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Tom O'Neil has the inside track on Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and all the award shows.

Category: Julie & Julia

Poll: Can Carey Mulligan pull off an upset at the Oscars?

February 23, 2010 | 10:07 am
Oscars predictions Academy Awards best actress Sandra Bullock news

The Oscars and BAFTA Awards reputedly share about 500 voters, so maybe that explains why BAFTA has correctly predicted the Oscars' lead actress race for the last four years. If they're really in sync, what are we to make of Carey Mulligan's lead-actress victory for "An Education"? Does this mean we're underestimating her voter pull at the Oscars? Or maybe the Brits just decided that they wanted to take a break from Hollywood groupthink this year and embrace a local British gal?

What makes parallels difficult is the fact that Oscar front-runner Sandra Bullock wasn't nominated at BAFTA because she wasn't eligible. "The Blind Side" didn't open in Britain in 2009. Maybe the fact that Mulligan won BAFTA just means Mulligan, not Meryl Streep, poses the biggest challenge to Bullock, who may the Oscar front-runner, as most pundits believe.


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Photos: "An Education" (Sony Pictures Classics), left; "Julie & Julia" (Columbia), "The Blind Side" (Warner Bros.)

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Oscars poll: Will Sandra Bullock or Meryl Streep win lead actress?

February 3, 2010 |  9:49 am

Up until Oscar nominations came out, many pundits believed the lead actress race was a close contest between Meryl Streep ("Julie & Julia") and Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side").

Oscar nominations Academy Awards news Sandra Bullock Meryl Streep

On one hand, "Julie & Julia" got the best reviews (66 at Metacritic compared with 53 for "The Blind Side") and Streep won more precursor awards, including laurels from the film critics in New York, Boston and San Francisco. Streep and Bullock both won Critics' Choice Awards and Golden Globes, but Bullock beat Streep at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Then "The Blind Side" pulled off a surprise Academy Award nomination for best picture, thus assuring Oscar watchers that voters take the flick — dismissed by many cynics as a Lifetime TV movie of the week without artistic heft — quite seriously. That may tip the balance in Bullock's favor, but does it?


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Photos: "The Blind Side" (Warner Bros.), "Julie & Julia" (Columbia)

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Oscars guided by guild awards in nominations

February 2, 2010 | 10:01 am

Oscars New Members movie news 1357986 This year, 19 of the 20 SAG acting nominees are contending at the Academy Awards. The only one not to make the cut was SAG supporting actress contender Diane Kruger ("Inglourious Basterds"), who was replaced on the Oscars ballot by Maggie Gyllenhaal ("Crazy Heart").

Last year, 18 of the 19 SAG acting nominees repeated at the Academy Awards. As double SAG nominee Kate Winslet was bumped up by the Oscars from supporting to lead for "The Reader," she was denied a lead nod for "Revolutionary Road." However, that film's Michael Shannon managed to knock SAG nominee Dev Patel of "Slumdog Millionaire" out of the supporting race.

Two years ago, 15 of the 20 SAG nominees went on to compete at the Oscars. Three years ago, it was also 19 of the 20 with the one variation coming from the same film -- "The Departed" -- as SAG nominee Leonardo DiCaprio was replaced at Oscar time by Mark Wahlberg.

Four of the five SAG-nominated ensembles appear in Oscar-nominated best pictures with only "Nine" not making it into the top 10. Last year, four of the five SAG-nominated ensembles also did so, with SAG contender "Doubt" replaced by "The Reader." "Slumdog Millionaire" won both awards. Two years ago, only one SAG ensemble nominee -- "No Country for Old Men" -- made it into the best picture race, although that film won both prizes as well. Three years ago, it was three of five, with "Little Miss Sunshine" taking the SAG prize but losing the top Oscar to "The Departed."

Last year, all five of the lead actress nominees also competed for both awards. Two years ago, it was four of five as the only SAG nominee not needing a babysitter come Oscar night was Angelina Jolie ("A Mighty Heart"), whose spot went to "The Savages" star Laura Linney.

As with this year, last year's supporting actress race matched up only four to five as the promotion of Winslet for "The Reader" left room at the Oscars for the addition of Marisa Tomei ("The Wrestler"). Two years ago, this race was also four for five with SAG nominee Catherine Keener ("Into the Wild") replaced by Saoirse Ronan ("Atonement").

Last year, lead actor also matched up perfectly. Two years ago, it went three for five with the SAG nominees as relative newcomers Emile Hirsch ("Into the Wild") and Ryan Gosling ("Lars and the Real Girl") were replaced at the Oscars by Hollywood vets Johnny Depp ("Sweeney Todd") and Tommy Lee Jones ("In the Valley of Elah").

Last year's supporting actor race was four for five with Shannon replacing Patel. Two years ago, SAG nominee Tommy Lee Jones ("No Country for Old Men") was replaced by Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Charlie Wilson's War").

