Aren't you glad that's over? At 5 PM PT today, polls finally closed for the 83rd Academy Awards. No more ads. No more Q&A's. No more last minute calls to scrounge up votes. The membership has cast their ballots with all to be revealed this Sunday night at the Kodak Theater. Now, publicists, nominees and the media can take a nice breather (well, not really) until the big show.
Perhaps it's just my perspective, but it feels like the drumbeat was growing louder than ever to move the whole process back a few weeks. The Academy considered this over the past year but tabled it, partially waiting to see what happens with the NFL's hope of expanding their season by two games which might put the Super Bowl and Oscar on the same weekend. Meanwhile, the process has just become too long for the aforementioned contenders, publicists and jouros who cover it on a daily basis. The problem is, you can easily argue the two month January and February season is a boost at the box office (and arguably DVD and Blu-ray sales or earlier releases).
As of Monday, "The King's Speech" has grossed $104 million domestically and $235 million worldwide. "Black Swan" has just hit $101 million and $199 million worldwide. "The Fighter" is at $88 million and $105 million worldwide. Even "Blue Valentine," in a story which is barely being reported, has hit $8.9 million in the U.S. (if you had predicted "Valentine" would gross $10 million after its Sundance premiere in 2010 people would have rolled their eyes at you). No one would argue that these titles haven't benefited from being in the awards season game and their subsequent nominations. As a quick example, on the day of the Oscar nominations, Jan. 25, "The King's Speech" had made just $59 million and had technically gone nationwide in over 1,500 theaters. 12 nominations later and it will have found another $50 million by Oscar Sunday. And this isn't just the results this year. Ever season finds at least three to five titles who benefit from playing the Oscar game. So, if the NFL does move the Super Bowl close to Oscar's date and the Academy doesn't blink, remember, it's all about the Benjamins.
But, I digress…
With voting over we actually have some big questions to ponder before the big show (really).
Did Melissa Leo really blow her chances at a best supporting actress win?
Can Annette Bening make a last minute push to upset Natalie Portman for best actress?
Probably not, but it's not a reach.
Could Aaron Sorkin suffer Jason Reitman's fate last year and lose best adapted screenplay after winning every other prize?
No, he has enough friends in the building.
Will Banksy be in the building and accept best documentary if "Exit Through The Gift Shop" wins?
You can't convince us AMPAS and the producers have some weird deal in case he wins. Perhaps he accepts by Skype or something.
Could "Inception" actually end the night with the most wins?
You betcha. Although, probably tied with "The King's Speech" though.
And most importantly…
Will James Franco sing?
After this recent rehearsal, let's hope not.
For some of my early predictions, check out HitFix's special Oscar promotion with Hulu here. I'll be going more indepth with predictions the major categories over the next few days.
T-minus five days and counting…
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Click here for to download a printable version of the Oscar ballot.