Oscars 2 Horse Best Picture Race – The Feinberg Feed
BY SCOTT FEINBERG
In this week’s edition of “The Feinberg Feed,” Scott explains why he agrees with the majority of pundits that the best picture category is a two-horse race, but why he disagrees with them that the race is between “The Hurt Locker” and “Avatar.” Instead, he argues, the biggest threat to “The Hurt Locker” comes from “Inglourious Basterds.”
“Avatar,” Feinberg grants, has made a fortune at the box-office and changed the means of production and distribution forever. But the film didn’t score an acting nod or a screenplay nod, and while several films have won with only one or the other only one has ever won without either — and that was 77 years ago, predating the first era of 10 best picture nominees.
“Basterds,” meanwhile, also did well critically and commercially but is much less polarizing, which should help it (and hurt “Avatar”) on the new preferential ballot. It also carries four key nominations that the vast majority of best picture winners have always had: a directing nod, an acting nod, a screenplay nod, and an editing nod. This year, only “The Hurt Locker,” “Inglourious Basterds,” and “Precious” (which is far too divisive a film to win with the preferential ballot) have them.
Feinberg cautions that there are firsts for everything and that one therefore cannot totally discount “Avatar” as a possible best picture winner, but considering all of the above — as well as the precursor success of “The Hurt Locker” (DGA, PGA, ACE, etc.) and “Inglourious Basterds” (SAG), not to mention the lack of precursor success for “Avatar” (it won only with the HFPA, which has no overlap with the Academy) — it seems highly unlikely that it can top the other two.