CURRENT PREDIX: Sandra Bullock (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close); Jessica Chastain (The Help); Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids); Vanessa Redgrave (Coriolanus); Octavia Spencer (The Help)