Winner of one Oscar nomination, including Best Picture

Posted by · 11:18 am · August 1st, 2009

Henry Fonda in The Ox-Bow IncidentThe Academy’s recent controversial decision to bump the Best Picture category up to 10 nominees has been mulled over, digested, regurgitated and mulled over again at this point.  There’s nothing really new that can be added to the conversation/debate/speculation, but as I was going through my updated Oscar predictions for Monday’s column, I suddenly realized I had a film in the predicted 10 that didn’t pop up in the predicted five in any other category.

My immediate reaction was, “Well that’s silly, Kris, take it out of there.  Or find a feasible place for it elsewhere, too.”  After all, while three and four nominations aren’t necessarily unheard of for select Best Picture nominees throughout the years…a lone Best Picture nominee?  Really?

But why not?  The dynamic shifts so much with this new paradigm that it’s quite feasible for a film, which might not have valiant champions for its various parts, to be one of the most passionately supported efforts for the sum of those parts.  Over the 10 years the Academy tried this experiment between 1932 and 1943, we saw nine films receive single nominations for Best Picture: “She Done Him Wrong” (1932), “Smilin’ Through” (1932), “Here Comes the Navy” (1934), “The House of Rothschild” (1934), “Ruggles of Red Gap” (1935), “Libeled Lady” (1938), “Grand Illusion” (1938), “One Foot in Heaven” (1941) and “The Ox-Bow Incident” (1943).

You’ll find out the mystery film (which sits at #10 on the chart, mind you) on Monday, though perhaps it’s not so hard to guess.  I discovered more and more with this update that I’m anticipating this to be a “time capsule” year for the Academy more than ever.

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50 responses so far

  • 1 8-01-2009 at 11:33 am

    Mr. Gittes said...

    What no one is seriously considering (I think): Up in the Air with Clooney.. Put that in your ten by Monday.

  • 2 8-01-2009 at 11:37 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    You seem to be in my head, as it’ll be firmly in the 10 on Monday. It’s getting GREAT notices out of test screenings and it seems the studio is enthusiastic as well.

  • 3 8-01-2009 at 11:52 am

    BurmaShave said...

    Whoa, never would have guessed it was that, great to hear. So with the entirely split reviews are PUBLIC ENEMIES and FUNNY PEOPLE dead?

  • 4 8-01-2009 at 11:53 am

    sasha stone said...

    I’m going to guess District 9.

  • 5 8-01-2009 at 11:58 am

    BurmaShave said...

    Shouldn’t say reviews like those have that much bearing, I guess reactions would be a better word.

  • 6 8-01-2009 at 12:01 pm

    Alex said...

    Yea…I just caught Thank You for Smoking on tv and forgot how much I loved it…so it really got me pumped to see “Up In The Air”. Hopefully Reitman can deliver again.

    And I seriously cant wait to see The Lovely Bones trailer on Thursday…I know this site isnt “that” crazy about it…but I think it’s buzz is really gonna shoot up.

  • 7 8-01-2009 at 12:10 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Oh, FYI, Up in the Air isn’t the lone Pic nominee, just one of two that will be moved into the 10 on Monday. Sorry for that confusion.

  • 8 8-01-2009 at 12:10 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Sasha: I wish!

  • 9 8-01-2009 at 12:35 pm

    Luke Gorham said...

    I’m going to guess “The Road” or “Shutter Island.” Both seem to right on the border of all potential categories. “Funny People” could also sneak in as a lone Best Picture nominee, if you ask me.

  • 10 8-01-2009 at 12:36 pm

    loyal said...

    500 Days of Summer maybe? The only other category it could go for is Original Screenplay.

    Looking forward to Monday.

  • 11 8-01-2009 at 12:44 pm

    A.J said...

    With all the 10 nominees talk has anyone really gone into the “populist” vote? I mean sure you can say “if it wasn’t a contender before, it won’t be a contender now” all you want but no one really knows. Not to say that I think it will be all popular movies all the time or even some of the time, but I do think that there will be a “populist” movie that slips in this year to shock everyone and set an example for years to come.

  • 12 8-01-2009 at 12:46 pm

    A.J said...

    PS- Maybe the one nomination is for Where the Wild Things Are? It was the talk of the town at SDCC this year

  • 13 8-01-2009 at 12:48 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    It would have to be a movie with no distinguishing technical or acting merits and would have to have five other films (adaptations or original stories) that have accumulated more buzz throughout the season to recieve a single nomination for Best Picture.

    And The Grand Illusion…man, wouldn’t that have been an awesome choice for Best Picture?

  • 14 8-01-2009 at 12:57 pm

    Matt T said...

    I’d say Shutter Island except I wouldn’t be brave enough to leave out both Mortimer and Williams. I think at least one of them is getting in. Also, I’ve been predicting Clooney for Up in the Air.

