It's never too early to be out of the hunt.
We've known since forever, for instance, that Michael Jackson's This Is It wouldn't make Oscar's short list for documentary features, because the concert movie simply wasn't released by the Aug. 31 cutoff date.
But This Is It did have viable options: Sony could wait for next year and then submit the film as a doc, or the studio could push for it this year in the non-doc categories. (Forget about Original Song, though—the film didn't have any. Original songs, that is.)
Sony went the latter route. And while even director Kenny Ortega has called Oscar nominations "wishful thinking," it's not crazy thinking to imagine the critically praised hit getting serious consideration. (On the Los Angeles Times' site, one Oscar voter even predicted a Best Picture nod.)
Here's a quick look at other films and stars who aren't as lucky as This Is It—their best shot for Oscar-night glory has already been shot down:
• Michael Moore. His latest, Capitalism: A Love Story, arguably was the highest-profile doc to not make the round of 15. Did Moore care? Don't know. The decision didn't prompt one of his mass emails, or even a tweet.
• Mike Tyson. Tyson, director James Toback's compelling look at the boxer, likewise didn't make the doc cut. Did Tyson care? Don't know, but he's presumably got bigger problems—plus, Toback cared enough for both of them to vent to the New York Times about the Academy's "extortion" process.
• G-Force. The guinea-pig adventure was the highest-grossing CGI-y flick to not be submitted for consideration in the Animated Feature category. The movie, which featured real-live people alongside its CGI critters, was believed to have enough animation to qualify as an animated film. (But maybe it didn't? While Fox submitted the upcoming Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, starring Jason Lee and other humans, the L.A. Times points out that the studio submitted the original Alvin and the Chipmunks, too, only to have the comedy ultimately ruled ineligible.)
• Craig Ferguson. When it became official that Hugh Jackman wasn't returning as Oscar host, there was hope by the cult-fave's following that their man would get the call. Vegas didn't think so; Academy producers didn't bite; Ferguson got to join the biggest club in town—people not named Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. (This item could've just as easily been titled Neil Patrick Harris, Ricky Gervais or Name Your Emcee Here.)
• Former Oscar winners. How many people does it take to present a trophy? At this past spring's ceremony, the answer was five, at least in the acting categories. Hope you enjoyed the experiment. The show's new producers say they're not doing it at next year's show, a move which should free up a number of old-timers on Oscar night. Draw up your party guest list accordingly.