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    So, What Are Ben Stiller's Oscar Chances Really?

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    Ben Stiller, Greenberg
    Ben Stiller, Greenberg Wilson Webb/Focus Features

    Ben Stiller's in with the Spirit Awards. A movie that grossed less than MacGruber ruled the Gotham Awards.

    So, are they both good to go for the Oscars?

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    Don't bet on it.

    Of the last six Gotham Best Feature winners, one (The Hurt Locker) has claimed Oscar's Best Picture; three weren't even nominated in the category.

    Of the last five Spirit Best Male Lead winners, two went onto become Oscar winners (Jeff Bridges and Philip Seymour Hoffman).

    All in all, not bad, but not the track record of the Directors Guild Awards, either.

    The years that the little-film-honoring shows most resemble the Oscars are, in general, the years that the big films kinda suck. But with The Social Network, Toy Story 3 and Inception, among other Hollywood efforts, in the hunt, this is not that kind of year.  

    Winter's Bone, which played on less than 200 screens across the country this past summer, is at least being viewed as a contender. The gaming site Sportsbook.com has the film listed as a 2500-to-1 longshot to win Best Picture. (The Social Network, by comparison, is listed at 350-to-1.)

    Stiller, who has the double disadvantage of being in a little movie and a comedy (or, in Greenberg's case, a super-painful comedy) isn't even in the odds discusssion. For him, the Spirit nod is the win (and a win would be the bonus).

    Now, if you're James Franco, and you're cohosting the Oscars, and you're winning the Best Actor buzz, and you didn't get a Spirit nod today for the relatively low-budget 127 Hours, then that'd be bad. 

    But you did. So, you're good. 

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