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Oscar Futures: Will Bridesmaids Walk Down the Aisle?

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 Artist. An array of nominations from the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild have now marked this silent film homage as the one to beat. DOWN: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The Stephen Daldry film comes with the highest pedigree, but it's been absent from nearly all Oscar precursors. Is that a casualty of its late arrival, or did organizations like the Globes simply not take to the film?
CURRENT PREDIX: The Artist; The Descendants; The Help; Hugo; Midnight in Paris; Moneyball; War Horse
Best Director UP: Martin Scorsese (Hugo). Scorsese has swiftly leapt ahead of Alexander Payne as the smarty-pants pick presumed to be going toe-to-toe with The Artist's relatively unknown Michel Hazanavicius. Can he eke out a Globes win? DOWN: Steven Spielberg (War Horse). The three-time winner of the Golden Globe for Best Director couldn't even score a nomination this year, though George Clooney somehow managed to shimmy his way in.
CURRENT PREDIX: Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris); Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist); Alexander Payne (The Descendants); Martin Scorsese (Hugo); Steven Spielberg (War Horse)
Best Actor UP: Demian Bichir (A Better Life). Chris Weitz's small drama made barely a ripple in theaters, but Summit has been selling it on the awards circuit like there's no tomorrow. That early-and-often strategy paid off with a SAG nomination for Bichir, which will serve as incitement for more people to check out the movie. DOWN: Michael Fassbender (Shame). After Shame got substantially lashed in the New Yorker over the past two weeks, Fassbender's heavily hyped performance couldn't score a SAG nod. We always knew his NC-17 turn would be a tough sell, but it may be harder than Fox Searchlight thought.
CURRENT PREDIX: George Clooney (The Descendants); Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar); Jean Dujardin (The Artist); Michael Fassbender (Shame); Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
Best Actress UP: Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin). Several women have been vying for the fifth Best Actress slot, but SAG and Golden Globe nominations would appear to hand Swinton the edge. DOWN: Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene). Olsen and Charlize Theron are considered to be Best Actress dark horses, and while neither got a SAG nod, Theron at least managed a Globes nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy.
CURRENT PREDIX: Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs); Viola Davis (The Help); Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady); Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin); Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn)
Best Supporting Actor UP: Nick Nolte (Warrior). This highly respected performance got the shot in the arm it needed from SAG. DOWN: Albert Brooks (Drive). Brooks got a Golden Globes nomination, but his unexpected absence from the SAG shortlist -- a much more accurate Oscar predictor -- is cause for concern. (Not that his publicists are breaking a sweat just yet.)
CURRENT PREDIX: Kenneth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn); Albert Brooks (Drive); Nick Nolte (Warrior); Ben Kingsley (Hugo); Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
Best Supporting Actress UP: Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids). The Screen Actors Guild gave Bridesmaids tons of love, with nominations for both McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, as well as a high-profile Best Ensemble nod for the entire cast. Wiig and the film are longshots in their respective Oscar categories, but McCarthy may have just gotten a ticket to the Kodak. DOWN: Sandra Bullock (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close). The beloved Oscar winner was nowhere to be found in the SAG and Globes nominations this week. That's a real shocker for the Globes, since you know the Hollywood Foreign Press would love to have Bullock's star power in the room.
CURRENT PREDIX: Berenice Bejo (The Artist); Jessica Chastain (The Help); Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids); Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs); Octavia Spencer (The Help)