Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" seems to be emerging as a frontrunner for best movie of the year honors, thanks to a week's worth of critics awards and nominations.
Thursday's leading seven Golden Globe nominations merely reconfirmed Lincoln's rising status, following a good showing from the Screen Actors Guild and its record nominations haul from the Broadcast Film Critics Association.
Lincoln's main rival would seem to be Kathryn Bigelow's film about the 10-year-long hunt for Osama Bin Laden, "Zero Dark Thirty." It was the darling of the earliest critics awards (National Board of Review, New York Film Critics, Boston, Washington D.C., etc) but it seems to have faded a bit with the lukewarm enthusiasm of the BFCA and the non-existent enthusiasm of SAG.
Another based-on-a-true-story film that may pick up the slack if "Zero Dark Thirty" falters is Ben Affleck's "Argo," about the Iranian hostage crisis. "Argo" rang up a second-best 5 Golden Globe nominations, tied with Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained." That represented something of a comeback for Django, after weak showings at both SAG and BFCA.
Two strong films that made the grade with the Golden Globes in their comedy/musical category are "Les Miserables," one of the most popular musicals of all time, and "Silver Linings Playbook," an offbeat relationship movie about two appealing but mentally unbalanced people, starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. If you use these December awards as a way to handicap the Oscar race this January, and a way to decide which movies to catch up with, I'd rank the Best Picture contenders this way:
2. Zero Dark Thirty
3. Les Miserables
5. Silver Linings Playbook
6. Life of Pi
7. Django Unchained