POLL: Which of these films has the best shot at upsetting the apparently “locked” five?

Posted by · 12:49 pm · January 12th, 2009

Alright, I let that “Revolutionary Road” poll run its course through the New Year, as promised, and it seems most readers feel the film has, for the most part, received the undeserved shaft this awards season.  Now we can finally get a fresh query out to the readership.

Assuming, what with PGA, WGA, DGA and ACE nailing things shut, that the Oscar frontrunners for Best Picture are “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “The Dark Knight,” “Frost/Nixon,” “Milk” and “Slumdog Millionaire,” which film has the best shot of upsetting the group?  Personally, I think only five films are in that mix, but I left an “other” option in this week’s sidebar poll, just in case.

Let us know what you think — vote now!




→ 48 Comments Tags: , | Filed in: Daily

48 responses so far

  • 1 1-12-2009 at 12:58 pm

    BILLY said...

    Never count out Eastwood, even though Gran Torino is terrible, it did 30 million for an opening. I pray I’m wrong but it’s Clint.

  • 2 1-12-2009 at 12:59 pm

    Brad said...

    This is gonna sound a little out there but I have a sneaking suspicion that Benjamin Button will NOT be nominated for Best Picture. I just don’t feel the love for this film by the industry – kinda the same feeling there was for “Dreamgirls”. I seriously think Button will be replaced by “The Reader”, which seemed to have a little surge when ballots were being filled out. Plus, never underestimate a Holocaust drama.

  • 3 1-12-2009 at 1:00 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    I think ‘Doubt’ is #6 right now with its strong SAG support, and ‘Wall-E’ is an absolute wildcard. I wouldn’t be shocked if it got in, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it didn’t.

    ‘Gran Torino’ has zero chance — pic is a disaster with a coat of Eastwood paint.

  • 4 1-12-2009 at 1:05 pm

    Ben M. said...

    Since Wall-E was inelgible for a lot of guilds I think it is the real wildcard (as the best reviewed film of the year, it strikes me as a film that will grab #1 votes even if some voters leave it off their ballots completely since it is animated).

    I think all the films except for Reader have some chance at sneaking in though they would be significant surprises IMO. Too bad for Gran Torino its popular success will come in too late to have any real impact on the nominations.

  • 5 1-12-2009 at 1:11 pm

    JC said...

    What Chase said…

  • 6 1-12-2009 at 1:36 pm

    Matt said...

    Hell… I think the only lock is Slumdog. I think Button could get knocked off, as could TDK, as could Frost/Nixon or Milk. All four have had mediocre runs in the precursors. Depending on the success of the SAGs, Doubt could still be in the running, as could The Wrestler and Revolutionary Road.

    I agree with Brad that The Reader may, just may, sneak in. Despite the lukewarm reviews (only like 62% on RT), it seems to have a loyal base, has the best ‘WWII’ film reviews of the year, has tons of FYC ads and has Kate Winslet who is on a roll.

  • 7 1-12-2009 at 1:57 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    I dunno I got the feeling with Eastwood’s Gran Opening there’s more possible than Actor and Song, most notably screenplay, but a BP nod is a possibility. That in terms of momentum, otherwise I wouldn’t know. The only logical choice would be Wall-E. Simply because it got the most and consistent love from the critics, but not the guilds.

  • 8 1-12-2009 at 2:06 pm

    Jilda said...

    Matt,

    How have all of the current frontrunners for nominations had mediocre runs in the precursors? This is the first year that we have come to such a strong consensus because it’s rare that the PGA, DGA, WGA, ACE, and even the ADG nominate the same five films. They may not all be big winners, but they all certainly have proved they have what it takes to get nominated.

  • 9 1-12-2009 at 2:10 pm

    Roger Durling said...

    Woody Allen will knock one of the DGA nominees and be nominated for Best Director.

  • 10 1-12-2009 at 2:19 pm

    Kyle said...

