The Gurus line up for another year

Posted by · 6:34 am · September 3rd, 2009

Gurus o' GoldOver at Movie City News, David Poland has amassed the fifth annual Gurus o’ Gold prognosticating collective (including yours truly once again) and asked for a list of 15 films with the brightest pre-Toronto Best Picture profile.  We also were asked to indicate dark horse underdog actors and actresses, which yielded some interesting results (though some of them shouldn’t really count as “dark horses”).

The Best Picture chart includes 34 titles (the top 10 republished after the jump) and represents the wild blind stab you’d expect at this point.

I find myself surprised “Bright Star” is still being considered a formidable contender, but it’s firmly in the top 10.  So is “Precious,” proving out a personal months-old intuition (though nothing’s assured at this point, of course).

“The Road,” “Amelia” and “Capitalism: A Love Story” are the bubble contenders.  “District 9” and “Star Trek” also have decent showings.

Despite my feelings on “Bright Star,” I was happy to see the LA Times’ Mark Olsen point attention to Paul Schneider’s performance in the film, while Susan Wloszcyna is the only one joining me in banging the drum for “Precious” star Gabourey Sidibe.

Pete Hammond pulls an out-of-the-blue pick in Catalina Saavedra for “The Maid” (confession: news to me), and where there’s smoke there’s generally fire with Pete.  And it’s nice to see Sharlto Copley and Jeremy Renner leading the way for the dark horse actors.

It’s all fun conjecture for another few weeks, but this is a solid cross-section.  The top 10 predicted Best Picture nominees from the Gurus o’ Gold:

Gurus o' Gold

→ 10 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

10 responses so far

  • 1 9-03-2009 at 12:11 pm

    Johnny Doubles said...

    I would hate to jinx it, but by the way things seem to be shaping up to me, we might finally have a female Best Director winner.
    I felt for some time (even before its release here in Dallas) that the rabid support for ‘Hurt Locker’ would propel it through the awards season. Somehow, a great deal of passionate writers harping over and over again about how a film has no shot but deserves to, is very effective in pushing that film through. I even felt this way BEFORE the curveball ten nominee rule change.
    Even if something moves past ‘Hurt Locker’ in the front-runner position, I feel there will be enough push behind Bigelow to make her a historic winner…. I least I would hope so

  • 2 9-03-2009 at 12:12 pm

    Johnny Doubles said...

    …that is, I feel that Bigelow is one of those rare instances (James Coburn in ‘Affliction’ was one) where the nomination will be the tougher obstacle moreso than the win.
    If she gets nominated, I think she’s got it.

  • 3 9-03-2009 at 12:13 pm

    Speaking English said...

    I would hope the first woman to win the Best Director Oscar would be a little more deserving… sorry Bigelow.

  • 4 9-03-2009 at 12:18 pm

    billybil said...

    Im wondering if Star Trek is the one summer blockbuster to keep an eye on…it is, in a sense, a reimagining of the series and a new start and it deals with issues beyond the norm for popcorn movies. I’m just wondering if there has to be one audience favorite in the 10 (since that’s sort of why it was expanded) if Star Trek will be the one. Of course if Avatar opens with a huge bang in December (I’m wondering about that too) it might pave its way instead.

  • 5 9-03-2009 at 12:19 pm

    A.J said...

    Since when was Mulligan a dark horse for best actress? I thought she had a nomination in the bag and possibly the win? Also, a woman isn’t going to win this year. Possibly due to vote splitting but mainly because Spike Jonze is going to win.

  • 6 9-03-2009 at 12:21 pm

    billybil said...

    I have to admit the previews for WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE have me extremely intrigued but I truly think this is going to be a very polarizing film. Some people I talk too can’t even take it seriously – big folk in silly monster costumes running around in a real forest with a little kid? Watching (and reading) the response to this film is going to be fascinating!

  • 7 9-03-2009 at 1:11 pm

    j said...

    It’d be exciting to have 2 female nominees, bringing the # to 5. I don’t want Bigelow to win though.

    And I don’t think the chart really shows that Hurt Locker is the top contender actually. Sure, one critic abstained from choosing Invictus, but 9 of the critics think it one of the most surefire, vs. 4 for Hurt.

    I find it interesting how quickly Up in the Air has gained this much apparent traction, above Precious & Education which have had buzz since January. Next Saturday will be very, very interesting.

  • 8 9-03-2009 at 2:35 pm

    Johnny Doubles said...

    I can’t see what’s necessarily wrong with Bigelow winning. Her past films? ‘Near Dark’ is far superior as an early film to ‘Bad Taste’ or ‘Splash’ (both early films from recent Best Director winners). I would hold her filmography (esp. ‘Near Dark’, ‘Blue Steel’, and ‘Strange Days’) up against that of Ron Howard or Sam Mendes, who have both won Oscars. While she has made nothing of the caliber of ‘Aliens’, her career path has been very similar to that of her ex-husband, James Cameron (and I prefer ‘Point Break’ to ‘True Lies’ anyday, but then again, that’s simply personal taste. They are both highly entertaining). Bigelow has always struck me as a director who would receive MUCH more praise (and funding) were she a male. She creates well-made, fairly commercial films (not unlike Ridley Scott or Cameron…bring on the cries of “BLASPHEMER”. I don’t think her overall output matches these other two, by the way. Just that it follows a similar trajectory, and if she wer given the funding and opportunities were she a man, her career might be VERY similar).
    Being I haven’t seen many of the films in contention, I don’t know where my personal preference will lie at year’s end, but having seen ‘Hurt Locker’, I would have absolutely no problem with Bigelow winning.

  • 9 9-03-2009 at 2:39 pm

    Johnny Doubles said...

    and I would hate for the Academy to sit around and wait for somebody like Jane Campion (who still possibly DOES have a chance) or Catherine Breillaut to be in a front-runner position one , day to give a Best Director Oscar to a woman, simply because their overall output is more respectable than Bigelow, who has a great shot this year.

  • 10 9-04-2009 at 11:04 am

    Dark Horses? said...

    I think everybody is going to stop having to refering to Jeremy Renner as the “dark horse” possibility if “Hurt Locker” is the leading contender. When I look at the list of possibilities here, it seems more likely that those actors are the dark horses! George Clooney? Viggo “mumbles” Mortensen? Great looking guys who sometimes deliver good performances, but… why guess when we haven’t even seen them yet.

    It also seems like Anthony Mackie will likely be a best supporting actor nominee as well, benefiting from being one of the higher profile performances from an African-American actor. That’s probably a significant voting block, I would think.