On November 26, the first major film award of the season, The Gotham Independent Film Awards, will be handed out in New York City, and thus the Oscar Race for 2013 begins. Yeah, we know, a lot of films have already won prizes at film festivals around the world, but let's face it, the Oscar voters don't really pay attention to film festivals. They barely pay attention to critics awards, but they certainly don't pay any attention to the film festivals.
The Academy Award members who vote on the ultimate list of Oscar nominees pay attention to a combination of critics awards and box office success, plus a little sentiment and good old-fashioned "popularity contest" thrown in. And traditionally, the Gotham Awards are the first of the critics awards handed out each year. Unfortunately, the Gotham Awards only recognize independent films, and rarely do their winners go on to win Oscars, but fortunately, immediately after the Gotham Awards come a flurry of 40+ other critics awards which are announced in December and January. So by the time the first of the televised film awards, The Golden Globes, come around, a solid slate of Oscar favorites are already practically set in cement.
Early serious contenders for Best Picture include "Lincoln", "Argo", "Hitchcock", "Moonrise Kingdom", Les Miserables", "The Master", "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", "Life of Pi" and "Silver Linings Playbook".
Among the Best Picture nominees, there's always at least one surprise, and don't be shocked if this year's surprise nominee is the new James Bond film, "Skyfall". It boasts an A-List roster of top talent in its cast, director and crew, and make no mistake about it, it's big, big box office. And when it comes to "show business", Oscar loves the show, but it loves the business even more.