In Oscar world, the biggest news of the week was probably the release of the first trailer for "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," director Stephen Daldry's film version of the Jonathan Safran Foer novel set in New York City after 9/11. And while it's virtually impossible to tell how good a movie will be based on its trailer, it's safe to say that this one does scream Oscar Bait.
In fact, Tom O'Neil all but dubs it a sure nominee in his review of the trailer at Awards Tracker: "Early Oscar buzz is confirmed: it's a serious player," he insists. "It touches all of the Academy buttons." (Awards Tracker)
I'd say it's risky calling a movie "a serious player" on the basis of a trailer – but here's the evidence, complete with emotional slow-motion shots set to U2's gloriously portentous "Where the Streets Have No Name." And after watching it a couple of times, I do see O'Neil's point …
Meanwhile, from his new home at HitFix, In Contention's Kris Tapley gets Anne Thompson on the phone for the latest in their long-running "Oscar Talk" podcast. It starts with plugs for "50/50" and "Take Shelter," then delves into the supporting races, where they speak highly of candidates like Shailene Woodley in "The Descendants," Albert Brooks in "Drive" and Janet McTeer in "Albert Nobbs."
They disagree on who stands the best chance for a Supporting Actor nomination for "The Ides of March" – Thompson goes for my choice, Philip Seymour Hoffman, while Tapley thinks that George Clooney has the best bet.
Moving In Contention to HitFix, by the way, no doubt gives Tapley and Lodge more resources and a potentially larger audience – but the comfortable design of the website is feeling a little cramped in its new digs, surrounded as it now is by the parent site's far busier and more cluttered look. (In Contention)
Sasha Stone has a theory that she doesn't exactly believe, but she wants to bring it up anyway. "No one is talking about the possibility, the serious possibility, that 'The Artist' could not only be nominated for Best Picture but could WIN," she writes. " … It has everything a stealthy Best Picture winner needs — it’s the movie everybody loves and the movie nobody thinks can win. Sounds a lot like 'Slumdog Millionaire.'"
I was once toying with the theory that in this strange and unsettled year, the Best Picture winner was going to be one of three seemingly unlikely contenders: "The Artist," "Midnight in Paris" or "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." So I'm not completely dismissive of Stone's theory – though the film, as charming as it is, does seem a little slight to go all the way. (Awards Daily)
And finally, Thelma Adams ventures into what she says is "the wilderness" – i.e., the best Supporting Actress race. She does so with the help of several female entertainment and awards journalists, including Stone, Susan Wloszczyna, Kim Voynar and Anne Thompson. Adams identifies the frontrunners as Octavia Spencer for "The Help," Janet McTeer for "Albert Nobbs," Vanessa Redgrave for "Coriolanus," Marion Cotillard for "Midnight in Paris" and Shailene Woodley for "The Descendants," but the meat of the conversation deals with whether Emmy winner Melissa McCarthy can land a nomination for the distinctly un-Oscar-like "Bridesmaids."
The consensus, as much as there is a consensus: the Golden Globes will go for McCarthy, and maybe SAG as well, but Oscar voters are likely to remain resistant. "Like it or not," says Voynar (who doesn't like it) "I think the mostly male academy won’t see beyond the 'brave fat girl in a comedy' thing." (ThelmaAdams.com)