Best Bets for Best Picture

Got some really good news. Well, I think it’s really good news. The PopRox live chat scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday to talk about Oscar nominations will NOT be behind the paywall and will be FREE for all users.

big day tuesday

big day tuesday

I’m pretty friggin’ happy about that. When the Pocono Record started the paywall a couple months ago, I made it known that if anything was going to stay free, I wanted to make sure it would be PopRox. I don’t have nearly enough clout ’round here to make it happen — I just ranted and raved and crossed my fingers. Luckily, my crazy-person musings either hit home or someone already was planning on keeping the blog section free (I’d guess it’s the latter).

At least it better be free, that’s the word I’ve gotten from our Web guru John Misinco. If it ends up behind the paywall, I’m going to give out his personal e-mail and cell number and encourage everyone to harass him day and night. Preferably at like 7 in the morning since he works the night shift here.

We’re going a full week without links, sorry. But I need to get these picks for best picture on the PopRox record before they appear in Sunday’s paper:

Deep breath everyone — we’re about a month away from being through the dreaded movie awards season. It goes on about two months too long and it falsely inflates the already tremendous egos of Hollywood types that may very well have got very lucky with lightning in a bottle, never to be heard from again.

The only good thing about the three long months of awards season that starts in December and endlessly drags on through February is that by the time Academy Award nominations come out, you have a pretty good idea of what you’ll see.

So you don’t have to wait until the nomination announcement bright and early Tuesday morning — we’ve already got a blueprint to figure out what 10 movies will get Best Picture nods:

THE SURE THINGS: Black Swan, Inception, The Social Network, King’s Speech

you may understand it, you may not. but it's still one of the 10 best movies of the year one way or the other

you may understand it, you may not. but it's still one of the 10 best movies of the year one way or the other

These four have been nominated by just about every awards show and critics group this side of the Toluca Lake Movie Lovers Society. If any one of them doesn’t make the cut, not only will it be a monumental upset a month before the ceremony even starts, but the Academy will have some explaining to do. In a down year for movies, these were easily four of the 10 most-deserving.


Toy Story 3 won Best Animated Film at the Globes, but wasn’t nominated for Best Picture in the musical/comedy category — even though the category’s nominees were extremely weak and both of its predecessors had been nominated there before. Toy Story 2 even won in 1999. There really isn’t any discernible rhyme or reason as to why True Grit was completely shut out of Globe contention. Maybe the foreign press couldn’t understand Southern accents? Maybe they didn’t recognize Matt Damon? Maybe they were all temporarily possessed by Coen Brothers-hating demons? Who knows. But it wasn’t right.

THE PEDIGREE: Hereafter, 127 Hours 

he may deserve it, he may not. but clint eastwood will be a factor at the oscars this year somehow.

he may deserve it, he may not. but clint eastwood will be a factor at the oscars this year somehow.

The shakiest of all the distinctions because it’s not really based on the movie itself, but the people involved in making them. Six of the last seven movies Clint Eastwood directed before Hereafter all received some kind of major Oscar nomination — even if they didn’t deserve it. But he hasn’t received a best picture nod since Letters from Iwo Jima in 2007, so he’s due. 127 Hours director Danny Boyle is coming off his first Oscar win for Slumdog Millionaire and is now a member of the official Academy Awards Old Boy Network — of which Eastwood is a founding member. Plus, it will make for a funny Oscar-night skit, with host Anne Hathaway sawing off James Franco’s arm for kicks.

THE INDIES: The Kids Are All Right, Winter’s Bone

This is part of why the Academy expanded to 10 nominees two years ago, so that there would be at least two independent movies nominated every year. It’s in the contract. KAAR might as well be at the “sure thing” level at this point after winning at the Golden Globes, but Winter’s Bone still has some work to do, even though it’s easily one of the 10 best movies of the year. Rent it now, then take the “I’ll never move to the Ozarks” pledge like the rest of us.

That’s 10, but here are a couple more:

THE SPOILERS:The Town, The Fighter

gun-toting jon hamm. nuff said.

gun-toting jon hamm. nuff said.

A tale of two polar opposites. Hollywood loves Ben Affleck, the writer/director/star of The Town — but it’s tough to believe movie people are ready to take him seriously. Thanks a lot, Gigli. Hollywood seems to hate reportedly caustic David O. Russell, director of The Fighter, and already take him too seriously. I’m pretty sure The Fighter actually will get a nomination, but David O. Russell can suck it. Seriously. “NOOOOOOOO!!!!!

THE LONGSHOTS: Another Year, Rabbit Hole, Blue Valentine, How to Train Your Dragon

There’s one I’m not coming up that is going to somehow sneak in, I know it. It will be so surprising you’ll think it’s stupid and it will have people talking for the next month, which is the point of this whole exercise. Harry Potter? The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Whatever Woody Allen movie came out this year? I know I’m forgetting something, and I also know that there will be one movie that makes you scratch your head, or drop your jaw wondering how it happened. Remember Blind Side and District 9 last year? Me too.

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