    If Gran Torino was nominated for Best Pic…that’d have to be the worst nomination in 10 years. (probably an exageration on my part, I can’t quite recall every nominee right now, but it’d be WAYYYY up there).
    I could deal with a nod for “The Reader” or “Doubt” because well…it’s oscar-porn anyway…but Gran Torino…just utter garbage wrapped in terrible Hmong acting.

  • 11 1-12-2009 at 2:36 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Durling! Glad someone is on this lonely boat John and I have been rowing (though I jumped back on the Aronofsky train with this latest slate of predictions).

  • 12 1-12-2009 at 2:44 pm

    Brad said...

    Woody Allen for director is so out of left field. Vicky Cristina is grade B Woody Allen at best.
    Woody has been nominated for director for all of his A list films. Although he can probably pull a Best Original Screenplay Oscar, I think director is virtually impossible. Aronofsky is think is in. Rourke’s performance will pull Aronofsky to a nomination. He’s exactly the sort of director’s director that the directing branch likes. I am going full steam that “The Reader” and Stephen Daldry both make it in.

  • 13 1-12-2009 at 2:52 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    I’m sort of on the Allen boat too. I’m banking on one left-field Director nod, but can’t decide between Aronofsky, Allen or Mike Leigh — it’s a total toss-up for me. I just hope they don’t go with the DGA’s five … let’s get some new blood in the race.

    And Brad: You may disagree, but I’d say “Broadway Danny Rose” was pretty minor Allen, and that grabbed a Director nod.

  • 14 1-12-2009 at 3:49 pm

    Mark in Orlando said...

    WALL-E definitely unless The Reader (which I finally saw this weekend) sneaks in as this year’s The Pianist. I’m not so sure, however, that if any of the five get snubbed it’ll be The Dark Knight as I’m betting a lot of readers here are assuming. I think Frost/Nixon (which I loved) might have issues with how the Academy votes (you need first place votes to get in because of their point system), but after getting completely shut out of both the Critic’s Choice and Golden Globe awards this week it sounds like Benjamin Button is sinking fast.

    With that said, I don’t expect a surprise in Picture although I do think Richard Jenkins is going to knock Brad Pitt out of Actor and there may be a surprise nomination for Director.

  • 15 1-12-2009 at 4:13 pm

    Bart Smith said...

    My gut says that the actors push DOUBT into the fifth spot and knock THE DARK KNIGHT out.

  • 16 1-12-2009 at 4:19 pm

    Mark in Orlando said...

    Bart, if you’re right I will be very angry because Doubt is not a very good movie. Everyone is excellent and the script is decent, but John Patrick Shanley’s direction is horrendous. It is honestly the worst directed movie I’ve ever seen. He wrecks what should have been a good movie. The pacing is off, there are a couple of scenes where he probably should have reeled the actors in a bit and all I need to do is say Bench and Hoffman, and everyone knows which scene I’m talking about when I call it the worst directed scene of all-time. His nausea-inducing camera angles alone should get him banned from ever getting behind the camera again.

  • 17 1-12-2009 at 4:27 pm

    Chris said...

    I think The Curious Case of Benjamin Button or Frost/Nixon would get knocked off. I don’t think they would do that to The Dark Knight – it’s too big and would get them so many viewers. On top of that, I think it is deserving of a nomination. Personally, if Frost/Nixon got nominated, I don’t think it would win anything. I also think Benjamin Button would only win technical awards if anything. I don’t think Benjamin Button is really that great, or that worthy of a nomination, quite honestly, so I wouldn’t be bummed if they booted it out at last minute.

  • 18 1-12-2009 at 4:28 pm

    Jilda said...

    I really don’t think that just because a film gets many acting nominations means it has actor’s support as a film. Doubt has gotten nothing that proves it’s a strong Best Picture contender. I also don’t think The Dark Knight is the weakest of the five main contenders. Yes, the film is a genre picture, but hasn’t it proved itself enough with these Guild nominationsd it has gotten? sure it can be left off the ballot but it’s certainly not automatically in the #5 spot just because of it’s genre.

