Oscar Forecasts: 'The Descendants' Surges

The Golden Globe Awards have come and gone and today we have the BAFTA Award nominations, meaning it's time to do some more Oscar thinking, now that the nominations are a week away and we're armed with this new information.

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The Golden Globe Awards have come and gone and today we have the BAFTA Award nominations, meaning it's time to do some more Oscar thinking, now that the nominations are a week away and we're armed with this new information.

The Descendants Is Giving The Artist a Run for Its Money

Long the season's awards favorite, the French silent film (about Hollywood) is suddenly in a pretty close race with The Descendants, which picked up a Best Drama trophy at the Golden Globes (while Artist won comedy) on Sunday and a BAFTA nomination today. The Los Angeles Times has done some wacky math to measure each movie's awards "heat," and, lo and behold, it seems The Descendants is actually winning. The Descendants' late gains will likely put awards-hungry Harvey Weinstein, whose Weinstein Company is behind The Artist, into full campaign mode, so watch out if you're anywhere in L.A. (or New York, or Park City) for like the next month or so.

Christopher Plummer Is Probably Going to Win an Oscar, Finally

Shockingly, Christopher Plummer, one of the great stentorian actors of his generation, has never won an Academy Award, and has actually only ever been nominated for one, just two years ago for The Last Station. But, phew, after a win at Sunday's Globes and a BAFTA nomination today, it's looking not only like a given that Plummer will be nominated, but that he'll at long last go home with a golden friend. Much like the year Alan Arkin won for Little Miss Sunshine, this year people had been talking most loudly about a somewhat faded comedian reinventing himself — that year it was Eddie Murphy for DreamGirls, this year it's Albert Brooks for Drive — but in the end we think they'll do the same as Arkin's year and give it to the older guy who deserves an award for a career's worth of excellent work. Brooks was great in Drive and it was a thrill to see him doing something so different, but Plummer was lovely and touching in Beginners and is just as deserving, perhaps even more so. Can't they give out two?

There Are Two Best Actress Spots Wide Open

Meryl Streep we know. Viola Davis? Duh. Michelle Williams? Not such a guarantee a week ago, but a Globes win and a BAFTA nod later, yes, she's a sure bet. But who else? The Globes counted The Artist's Bérénice Bejo as a supporting actress, but the BAFTAs have her in leading. So she might sneak in? There's also Tilda Swinton, who will probably get one of the remaining spaces, but buzz about her breakneck performance in We Need to Talk About Kevin has been curiously low. But let's say she's a safe bet for the fourth slot, which leaves one. Charlize Theron for her terrific but certainly unlovable turn in Young Adult? Glenn Close for her much-ballyhooed-a-few-months-ago but now largely ignored Albert Nobbs? A darkhorse pick in Rooney Mara for Dragon Tattoo? We think it's most likely going to go to Close, but who knows! the prize is really a contest between those three guarantees. Streep still has the edge, we think, but Williams is coming on strong.

At Least the British Liked Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

With 11 nominations, the British spy drama had the second most in the BAFTAs (behind the 12 for The Artist), which normally would bode well for its Oscar hopes. But it looks as though its recognition in Blighty is due mostly to the local edge, as the film has been all but shut-out of awards contention here in the States. Why exactly is unclear, but one possible explanation is that, sigh, the film is just too British, with all its browns and slates and rain and polite mumbling. Yeah The Iron Lady (which got four BAFTA nominations, including a surprise screenwriting nod to Abi Morgan) is about Britain's loved/reviled grandma, but look at that big bright American at the center of it. There is no such entity in Tinker Tailor. It might sneak in and get a few lesser Academy nods, writing and whatnot, but we don't see it squeezing into the bigger categories. Ah well, we suppose that's the life of a spy, after all. Doing all the interesting work but never getting credit for it.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.