Everybody's got a theory, but not everybody's theory makes sense.
The theory du jour: Nicole Kidman ("Rabbit Hole") can upset both Natalie Portman ("Black Swan") and Annette Bening ("The Kids Are All Right") and win the Best Actress Oscar. That's what Tom O'Neil and Pete Hammond argue, anyway. I agree that this race is a little more open than it seems (and I'd add that Jennifer Lawrence isn't out of it, either), but I'm not ready to get in line behind Tom's theory, which depends on Kidman first winning the Golden Globe award, and using that "serious momentum" to sweep her to Oscar gold. It's an argument that presumes that Academy members give a damn what the Hollywood Foreign Press Association thinks, which I don’t buy at all: the two groups sometimes agree, but to try to draw some kind of casual relationship between the Globes and the Oscars is to give the former way too much credit, and the latter not nearly enough. (Gold Derby)
Jeff Wells has a theory of his own: if Fox Searchlight had distributed "James Franco holiday gingerbread cookies" (left, in a photo Wells received from Bill McCuddy) to press and Academy members, Oscar voters might be a little less scared to watch "127 Hours," and the movie's chances of getting a Best Picture nomination would increase. Putting a friendly spin on a gruesome situation couldn't hurt, but I have a theory of my own: because sending cookies to Academy members is a direct violation of AMPAS campaign regulations, the goodwill probably would have been counterbalanced by the fact that the studio would have gotten in trouble for it. (Hollywood Elsewhere)
And speaking of theories, Tim Appelo isn't so sure about that Steak Eater Theory that Anne Thompson advanced on Tuesday to explain why some mainstream Academy voters might be disinclined to vote for "The Kids Are All Right." (To recap: they're men and they like manly movies.) The best part of the piece: when Appelo affixes dietary preferences to other movies in the race. "The King's Speech" is "tea-sipping," while "The Social Network" might be vegan, or "at most it eats takeout sushi." (Hollywood Reporter)
The "Biutiful" boys, director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and star Javier Bardem, talk to Nicole Sperling about the making of a movie that faces mankind's fear of death. Bardem calls the dark journey "a real feel-good movie" based on his encounters with viewers after screenings, while Inarritu concedes that it's hardly a typical crowd-pleaser. "This is not a hamburger," he says. "This does not have to be liked by everybody." (Los Angeles Times)
Scott Feinberg, who loves making predictions and projections, does his final roundup of the year (or, perhaps, his 10th or 12th-to-last of this Oscar season). He's currently of the opinion that "127 Hours" and "Blue Valentine" will make it into the Best Picture race instead of "Winter's Bone" and "The Town," that Mark Wahlberg gets a Best Actor nod but Jeff Bridges and Ryan Gosling don't, and that Mila Kunis steals the last Supporting Actress slot from Jacki Weaver. (ScottFeinberg.com)
Andrew Barker and Jon Burlingame peruse the Academy's "reminder list" of its 77 eligible film scores, and find that James Newton Howard has the most scores in contention, with four ("The Last Airbender," "Love & Other Drugs," "Salt" and "The Tourist"), while Alexandre Desplat and David Arnold have three each. The piece, headlined "Academy unveils list of Oscar-eligible scores," came not on the heels of any AMPAS unveiling of the list, but 90 minutes after a story at theWrap revealed the eligible films for the first time. But hey, Barker and Burlingame did some additional analysis – and they got their version up 30 minutes faster than Variety had done the previous afternoon, when its "original" piece on the scripts ineligible for the WGA Awards went up two hours after theWrap's story hit. (Variety)