  • 19 1-12-2009 at 4:39 pm

    Bart Smith said...

    To each their own, but I found THE DARK KNIGHT to be a not very good movie—a terrible screenplay that was saved by good direction and one outstanding performance.

    As far as it being the weakest of the front runners, I attribute that to the process by which the AMPAS tabulates nominations. I see the movie getting on a lot of ballots—maybe more than any other movie—but I don’t think it’ll get enough #1 votes to make the cut.

  • 20 1-12-2009 at 4:44 pm

    Jilda said...

    I’m not talking about the way I see the film at all but I don’t see Doubt getting very many #1 votes either.

  • 21 1-12-2009 at 4:45 pm

    Mark in Orlando said...

    One outstanding performance? So, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Christian Bale, Gary Oldman and the rest were all crap? Terrible screenplay? I’m sorry, but you just lost a lot of credibility right there. The screenplay grabbed a WGA nomination and has actually won a couple of critic’s awards. If you didn’t like it, fine, but to suggest everyone else is wrong and you’re right about something like that negates any point you’re trying to make. At least my rant was about something a great number of critics and everyone I know complained about themselves.

    As for the voting tabulation, what could make this year different for a lot of movies is there aren’t many viable choices in a lot of categories and the balloting could end up with the same three or four potential nominees finishing at the top.

  • 22 1-12-2009 at 4:49 pm

    jason said...

    i agree somewhat with the guy that said only slumdog is a lock. i also think milk is a lock. it seems like #2 to me. my gut says both dark knight and wall-e make it in, and frost/nixon is the logical remaining choice. i agree with the guy who said frost/nixon might get hurt because it won’t have as many #1 votes too. i would personally prefer the wrestler, and it has a great performance for the acting branch and other good stuff for the smaller branches. so i think that both wall-e and the wrestler could spoil, with the victims being benjamin button and frost/nixon.

  • 23 1-12-2009 at 5:02 pm

    Mark in Orlando said...

    I think Slumdog is a lock and I really think the race is over because it’s peaking at the perfect time. I think Milk is a lock because a lot of people feel guilty about the whole Crash/Brokeback Mountain thing a couple of years ago. After that, I think the other three are potentially vulnerable, but there isn’t much out there screaming to take their place. The Wrestler has Rourke and Aronofsky as both a positive and a negative (both have their supporters and detractors). As I was ripped for suggesting in another forum (but there are certainly enough reports over the years to back me up) Mickey Rourke is not a well-liked person in Hollywood and Darren Aronofsky is a pretty strong love-’em-or-hate-him filmmaker. Doubt has all of the problems I’ve mentioned already. WALL-E is, well, animated and as much as that shouldn’t matter, it does to the Actor’s branch who make up the large majority of voters. The Reader is a little controversial and its sex scenes may turn off a lot of voters. Vicky Cristina Barcelona is, as one person here already put it, minor Woody Allen; it’s a good, but not great movie. There just isn’t much of anything out there to unseat the big five and I don’t see it happening although if WALL-E knocked Benjamin Button off the list I would do cartwheels.

  • 24 1-12-2009 at 5:08 pm

    Bart Smith said...

    “One outstanding performance? So, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Christian Bale, Gary Oldman and the rest were all crap?”

    That implies that there are only two states for an actor’s performance: outstanding and crap. For that matter, I didn’t even say that there weren’t other outstanding performances—just that there was one outstanding performance that saved the movie. But no, I don’t think there was any outstanding performance aside from Ledger. Eckhart and Oldman were good, but there rest were nothing special.

    “Terrible screenplay? I’m sorry, but you just lost a lot of credibility right there. The screenplay grabbed a WGA nomination and has actually won a couple of critic’s awards”

    And I see it as those organizations and critics losing credibility. I don’t think it was a great screenplay. The were way too many monologues of characters hammering home the movie’s simplistic themes, and the third act was a confusing mess of plot lines.

