Will the actors and filmmakers from your favorite movie be making room on their mantels this award season? Or will they be watching the Oscars from afar? Gold Standard columnist Glenn Whipp assesses the chances of the films in contention by consulting ... the magic Oscar 8-Ball.
Benh Zeitlin's little indie-movie-that-could, "Beasts of the Southern Wild," made headlines earlier this week when the Screen Actors Guild deemed it ineligible to compete for SAG Awards because it was made without a SAG-AFTRA union contract. How will this decision -- and Fox Searchlight's apparent reluctance to bring the movie into compliance with a union agreement by the Oct. 25 deadline -- affect the movie's chances with the academy?
We consult the Oscar 8-Ball for answers.
Most likely: Even those who didn't fall under "Beasts'" spell were charmed by its fearless, 8-year-old star, Quvenzhane Wallis, an unknown who auditioned and won the part of the little force of nature, Hushpuppy, at the tender age of 5. The movie's vision belongs to Zeitlin, but it rests on the slender shoulders of Wallis, who captured viewers' attention with a brave, deeply felt performance that recalled the likes of Mary Badham in "To Kill a Mockingbird" and Keisha Castle-Hughes in "Whale Rider." Her work stands on its own merits, but voters adore a great backstory too, and Wallis' road to discovery has just that. (For one thing, she lied about her age at her audition, as the filmmakers didn't want anyone younger than 6.) Wallis will probably be irresistible in a lead actress category that isn't particularly brimming with compelling candidates this year.