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    Meryl Streep's an Oscar Lock! But What Happened to Harry Potter?

    meryl streep, iron lady, extremely loud, incredibly close, alan rickman, harry potter and the deathly hallows part 2
    Oscar Watch

    The AFI Awards are set to be announced Sunday, with the Golden Globe nominations just four days after that. 

    Oh, yes, awards season is on, and so is our Oscar Watch column, a weekly look at which contenders are hot right now.

    And, of course, which contenders (sorry, Harry Potter and Madonna fans!) are not:

    RELATED: At least one Oscar hopeful's a real dog

    WHO'S RISING

    1. Tilda Swinton: If you're going to have a shot at beating Meryl Streep for Best Actress, then you better come armed with great reviews and better buzz. Check and check for the star of the just-opened We Need to Talk About Kevin.

    2. Meryl Streep: If you're really going to have a shot at beating you-know-who, then you better make sure nobody sees how eerie good she who needs no introduction looks in the new trailer for The Iron Lady. Er, oops...

    3. Andy Serkis: He's got the studio-backed ad campaign, now all the motion-capture star of Rise of the Planet of the Apes needs is the votes.

    UP? DOWN? WHO CAN'T TELL!

    1. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: So, usually it's a bad thing if you won't let anybody see your movie, but this 9/11 drama with Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock got the New York Times to posit that maybe, just maybe, in this case, it's a good thing

    WHO'S FALLING

    1. The Artist: Who doesn't love this plucky silent movie? Nobody. But, we're, what?, a couple seconds into awards season, and already this one is feeling a bit precious—and a lot like it's going to get trampled by the likes of War Horse.

    2. Alan Rickman: Whatever happened to that first-ever major Oscar nomination for the Harry Potter series? According to the oddsmakers, it's not happening, at least not for Rickman.

    3. W.E.: Given Madonna's track record in Hollywood, one should never assume the pop icon is in the Oscar race; in fact, one should assume she isn't. But when Harvey Weinstein's distributing her latest movie, and releasing it in December, one may start to doubt all that one knows to be true. Don't. The drama's being killed by critics, and isn't going anywhere—except maybe to the Globes, courtesy the song, "Masterpiece."

    PHOTOS: Stars Playing for Real

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