    “If you didn’t like it, fine, but to suggest everyone else is wrong and you’re right about something like that negates any point you’re trying to make. At least my rant was about something a great number of critics and everyone I know complained about themselves.”

    It seems to me that you’re doing the exact thing that you are falsely accusing me of doing. I merely presented my opinion of the movie and didn’t once suggest that others were wrong for disagreeing with me, which is how you seem to be acting in response to my opinion.

  • 25 1-12-2009 at 5:09 pm

    Troy said...

    “If you didn’t like it, fine, but to suggest everyone else is wrong and you’re right about something like that negates any point you’re trying to make.”

    To suggest that he is wrong because it has gotten a few nominations and won a few awards negates any point you are trying to make.

  • 26 1-12-2009 at 5:15 pm

    Mark in Orlando said...

    Since you and Brad pretty much said the same thing:

    “To suggest that he is wrong because it has gotten a few nominations and won a few awards negates any point you are trying to make.”

    Wrong. What I said was the fact he so out-of-hand disqualified it without taking anything else other than his opinion into consideration negated his point because it’s an attempt to raise his opinion over the opinion of others. It’s a simple thing: if you don’t use the phrase “I think” you are making it an absolute statement which say you’re discounting anything anyone else has to say. Saying “I think” makes it clear you are only stating your opinion. And don’t bother point out that I said “wrong’ instead of “I think you’re wrong” because since you misrepresented what I said it means without question that you are wrong since I’m well aware of what it was I was trying to say.

  • 27 1-12-2009 at 5:19 pm

    Mark in Orlando said...

    “a terrible screenplay that was saved by good direction and one outstanding performance. ”

    Brad, as soon as you show me where it says in there that you think it’s a terrible screenplay and not that it was absolutely, without question a terrible screenplay I will apologize. The thing is you didn’t and that’s what I was commenting on. The statement above clearly comes across as an absolute statement; the screenplay is terrible not ifs, no ands, no buts. There is no “I think” in here. There is no “in my opinion” here. You are making the statement as fact, not opinion.

  • 28 1-12-2009 at 5:36 pm

    Bart Smith said...

    “Brad, as soon as you show me where it says in there that you think it’s a terrible screenplay and not that it was absolutely, without question a terrible screenplay I will apologize.”

    I feel like at this point, it’s become a petty conversation about language and not about the actual subject at hand, but regardless…

    I prefaced my statement with “To each their own, but I found…” The first part establishing that everyone is welcome to their own opinion, and the second part clarifying that the rest of that graph was solely my opinion.

    But as you’ve already said yourself and now seem to be contradicting, but the “I think” is unnecessary because if I post something it’s implied that that is what I think.

  • 29 1-12-2009 at 6:16 pm

    BurmaShave said...

    VICKY is better than BROADWAY DANNY ROSE and BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, and it is in no way minor Allen, it’s just different Allen. And it was exceedingly well directed. Also, we’ve gotten pretty bitchy around here lately.

  • 30 1-12-2009 at 6:20 pm

    John K said...

    I get a really “Dreamgirls”-ish vibe from “Benjamin Button” as well. My prediction: “Wall-E” knocks out “Benjamin Button” for the fifth slot. I know a few critics’ awards here and there don’t mean too much, but Boston, Chicago, AND Los Angeles? That’s a hell of a lot of goodwill for an animated film. Sure, “Wall-E” lost the Teen Choice award, but I think it can recover.

    (I also feel like “The Dark Knight” is more solidly entrenched as a nominee than most people believe.)

  • 31 1-12-2009 at 6:20 pm

    Speaking English said...

    “Bart, if you’re right I will be very angry because Doubt is not a very good movie.”

    “He wrecks what should have been a good movie.”

    “His nausea-inducing camera angles alone should get him banned from ever getting behind the camera again.”

    And you’re so opposed to absolutes, hyperbolic statements passed off as facts?

    Leave the hypocrite to its own.

  • 32 1-12-2009 at 6:26 pm

    Troy said...

