Zero Dark Thirty/Bigelow 2, Everybody Else: 0

Zero Dark Thirty/Bigelow: 2, Everyone else: 0.

The awards season develops slowly and in split, New York, L.A. seconds. Zero Dark Thirty has always been a part of the conversation. Yet, premiering at the same time as Les Miserables seemed to keep it in the shadows. For whatever reason, Les Miserables genuinely seemed to be the movie of the moment upon premiering. Well sure, it had the cadre of stars, the fanfare, it’s the famous Broadway musical! Nonetheless, Zero Dark Thirty had the reviews, not just good reviews but remarkably good reviews. In its own quiet way, Zero Dark Thirty was asserting itself. On metacritic it debuted at 97… ninety… seven. You know, out of a hundred.

But, so what? Folks can go ahead and predict a NYFCC win, but it’s too early to really predict the Oscars. And look at the track record for NYFCC. Not exactly batting a thousand. But the impact of that kind of win, plus director and cinematography, cannot be underestimated. And then, like that, in a moment, New York Film Critics Circle,
National Board of Review. Picture, Director. Looking at the past ten years or so, only 2 movies have won from both organizations: The Social Network and No Country for Old Men. Now sure, The Social Network didn’t go on to win either Director or Picture at the Oscars, but it’s also considered an incredible snub, as well as an unusual mid-season shift. No Country for Old Men, on the other hand, had to problem.

So, what now for this Zero Dark Thirty? Well, the word out there might still be caution. And that’s true in so many ways. I guess i’m a bit like a kid at Christmas on the Oscars. So, yes, there is still a ways to go. But what i’m about here is taking the temperature and chronicling a season that makes major strides at certain points, while constantly evolving. Zero Dark Thirty may not win Best Picture, but it’s exciting to try and decide exactly when does it, or whichever other movie, become the movies that does.

Now, there is a lot of other data here to pore over. Best Film is one category pretty easy to “zero” in on (ha, see what I did there) but there is a lot of other items to consider. Actually though, we see a very divided electorate on the films offered here, yet that Zero Dark Thirty is steady as she goes, but back to the other catgories.

Bradley Cooper (Best Actor): This along with Screenplay breathe some life back into Silver Linings Playbook’s Oscar hopes. I don’t think it gets anywhere near the front, but I’d like to see it at the table. Cooper is such an interesting choice, since Lawrence is once again snubbed, putting her front runner status into question. It’s just kinda odd, since she was so favored. Anyways, Bradley Cooper. That’s an interesting win, since it might put that Best Actor category back on the table. Day-Lewis, Hawkes, Washington, Jackman, Phoenix? Isn’t that the line-up. I’m not sure where the weak spot it, but that race could be interesting. Maybe with The Master’s poor performances lately (and the Guilds might not be kind either), perhaps Cooper replaces Phoenix, the once strong frontrunner.

Jessica Chastain (Best Actress): Almost like winning twice, since Weisz’s victory will proably not add to much more. On the other hand, with Chastain winning and Lawrence winning neither, Chastain makes it a strong two person race. Also, it helps Zero Dark Thirty overall to have a strong acting contender

Dicaprio/Dowd (Supporting): DiCaprio also a #6 or #7 getting some love. Could help him becomes Django’s main competitor. And wow, Dowd. Now Dowd for Compliance once again gets a strong shot at getting a dark horse candidate.

Looper/Silver Linings Playbook (Screenplay): There is some wiggle room in Original Screenplay. It’s a really interesting category with some upset potential. I hope this kinda catches on with some guild nominations. The screenplay is excellent. It could even win I think, a long shot, but sometimes those kinds of things happen in screenplay races. Silver Linings Playbook winning really helps it stay at the table. Kind of a snub to Lincoln though, especially with the Actor race also going Silver Linings Playbook.

A few little notes: Wreck-It-Ralph and Frankenweenie each with a win, Pixar seems a bit out of luck again there, but certainly not out. Special awards to Argo, The Impossible (actor) and Beasts for Wallis and Zeitlin. Glad Beasts found its way to the table here.

Les Miserables (Ensemble): An important win here for Les Miserables. There seems now to be a bit of a horse race for the Zero Dark Thirty challenger. Tom Hooper would once again like to upset these early awards. The ensemble win could predict, I think, a SAG ensemble award to follow. If Lincoln could have at least gotten ensemble it would probably be the clear challenger. Yet, Les Miserables is not going away quickly by any means.

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