Holiday preview: Oscar predictions |


Holiday preview: Oscar predictions

We analyze the playing field — including a Best Picture race shaken up by new Academy rules

As if the Oscar game wasn’t already complicated enough, the Academy further muddied the waters this year by overhauling the rules for Best Picture. In order to nab a nomination, a film must now earn at least 5 percent of the total number of first-place votes (projected to be around 240 ballots). Depending on the actual voting, between five and 10 films will earn Best Picture nods. (In other major categories, there will still be only five nominees.) How will this affect the race for the top prize? ”Now if you don’t vote for a film number one,” says one campaigner, ”your vote won’t matter.” Films with strong cult followings will have an advantage. Though nominations won’t be announced till Jan. 24, here are the movies and stars currently leading the pack.

Best Picture
The Artist
Yes, it’s in black and white and has virtually no audible dialogue. But its unique charm has led to several festival awards, both domestically and overseas.
The Descendants
Balancing deadpan comedy and heart-tugging drama, director Alexander Payne’s latest character study stands to be the critical favorite of the year.
War Horse
With its wartime setting, sweeping visuals, and a story based on a hit novel (and play), Steven Spielberg’s period piece seems to tick all the right Oscar boxes.

Other Contenders
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
The Ides of March
Midnight in Paris

Long Shots
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part 2
J. Edgar
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
The Tree of Life
Young Adult