    “It’s a simple thing: if you don’t use the phrase “I think” you are making it an absolute statement which say you’re discounting anything anyone else has to say.”

    Yeah, I’m with Bart, your arguing semantics here. When someone here gives their opinion, I’m just always going to assume they aren’t saying it is absolute. And, what if he does take into account other people’s voices before such a bold claim? Just because he is disagreeing with the majority doesn’t mean he is ignoring their points.

  • 33 1-12-2009 at 6:53 pm

    Barry said...

    Revolutionary Road. Nuff said.

  • 34 1-12-2009 at 7:55 pm

    Rob Scheer said...

    Except for “Slumdog,” I could see any of the remaining four being knocked out by “Wall-E.” My money’s on “Frost/Nixon.”

    P.S.: I spoke to a handful of Academy voters this week and while the expected were included (they all had “Slumdog” and “Benjamin Button” on their list), no less than 3 of them had “Gran Torino.” I pray it was just a coincidence, as the movie is fucking terrible (not just “overrated” or “mediocre, not great” — it’s genuinely awful), but never count out Clint.

  • 35 1-12-2009 at 9:15 pm

    Glenn said...

    “[Doubt] is honestly the worst directed movie I’ve ever seen.” You clearly have not seen many movies, then.

  • 36 1-12-2009 at 9:16 pm

    A.J said...

    The Academy feels guilty about Brokeback Mountain? Can those people feel anything? No. Milk won’t get in to make amends for honoring a better film. It will get in on its own merits, assuming it gets in. WALL-E is a huge wild card and I think Frost/Nixon would be the one that suffers.

  • 37 1-13-2009 at 12:16 am

    Ron said...

    To me I think if anything is going to happen in the surprise department watch out for Revolutionary Road to replace Frost/Nixon. It may just be what I am hopping for but watching precursors Frost/Nixon just has no momentum and Revolutionary Road could be the late release to push its way in. To me I really like Frost/Nixon but on a whole it is Ron Howard safe again. Nothing to edge or controversial and of the acting Kate Winslett matches Langella, leaving the remaining cast of Revolutionary Road demolishng the supporting cast of Frost/Nixon. Dicaprio is best of his career in this movie if only he had more time to dominate in the movie he could be a real contender. (easily better than Brad Pitts good but not great performance. Benjamin Button is all about the story and style.) Then for two seens only Michael Sheen is a tour de force and should in my opinion be a lock for a nomination. Revolutionary Road is the only movie besides The Dark Knight to really make me feel like i could not get enough air. For me the best picture five should be The Dark Knight, Slumdog Millionaire, Revolutionary Road, Milk, and Curious case of benjamin button.

  • 38 1-13-2009 at 12:19 am

    Ron said...

    When I say Frost/Nixon has no momentum I mean it has not won anything other than las vegas. And Revolutionary Road seems to be more of bad release than bad movie. For a movie reuniting Winslett and Dicaprio it should have had more time to try to gain steem. It seems almost as if Dreamworks and paramount vantage just did not have the money to support the film like it should have been.

  • 39 1-13-2009 at 12:27 am

    James said...

    I think Revolutionary Road should be on that list over The Reader. I don’t, however, believe in its potential to upset the main 5. I think it’s down to 3:

    WALL·E
    Doubt
    The Wrestler

    I’d orgasm if The Wrestler made it, mostly because it was an early call/belief of mine prior to late November’s award season kick-off. I felt that it could obtain the passionate support from voters, and honestly, it still could. But I wouldn’t care if it did get snubbed, so long as Darren Aronofsky knocked Ron Howard out of the director’s slot.

  • 40 1-13-2009 at 12:29 am

    James said...

    Rob S.–Did you find out what those Academy members had to say about Directing and Acting categories? =P.

  • 41 1-13-2009 at 12:59 am

    Ron said...