This year, the DGA lineup is repeated at the Oscars. Last year's DGA picks for best director matched up with four of the five academy choices as DGA nominee Christopher Nolan ("The Dark Knight") was edged out at the Oscars by Stephen Daldry ("The Reader"). Two years ago, DGA nominee Sean Penn ("Into the Wild") lost his Oscar slot to Jason Reitman, who helmed best pic nominee "Juno."

Of this year's 10 PGA nominees for best picture, eight of them earned Oscar nods. The exceptions: One box office champ -- "Star Trek" -- was replaced by another -- "The Blind Side" -- and one set of Oscar favorites -- Clint Eastwood and "Invictus" -- was replaced by another -- the Coen brothers and "A Serious Man."

Last year, the PGA went four for five with the Oscar contenders as "The Dark Knight" was bumped by "The Reader." Two years ago, it was also four for five with PGA nominee "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" replaced by "Atonement."

This year, only two of the five WGA nominees for original screenplay -- "The Hurt Locker" and "A Serious Man" -- are contending at the Oscars. Last year, just one of the five WGA nominees for original screenplay made it into the Oscar race -- eventual winner Dustin Lance Black ("Milk"). Two years ago, the WGA picks lined up with the Oscar nominees except for "Knocked Up," which was knocked out of the competition by the team that whipped up "Ratatouille."

The adapted screenplay Oscar race only includes two of the WGA nominees as well -- "Precious" and "Up in the Air." Last year, the Oscars went four for five with only the WGA nominees for "The Dark Knight" bumped by David Hare, who adapted "The Reader." Two years ago, Sean Penn, who wowed the WGA with his adaptation of "Into the Wild," was snubbed at the Oscars as was the scripter for "Zodiac." They were replaced by "Atonement" adapter Christopher Hampton and first time writer-director Sarah Polley.

The Oscar nominees for best cinematography line up with the American Society of Cinematographers choices with the exception of "Nine" lenser Dion Beebe, who was replaced by "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" shooter Bruno Delbonnel. Last year, ASC nominee Roger Deakins ("Revolutionary Road") was replaced at the Oscars by Tom Stern for "Changeling." Two years ago, the ASC went five for five.

This year, the Oscar nominees for editing include just three of the American Cinema Editors' picks as the cutters for "Inglourious Basterds" and "Precious" replace those for "Star Trek" and "Up in the Air." Last year, the nominees lined up, and two years ago, ACE nominee "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" was replaced by "Michael Clayton."

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My fearless, peerless, 100% perfect Oscar nomination predictions

January 31, 2010 |  7:04 pm

Oscar nominations will be unveiled Tuesday morning. Here's what the derby track looks like in my crystal ball.

"District 9"
Oscar nominations Academy Awards news"An Education"
"The Hurt Locker"
"Inglourious Basterds"
"A Serious Man"
"Up in the Air"

Vulnerable on the list above are "District 9," "Invictus" and "A Serious Man," which can be bumped by "The Hangover," "The Messenger," "A Single Man" or "Star Trek."

Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker"
James Cameron, "Avatar"
Lee Daniels, "Precious"
Jason Reitman, "Up in the Air"
Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds"

These seem to be set in stone.

Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"
George Clooney, "Up in the Air"
Colin Firth, "A Single Man"
Morgan Freeman, "Invictus"
Jeremy Renner, "The Hurt Locker"

Jeremy Renner may be bumped by Viggo Mortensen ("The Road").

Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side"
Helen Mirren, "The Last Station"
Carey Mulligan, "An Education"
Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious"
Meryl Streep, "Julie & Julia"

Emily Blunt ("The Young Victoria") might dethrone one of the above.

Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger"
Christian McKay, "Me and Orson Welles"
Christopher Plummer, "The Last Station"
Stanley Tucci, "The Lovely Bones"
Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds"

This is one of the toughest categories to predict because there are too many other strong contenders, including Matt Damon ("Invictus"), Alec Baldwin ("It's Complicated"), Anthony Mackie ("The Hurt Locker") and Alfred Molina and Peter Sarsgaard ("An Education"). I put Christian McKay on my list because he gives a flashy portrayal of one of Hollywood's most idolized heroes, Orson Welles, in what is arguably a lead performance. Like Woody Harrelson, I think he even has a longshot chance to beat Christoph Waltz, but McKay's campaign DVD was sent rather late. That could hurt his chance of getting on this list.

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Poll: What will win best comedy/musical picture at the Golden Globes?

January 15, 2010 |  7:25 am
Meryl Streep It's complicated Julie and Juilia

Each of the five Golden Globe nominees for best comedy/musical picture -- "(500) Days of Summer," "The Hangover," "It's Complicated," "Julie & Julia," and "Nine" -- is predicted to win by some of our pundits panel. Normally, Golden Globe voters automatically choose successful musicals in the race for best comedy/musical picture. Past champs include "Sweeney Todd," "Dreamgirls," "Walk the Line," "Chicago," "Moulin Rouge," "Evita," etc.

However, box office blockbuster "Mamma Mia" lost last year to "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," probably because film critics weren't dancing in the aisles alongside crazed moviegoers. That means "Nine" might be in trouble at the Golden Globes this year, if it doesn't rally soon with reviewers. It's only scoring 26% at RottenTomatoes.