    I think your mystery film is Where the Wild Things Are, even though I believe a Best Pic nom could only happen if the screenplay is also Oscarworthy.

  • 15 8-01-2009 at 1:09 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    A.J.: You hit on what has been the central debate here. Will five more slots open the film to populist entertainment or just more of the same?

    In my conversations with members and industry folks in the wake of last year’s Oscar season, I have slowly come to lose the certainty that “The Dark Knight” and, to a lesser degree, “WALL-E” would have made the list last year had their been 10 nominees. I think we forget that the Academy doesn’t become a different voting body with this change, so more of the same, in many ways, makes sense. That second tier of also-rans, films like “The Hurt Locker” or “The Wrestler,” etc., begin to make more sense than “The Dark Knight” and “Star Trek.”

    This year there are those who think “Star Trek” is firmly in. There are those who think there’s no way it’ll slide in. The philosophy is still very much splintered, so it will indeed be interesting to see what this season has in store.

    Me, for now, and as you’ll note from the next slate of predictions, I’m anticipating more of the same.

    And the mystery film has not been mentioned yet.

  • 16 8-01-2009 at 1:21 pm

    Dave Karger said...

    Hey Kris…It’s interesting to note that “Big Love” was nominated for Best Drama at the Emmys this year, with no other nominations. And that was just with seven Best Drama nominees, not ten. So I think you may be onto something…

  • 17 8-01-2009 at 1:29 pm

    loyal said...

    I’m firmly in the camp that we’ll see more of the same versus the AMPAS suddenly going all box office on us.

    What could that lone BP be?

    Maybe its a genre entry: Capitalism: A Love Story or The Cove.

    For the record, my current 10 are

    Bright Star
    The Hurt Locker
    The Lovely Bones
    Shutter Island

  • 18 8-01-2009 at 1:52 pm

    reub said...

    The Coens’ A Serious Man. I don’t think we’ll see any other nominations for it.

  • 19 8-01-2009 at 2:15 pm

    red_wine said...

    Yes, even I have come around to thinking that blockbusters don’t honestly stand a chance. Star Trek has absolute zero possibility of a nomination.

    I wouldn’t actually call Wall-E a populist choice, it was more of a critics choice film that failed to get nominated. There’s almost one film like Wall-E every year, that is critically beloved but ultimately falls outside the Academy’s bracket. Like Mulholland in 2001, Far From Heaven in 2002, American Splendor in 2003, Eternal Sunshine in 2004, History Of Violence in 2005, United 93 in 2006 & Zodiac in 2007.

    I hope the critics choice can find a place from this year onwards now that there are 10 slots. I think the critics choice this year may be The Hurt Locker.

  • 20 8-01-2009 at 2:17 pm

    entertainmenttoday.. said...

    I could understand 7 nominees but not ten. While I enjoyed Star Trek it’s not worthy of a best pic nod. Its a fun entertainment but its not high art like The Dark Knight. That was truly worthy.
    I just watched Sean Penn’s “Into the Wild” again on Showtime. That film would have been nominated in a field of ten for 2007, so there are pros and cons to the idea.

  • 21 8-01-2009 at 2:20 pm

    RC of strangeculture said...

    @ rueb — I think Richard Kind could get a supporting nod and I think we could even see cinemotography or screen play —

    In fact, I could see a serious man in all three of those places BEFORE best picture — even with 10.

  • 22 8-01-2009 at 2:44 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Agree with RC.

  • 23 8-01-2009 at 2:48 pm

    Matt T said...

    I have trouble seeing Ronan or Sarandon for The Lovely Bones, but I could easily see it get a BP nom.

    Also, the Best Actor field is really strong this year, so I could see Matt Damon falling short, even if The Informant is up for BP.

  • 24 8-01-2009 at 3:02 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I don’t think The Informant is going to be in the Best Picture mix. Maybe screenplay, maybe Damon.

  • 25 8-01-2009 at 3:50 pm

    steve said...

    I’m going to guess Antichrist. The film will be too polarizing to make it into any field of five nominees, but with a category of 10? It has a good shot there.

  • 26 8-01-2009 at 3:57 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    Antichrist no way. I can’t imagine anyone putting that on the top of their list, which is what the movie needs.

    I think The Informant might take the slot that a comedy can take now.

  • 27 8-01-2009 at 4:03 pm

    steve said...

    Remember that a movie only needs a small passionate crowd to push it to the top. I believe that Lars von Trier has a big enough support group in the academy to garner a nomination. Or, if not that, I know Mantle the DP has a great support group among other DP’s, and maybe they can get it to the top.

  • 28 8-01-2009 at 4:15 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I wouldn’t hold my breath, steve.

  • 29 8-01-2009 at 6:00 pm

    Alex said...