    James I agree with you that Darren Aronofsky should knock Ron Howard out of the director’s slot. The wrestler is such an original and heart breaking movie and Mickey Rourke should win the oscar. Having such a full bodied character like randy the ram is so rare and should not be ignored for great immitations of hitorical figures. Doubt is a great actors show case but as a full movie experience it is a little lackluster. That is why i prefer Rev Road over Doubt for the fact that it is equal if not better in acting, equal in all categories but Rev Road is more of a complete movie where doubt feels like it suits the stage better than film. Wall-E is great but it is just fine winning best animated. And The Wrestler would be a terrific surprise to knock out a top five. My top ten go…

    The Dark Knight
    Revolutionary Road
    Slumdog Millionaire
    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    The Wrestler
    Milk
    Frost/Nixon
    Doubt
    Wall-E
    Gran Torino

  • 42 1-13-2009 at 1:58 am

    James said...

    I’m glad that you do, and I agree completely on most of what you said, except that Penn was exceptional and is my winner.

    Now, that Top 10….Is that how you’d rank, personally, the Top 10 BP contenders? (Good to see GT on the bottom. I had to cyberbitchsmack my usually taste-inclined friend yesterday for grading GT a B+. Silly tool.) Anyway, I hope so, because I’d be sad if you’re Top 10 of all of 2008 included only those films, haha. There are so many stellar ones that aren’t being recognized in a major way.

    Here’s how I rank those 10:

    WALL ·E
    Milk
    Slumdog Millionaire
    Revolutionary Road
    The Wrestler\The Dark Knight
    Frost/Nixon
    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    Doubt
    Every Keanu Reeves Performance
    E. Coli
    Gran Torino

    (Actually, I thought, growl aside, Eastwood gave a great performance, and I prefer it to Pitt’s. But GT is still a C-/D+ movie, and I bet if I saw it a second time, it might be an indisputable D.)

    Here’s my Top 10 of 2008 though, based on USA release dates, not IMDb years:

    Boy A
    Love Songs
    Snow Angels
    WALL·E
    Milk
    Frozen River
    Slumdog Millionaire
    Rachel Getting Married
    Revolutionary Road
    The Wrestler/The Dark Knight

    Until I decide which I prefer to the other, this is too difficult. Also, honorable mentions for The Black Balloon and Pineapple Express.

    Sorry for the overlong post =P.

  • 43 1-13-2009 at 2:11 am

    Ron said...

    It’s just my personal top 10. Gran Torino was a special movie for me because other than the lakers betting celtics on christmas day it was the best time i had with my dad all year. Clint Gives a great performance and the movie is for the most part a delight. The biggest problem with the movie is the horrible casting. Other than the priest I don’t think and other side actor did thier job especially Thao. If this years oscars stay the same as all the guilds support show it should be then I have to find my self probably giving more credit to the golden globes for the first time ever.

  • 44 1-13-2009 at 3:56 am

    Dominik said...

    Happy-go-lucky!
    The movie that could…

  • 45 1-13-2009 at 11:21 am

    Commentator said...

    I have a strong feeling WALL-E might get in. Over who, I’m not sure, but I’d say every film except for Slumdog is at risk.

  • 46 1-13-2009 at 2:51 pm

    Edgardo said...

    Best picture noms: Winner; MILK
    – MILK, Button, Slumdog, Dark Knight, Frost Nixon
    – Actor: Sean Penn
    -Actress: Meryl Streep
    -Sup. Actor: Josh Brolin
    -Sup Actress: Kate Winslet (The Reader)

  • 47 1-13-2009 at 4:11 pm

    Jerry Grant said...

    The most likely to get kicked out is “Frost/Nixon,” not “Benjamin Button.” “Wall-E” is the most likely to show up in its place. (“Dark Knight” WILL be nominated.)

    Neither Brad Pitt nor Richard Jenkins will take the 5th actor slot. It will and should go to Leonardo di Caprio for “Revolutionary Road.”

    Darren Aronofsky will replace Ron Howard for director.

    I’m sensing an inevitable but unfortunate Frost/Nixon snub…

  • 48 1-18-2009 at 6:25 pm

    kennya said...

    Wall-E???? WTH???