Also in Franco's favor is the category itself: Jared Leto, Tom Hanks and Michael Fassbender are locked in as nominees from my vantage point, but that leaves plenty of room for others. My boy Daniel Bruhl deserves a shot, but the memory of "Rush" is fading in the rear-view mirror. Barkhad Abdi had a nice story, but no one seems too excited about that nomination (and if we're being real, he's not that great in "Captain Phillips"). No one has seen what Jonah Hill or Bradley Cooper do in December's two Scorsese movies, "The Wolf of Wall Street" and David O. Russell's "American Hustle." John Goodman isn't really in "Inside Llewyn Davis" enough to rate (the cat has more screen time). James Gandolfini could get in for "Enough Said," but that still feels like a nice idea more than an actual movement. Why not Franco?
This may all be but a prelude to a winter when sentiment finally gels around 12 Years as the most deserving best picture possibility, but there's also a chance that American Hustle -- or some other late entry -- could swing in and take the lead.
Who's ahead in the Best Actress race? Can anyone top Cate Blanchett? We're handicapping the odds.
Ben Stiller's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is a lot of movie, in a good way. The film contains elements of comedy, fantasy, drama, adventure and romance. It's a coming-of-age movie and a survivalist tale. A pair of sequences even recall "The Bourne Identity" and "Marvel's The Avengers."
The latest offering from Joel and Ethan Coen -- which screened at the New York Film Festival on Thursday morning for press and industry personnel ("Inside Llewyn Davis" makes its proper New York Film Festival debut on Oct. 5) -- stars Isaac as the title character, a down-on-his-luck folk singer in 1961 who, as an embittered former lover (played to perfection by Carey Mulligan) says at one point, is "like King Midas' idiot brother." Everything that Davis touches, from a friend's cat to the promise of a warm winter coat, goes right into the crapper.
Neil Patrick Harris brought his B-minus game to the 65th annual Emmy Awards, the show featured a five-minute interpretive dance segment in the last hour of the broadcast, and there were so many memorial segments that "Modern Family" co-creator Steve Levitan was compelled to declare the 2013 Emmys "the saddest of all time" upon accepting his trophy. Yet despite all that, Sunday night's Emmy Awards were still more engaging, heartfelt and celebratory than this year's Oscars. What can Academy Awards producers learn from television's biggest night?
There are valid reasons for and against "12 Years A Slave" winning Best Picture, none of which have to do with the success of "12 Years A Slave." (Steve McQueen's film is, at its very worst, a very good movie; it's impossible to imagine anyone giving it a poor review.) As CinemaBlend's Katey Rich wrote on Friday, Oscar season is about the narrative. "Argo" won Best Picture not necessarily because it was a better film than "Zero Dark Thirty," "Lincoln" or "Silver Linings Playbook," but because it had the best backstory: an A-list Hollywood star hits the skids, rebuilds his career, gets snubbed in the process, and still triumphs over all. Not even Frank Capra could write a script like that.
There's more, though, than an old-fashioned sensibility connecting "Prisoners" and "Rush": both films are structured as two-handers, but where the dominant hand is played by the marketing campaign's secondary star.
Hey Chris, you're the one who suggested devoting this week's FYC column to the bloated ranks of Best Actor contenders for next year's Oscars. Counting them up, we have no fewer than 16 possible nominees. So instead of our usual back-and-forth, I thought it might be fun to lay down racetrack odds on each actors' chances of making it to the Final Five. Let the games begin?
Hello, Mike! I'm not even sure we should have this chat -- or any other this Oscar season -- since the Best Picture winner at the 86th annual Academy Awards is "12 Years A Slave."
"Captain Phillips" stands at the very top of the recent spate of thinking-persons' action films from the last few years, on par with Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty" and well ahead of Ben Affleck's Best Picture-winning "Argo."
I realize the film is already notorious for its lengthy and explicit lesbian sex scenes between stars Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos. But I truly hope the furor doesn't overshadow the incredible performance by Exarchopoulos, whose name I'm already learning to pronounce and spell in hopes that we'll be talking about her from now until Oscar night.
Hello, Mike! Just last Friday, you and I were standing in the office and wondering where this year's awards contenders were hiding. (After all, by that Friday last year, "Argo" had already debuted.) Then "12 Years A Slave" premiered at the Telluride Film Festival that night, and we received our answer.
So, what can we expect from "Lee Daniels' The Butler"? Nothing, I guess, but for the sake of some dog-days chatter let's start here: nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Forest Whitaker), Best Supporting Actress (Oprah Winfrey), Best Costumes and Best Makeup all seem possible, with Danny Strong certainly on the list for Best Original Screenplay.
Hey Chris, hear that sound? No, it's not Saul Berenson reciting the Kaddish, Sally Draper weeping for the loss of her innocence or Tywin Lannister congratulating himself on summarily dispatching his enemies. Rather, it's the buzz of anticipation surrounding this year's primetime Emmy nominations, which will be announced tomorrow morning.
Welcome to For Your Consideration, HuffPost Entertainment's breakdown of all things Oscar. Between now and March 2, 2014, executive arts and entertainment editor Michael Hogan and entertainment editor Christopher Rosen will chat about awards season and which films will make the most noise at the 86th annual Academy Awards.