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Good Morning Oscar, Feb. 10: Guessing Games

Everybody’s trying to make sense of all those frontrunners

In this morning’s roundup of Oscar news ‘n’ notes from around the web, everybody’s trying to make sense of all those frontrunners.

“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” says Anne Thompson. Actually, she phrases it a bit more elegantly than that: she says “nothing is certain until it’s over,” especially with the Oscars. Then she looks at four races: Best Actor and Actress, Best Director and Best Picture. Anne thinks Sandra Bullock isn’t necessarily a lock, Jeremy Renner could conceivably challenge Jeff Bridges (though he probably won’t), and the possibility exists for a split that would name “The Hurt Locker” Best Picture but give the Best Director statuette to James Cameron. For reasons that have to do with math, I think she’s hit on a scenario that could indeed happen. (Thompson on Hollywood)

Sasha Stone looks at the state of the race in light of the guild awards, and in light of the Oscar wins for “Titanic” and “Shakespeare in Love” way back when. Her conclusion: “’Avatar’ can still win Best Picture but it will have to make history to do so … Where the Academy is concerned, it’s a love it/hate it movie and without the support of the actors branch or the writers branch, it would be an odd and unlikely winner.” (Awards Daily)

Wallace & GromitMark Adnum says that Meryl Streep doesn’t deserve to win an Oscar for “Julie & Julia,” mostly because she’s not as good in it as she is in “Sophie’s Choice” and “Kramer Vs. Kramer.” On the other hand, he doesn’t attempt to make the case that Sandra Bullock is better in “The Blind Side” than Streep is in “J&J.” He thinks that Bullock or Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”) will win, and he thinks Meryl’s fans should be okay with that. (Spiked)

Danny King tackles the other side of the category, and asks, “Why is Sandra Bullock going to win the Best Actress Oscar?” He starts with the observation that “people are more enthusiastic about her as a person than the work she did in the film,” runs through a resume he calls “sketchy to say the least,” and decides that she’s the frontrunner because the field is “incredibly weak.” In his mind, “incredibly weak” means that Carey Mulligan and Gabourey Sidibe are too young and unknown to win, Helen Mirren won recently and her film (“The Last Station”) is under the radar, and Meryl Streep is hurt by the fact that nobody loved her “Julie & Julia.” He thinks Bullock will win “by the process of elimination,” which I really hope is not the process in play here. (The King Bulletin)

Eric Kohn says the Animated Short category boils down to Nick Park’s “Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death” (above) vs. the dark horse “Logorama.” I think a couple of the others deserve consideration (I’ll weigh in on the entire category shortly), but those two are the longest, which often seems to be a help when it comes to winning this particular Oscar. (Little Gold Men)

Dave Karger turns to the Independent Spirit Awards and spotlights three nominees he thinks deserve some consideration: Adam Scott for Best Male Lead in “The Vicious Kind,” Gwyneth Paltrow for Best Female Lead in “Two Lovers,” and “A Single Man” for Best First Feature. But he expects “Precious” and “Crazy Heart” to dominate. (Oscar Watch)

Scott Feinberg attends the Kirk Douglas/Quentin Tarantino Q&A that followed a Santa Barbara International Film Festival screening of Douglas’s “Posse.” By all reports one of the emotional high-points of the festival, the conversation turned into an affectionate mutual appreciation society in which Douglas said he would love to have played the Christoph Waltz character in “Inglourious Basterds” had the movie been made years earlier. (And the Winner Is … )