December 27, 2006
Yes, ballots went out.

And yes, whoever's riding any sort of buzz wave currently is looking good, because most voters turn these things in quickly. But who exactly is looking good right now?

The freshest thing on people's minds are top ten lists and the Golden Globe nominations. Considering "The Departed" is landing the most top 10 mentions and the film had the second most HFPA nominations, I'd say Mark Wahlberg, for instance, is definitely making a play for that first Oscar nod. If voters can discern and Warner Bros. can make their case strong enough after flimsy campaigning, Leonardo DiCaprio can also secure his spot in the Best Actor five. But it'll be tough fighting off "Blood Diamond" votes, and how odd is that?

Emily Blunt has a definite edge going into the curve. Her film, "The Devil Wears Prada," received a Best Picture nomination from the HFPA and she, too, grabbed a nod for Best Supporting Actress.

"Dreamgirls" is the "it" film in release at the moment, so one can certainly assume it's still a nod juggernaut. But some of those places that once seemed secure still seem iffy after the HFPA snubbed Bill Condon both for writing and directing the film.

David Lynch's "Inland Empire" hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of getting some Academy recognition, but it's worth pointing out that the film has been receiving good critical approval including a decent number of top ten mentions.

We'll have a better gauge of these things when the guilds start to dish out nods. Those are, after all, the people who vote for Oscar.


What about the ever current United 93 momentum. Next to The Departed its made the most top 10 lists and has gotten just about as much critics group attention.

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