Oscar Index: Will Blue Valentine Ride Its NC-17 Back to Awards Contention?
Spikes and slides continue four weeks into Movieline's Oscar Index, with today's edition witnessing the rewards of a carefully timed rating controversy and/or Oscar-qualifying run. And there's plenty more movement to chronicle in the Big Six categories; have a look after the jump and let's talk it out below.
[Click each image for a bigger version of the graph.]
The Leading 10:
1. The Social Network
2. The King's Speech
3. Black Swan
4. 127 Hours
5. True Grit
6. The Kids Are All Right
8. Toy Story 3
9. The Fighter
10. For Colored Girls
Outsiders: Blue Valentine; The Way Back; Secretariat; Another Year; Made in Dagenham
Notes: Not a whole lot of change in the Best Picture index, though a few dynamic shifts had a minor impact on a few Top 10 candidates. Aaron Sorkin took one for the Social Network team with his response to the film's depiction of misogyny in the making of Facebook, which stood in fairly stark contrast to The King's Speech winning yet another Audience Award last week at the Hamptons International Film Festival. Network's second straight number-one weekend at the box office evinced a bit of immunity to backlash though, at least among ticket buyer; as long as the money keeps flowing, the Academy's memory will be pretty short -- at least until the Weinsteins wage full-on war sometime after next January's nominations.
Speaking of whom, the Weinstein Company hit a controversy home run last week with Blue Valentine's (supposedly temporary) NC-17 rating and N-Twee-17 trailer. Pundits everywhere defended the film's integrity, with Jeffrey Wells not alone in arguing that it is "a Best Picture candidate." That will die down eventually, but Peter Weir's The Way Back should stay strong following the announcement that it will have a one-week qualifying run in December; the Australian filmmaker has been nominated for four directing Oscars over three-plus decades of work, and he's not getting any younger.
Secretariat lost its footing after a mediocre opening and Disney's marketing chief explained to anyone who'd listen that she'll get the hang of her job soon enough. Not good -- though you have to like what it means for Toy Story 3, especially if whatever cash Disney intended for its horse movie for Jesus can be reallocated to push its beloved Pixar effort further along in the competition. We shall see. Finally, True Grit quieted down a bit, nudged into fifth place by the quietly ascendant 127 Hours. OK, maybe not "quietly"; James Franco in drag will simply have that effect.
The Leading 5:
1. David Fincher, The Social Network
2. Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
3. Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
4. Joel and Ethan Coen, _True Grit
5. Christopher Nolan, Inception
Outsiders: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan; Peter Weir, The Way Back; Mike Leigh, Another Year; Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right; Tyler Perry, For Colored Girls
Notes: What a difference a week doesn't make, eh? Weir's the biggest story here, drawing rafts of notice for entering the race at pretty much just the right time -- after Fincher, the Coens and even Tyler Perry earned late-September campaign boosts, but just before the flurry of buzz sure to greet Danny Boyle in the weeks ahead of 127 Hours. Again, we were reminded of Hooper's audience darling, and the Coens enjoyed a bump by association as the American Society of Cinematographers -- a good Academy voting bloc to have on your side -- announced it would honor longtime Coens DP Roger Deakins at next year's ASC Awards. That takes place Feb. 13 -- smack in the middle of the Oscar voting period. A little thing, sure, but they add up.