We didn’t lose… we just ran out of time!

Was it this time last year The Artist became unbeatable? Well now, it’s the third quarter and we may need to introduce a term for this year’s Oscars: “current frontrunner”. Perhaps Les Mis sits waiting to be the inevitable heir apparent, yet by that time we’re still talking about a late push. And that’s far from a foregone conclusion at this point.

From where I see it (from taking a look at general consensus) there are four “frontrunners” which could all continue to jockey for position up until around the beginning of next year when SAG, DGA and PGA may settle some things. Argo, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Les Miserables. Each will probably see a rally of support around release time. Maybe Les Miserables is less inevitable than playing it by the tried and true rule: release as late as possible. It may be all about right place, right time, so long as no one else has taken over (even if it’s just because they’ve all been rallying alongside each other).

Yet, I can also see two potential spoilers to keep things interesting: Life of Pi and Flight. Life of Pi could prove a major contender depending upon the force of its release. The Guardian makes quite a case here:………..

The main thing on Life of Pi is the fairly overlooked fact that Best Picture winners have favored the unconventional, eclectic-genre fare: The Artist (Silent), Slumdog Millionaire (World Adventure), Hurt Locker (Psycholgical War) and No Country for Old Men (Post-modern Western). Only The King’s Speech could be categorized undeniably as simply “Oscar Movie”. Life of Pi has the advantage of pushing the boundaries, which, regardless of what is said, is doing well amongst Oscar voters lately.

Flight is just a movie that may or may not reach that critical and popular consensus that we haven’t seen in a while. It may be a bit of a Gladiator or Forrest Gump or Lord of the Rings or (though I hate to even mention) Braveheart.

I mean who wouldn’t love seeing Zemeckis in the Director category, just because it’s… Zemeckis!

Nonetheless, seeing Argo get a nice push right now makes me wonder if we are not simply going to see each contender spike around release time. If any movie becomes a Populist movement, we could see the race head in that direction. Of the six, I could see Flight, but more likely Lincoln becoming that Titanic or Schindler’s List zeitgeist that spreads like a kind of phenomenon. I mean, think about the conclusion of the 2012 election, most of the country bitterly divided, and Lincoln coming along as a means of reminding us of an important time in our nation’s history. Yeah, I wouldn’t want to rule that possibility out for this year’s oscar race.

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