Was the anti-"Mamma Mia" vote last year a slap at Meryl Streep? If so, she's got two films in contention in this category now: "It's Complicated" and "Julie & Julia."

Globers don't usually endorse laffers with a fratboy sensibility like "The Hangover." They didn't even nominate "Knocked Up" or "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," but I hear that HFPA members are popping champagne corks over this one this year.

"(500) Days of Summer" was a surprise inclusion, bumping out "A Serious Man." Does that mean that there's a wellspring of love for this romantic comedy that could erupt in a big upset victory?

Left photo: A scene from "It's Complicated. " Credit: Universal

Right photo: A scene from "Julie & Julia." Credit: Columbia

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Poll: Will Sandra Bullock, Carey Mulligan or Gabby Sidibe win best drama actress at the Golden Globes?

January 5, 2010 | 11:37 am

According the experts' predix we've pooled so far, the Golden Globe race for best drama actress is a fierce diva smackdown between Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") and Carey Mulligan ("An Education").

That makes sense when employing traditional awards analysis. Globers consistently adore two things: hot superstars and ingenues. Bullock has been a longtime A-Lister overdue for a crown and she's reigning high right now. "The Blind Side" just became the first film driven solely by a female star to top $200 million at the U.S. box office. The role bears obvious parallels to Julia Roberts in "Erin Brokovich," who won this category in 2000.

Sandra Bullock The Blind Side Gabourey Sidibe Precious 7182493525 movies news

Bullock was nominated twice in the past, both times on the comedy/musical side. When she was nommed for "While You Were Sleeping" (1995), she lost to Nicole Kidman ("To Die For") and when she was in the running for "Miss Congeniality" (2000), she got trounced by not-so-congenial Renee Zellweger ("Nurse Betty"). This year Bullock is nominated in that same slot for "The Proposal" and she has a real chance to win there, but she faces tough competition from Meryl Streep ("Julie and Julia") and Marion Cotillard ("Nine").

Carey Mulligan has a lot going for her in this drama race: class, charm, loveliness and – most important of all – a British accent. The last three winners of this race were Brits: Kate Winslet ("Revolutionary Road"), Julie Christie ("Away from Her") and Helen Mirren ("The Queen"). Voters have special respect for outlanders because they're members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. Her odds in this contest are boosted by the fact that "An Education" is set in Limeyland and that she, personally speaking, seems like a star who'll be around shining brightly in the future — a kind of young Audrey Hepburn.

But, personally speaking, I'm betting on Gabourey Sidibe ("Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"). Globers don't usually hail newcomers, especially if they're not of the Audrey Hepburn profile, but voters have shown special appreciation through the years for shockingly raw, bleeding performances like Felicity Huffman ("Transamerica") and Brenda Blethyn ("Secrets and Lies"). If I'm right and Sidibe gives another nerve-piercing performance at the podium, she'll pass her Oscar audition and win again on March 7. That's what happened to Hilary Swank ("Boys Don't Cry") and Jamie Foxx ("Ray"), who were both Oscar-bound after wowing the ceremony crowd at the Beverly Hilton.

Emily Blunt can't win because she doesn't open a vein in "The Young Victoria." Helen Mirren pours out her heart — and lots of rage and hysterics — as Tolstoy's shrewish wife  in "The Last Station," giving a performance quite opposite of her tight-faced turn in "The Queen," but her recent win for that role dethrones her chances now. 

So what do you think? Give us your opinion in the poll below and vote in our other polls for best drama picture, lead drama actor and lead comedy/musical actress.


Poll: Who'll win best drama picture at the Golden Globes?

Poll: What will win best drama picture at the Golden Globes?

Poll: Who'll win best comedy/musical actress at the Golden Globes?

Photos: "The Blind Side" (Warner Bros.), "An Education" (Sony Pictures Classics), "Precious" (Lionsgate)

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Poll: Who will win the SAG Award for best actress?

December 17, 2009 |  9:30 am
SAG Awards nominations-2

Let's take a stab at predicting a winner among the Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations. Usually, SAG Awards nominees and winners line up, uncannily, with the Oscars, but sometimes they don't. Last year the five contenders for best actress almost matched up, with one glitch. Instead of being nommed for "The Reader," eventual Oscar champ Kate Winslet ended up making SAG's best actress list for "Revolutionary Road." She lost to Meryl Streep ("Doubt").

This year, the SAG five for best actress look like a good bet to repeat at the Academy Awards (unless "Young Victoria" star Emily Blunt can bump a front-runner), so maybe we'll be predicting the Oscar race too. But this poll focuses specifically on SAG. So please forecast that champ. Don't vote for your own fave performance. That's cheating!

Photos (left to right): Meryl Streep in "Julie & Julia" (Columbia), Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side" (Warner Bros.), Gabourey Sidibe in "Precious" (Lionsgate), Carey Mulligan in "An Education" (Sony Pictures Classics)

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