Oscars: a 3-horse race? Or 4?
BY ROBERT W. WELKOS
It’s now a three-horse race…or four, depending on who you talk to in Hollywood.
The Academy Award nominations are out and an expanded list of 10 films vying for best picture are grabbing the public’s attention….but talk to people who run Oscar campaigns and they’ll tell you that less than a handful of the nominated movies are favored at this point.
The three favorites are James Cameron’s “Avatar,” Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds.”
Some will tell you that “Up in the Air,” Jason Reitman’s depiction of recessionary America starring George Clooney is a close fourth.
Those straggling behind are “Precious,” “The Blind Side,” “An Education,” “Up,” “District 9” and “A Serious Man.”
“It’s hot and heavy with those top four titles competing,” said one veteran Oscar consultant. “Just look at the two hottest ones. ‘Avatar’ has already won its place in motion picture history by virtue of its box office and amazing movie-making techniques. That will be highly respected by all the crafts and that’s why it got nine nominations overall.
‘The Hurt Locker’ is coming off wins at the Producers Guild and Directors Guild and various critics awards. I can’t imagine the Academy (giving the Oscar) to ‘Inglourious Basterds.’ It doesn’t smack of best picture. It’s a fantasy world according to Quentin Tarantino. But I think it’s had a good campaign thanks to (Harvey Weinstein). He ran an ad the other day thanking rabbis…for screening the movie. Today’s ad has a Jewish star over the helmet. Pretty clever.
“I think all these movies are worried about each other. From a marketing point of view, and a campaigning point of view, my advice is: don’t let anybody else’s ad be bigger than yours.”