Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

An indie drama with three impressive performances and a quirky animated film with a dream cast are the two Oscar-baiting entries to hit theaters this weekend. Here’s how The Messenger and Fantastic Mr. Fox might fare in this year’s awards races.



Best Supporting Actor, Woody Harrelson: He’s the biggest star in the cast and also has the good fortune to be a contender in this year’s weakest major race. He’s also quite impressive in the film’s roughest scenes.

Best Original Screenplay, Oren Moverman and Alessandro Camon: With most of the big Oscar guns in the adapted-screenplay race, Moverman and Camon’s understated script could find itself in the running alongside Up and A Serious Man.

Long shots

Best Actor, Ben Foster: The standout from Alpha Dog and 3:10 to Yuma turns in another raw performance as a soldier forced to tell military families their loved ones have been killed. But he may have a tough time competing with his more seasoned competitors.

Best Supporting Actress, Samantha Morton: She’s one of the few actresses who seems to be able to score acting nominations for quieter work—witness her Best Actress nod for In America. And she’s typically stoic as a recent widow. Too bad Precious and Up in the Air may hog most of the slots in her category.


Best Bet

Best Animated Feature: With five slots in this year’s race (compared to the usual three), Wes Anderson’s whimsical take on Roald Dahl’s book stands a great chance of competing against the likes of Pixar and Ponyo.


Best Original Song, “Petey’s Song”: Jarvis Cocker’s countrified ode may not be the most beautiful track in competition this year, but the music branch often goes for the non-traditional choices.