    Not so sure about Sarandon…but I’d probably predict that Ronan will be nominated, we’ll see…but “on paper” it looks like she has a really good chance…lead role in a P.Jackson fantasy drauma thats being released in December. Obviously there’s the “age factor”, but we’ll see i guess.

    …and Jackson, Walsh, and Boyens definately know how to write for teenage girls.

  • 30 8-01-2009 at 6:02 pm

    Mike said...

    1. The Dark Knight high art? Let us not get carried away. It has been a year since it was released and there are no excuses for such claims.

    2. If Antichrist got nominated (no chance in Hell of course) The Academy would bring back Best Picture field to 5 for next year faster than you could say huge-effin-controversy.

  • 31 8-01-2009 at 6:56 pm

    Bill said...

    The situation is a bit like The Mutiny on the Bounty, which won Best Picture in 1935 but no other awards.

  • 32 8-01-2009 at 7:44 pm

    N8 said...

    Just because it hasn’t been mentioned yet, I’ll guess “Creation”.

  • 33 8-01-2009 at 7:59 pm

    SHAAAARK said...

    Where the Wild Things Are?

  • 34 8-01-2009 at 8:06 pm

    Derek W. Clem said...

    Mutiny was nominated for many other awards. Grand Hotel, however, won best pic while having no other Oscar nods to its name.

  • 35 8-01-2009 at 8:28 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    Capitalism A Love story

  • 36 8-01-2009 at 8:49 pm

    RC of strangeculture said...

    Part of me thinks that “lone film” could be The Hurt Locker — I think it could stick around for the best picture dance, but get shuffled out elsewhere…

    although I don’t think that’s what you’re thinking — it’s screenplay chances and director chances are still there.

    Maybe your thinking “Taking Woodstock” because of the gay themes that some voters might look too and place it at the top of the list, or…

    Biutiful because Focus is behind it. (I’m not sure if it qualifies for Foreign film…I don’t think we can know yet, right?)

    Or Maybe Green Zone – Paul Greengrass is usually praise-worthy?

  • 37 8-01-2009 at 11:22 pm

    Hans said...

    I’ll say it….Drag Me to Hell.

  • 38 8-02-2009 at 12:08 am

    Steve said...

    the only others i can think of are Sugar, and Moon. They both have gotten great reviews, and are sure to be on many top ten lists.

  • 39 8-02-2009 at 12:47 am

    Glenn said...

    RC, “Green Zone” is 2010 now.

    It could be “Public Enemies”. It got “respectable” reviews and box office and is the sort of movie that could slip in around the middle of a lot of Academy members’ ballots after some of the bigger titles have disappointed.

    Perhaps “The Last Station”? “Brothers”? “Where the Wild Things Are”? hmmm…

    Or perhaps a foreign film that Kris is expecting to not be selected by the country of origin? Although I’d suspect something like Haneke’s “The White Ribbon” would be more of a lone director type of thing (even with ten nominees in BP)

  • 40 8-02-2009 at 1:32 am

    j said...

    4 films w/both 100 mil & green-zone reviews on MC: viable contenders Up & Star Trek; tech contender Potter; The Hangover.

    4 or 5 films w/A- or higher & will be wide release eventually: Up & Star Trek; Drag Me to Hell & Hurt Locker; possibly The Cove.

  • 41 8-02-2009 at 1:35 am

    j said...

    Oh wait I meant B+.

  • 42 8-02-2009 at 9:35 am

    Michael W. said...

    It will be The Hangover. Obviously ;-D

  • 43 8-02-2009 at 1:21 pm

    leocd said...

    Where the Wild Things Are!!
    This film received an incredible reception on the Comic Con. I already love the film without see more than the trailer and the featurette.

  • 44 8-02-2009 at 1:23 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Even though IMDb says otherwise, I’ve talked to Focus about Biutiful and they only have foreign rights. It doesn’t have U.S. distribution yet.

  • 45 8-02-2009 at 2:14 pm

    leocd said...

    And, by the way, there’s no way that Wall-e wouldn’t be nominated last year with 10 slots. It’s totally impossible.

  • 46 8-02-2009 at 8:16 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Wouldn’t be so sure…

  • 47 8-02-2009 at 8:36 pm

    Georgie said...

    Definitely agreeing with Leo, the trailer and featurette alone are better than almost everything I’ve seen this year, short of Up and The Hurt Locker.

  • 48 8-03-2009 at 12:44 am

    Matt said...

    I’ll join the Where the Wild Things Are bandwagon.

  • 49 8-03-2009 at 8:13 am

    Bill M said...

    I’ll throw a film that is building great word of mouth and Sasha over at AwardsDaily last week had a bit of an Oscar push for it “The Cove”.

    My guesses are The Cove or Where the Wild Things Are.

  • 50 8-28-2009 at 3:47 pm

    hoodia said...

    Nice but i think something is missing.