This is it: We're at the awards season wire.
And so Matt Damon and John Krasinski's Promised Land hits theaters a week after Naomi Watts' and Ewan McGregor's The Impossible began its own, just-in-time Oscar-qualifying run. Both movies, currently at a couple dozen or so theaters, respectively, go wider Jan. 4.
Here's what you could be seeing of Promised Land and The Impossible at the Academy Awards:
A Best Actress Nomination for Watts: She's got the Golden Globe nomination to keep her campaign front-and-center; she's got the Screen Actors Guild Award nomination to prove its legitimacy. Ladsbrokes and a couple of other oddsmakers, in turn, give Watts a solid shot to nab an Oscar nod, or at least to battle it out for the fifth and final spot with Rust and Bone's Marion Cotillard and Beasts of the Southern Wild's Quvenzhané Wallis.
A Rerun of Matt and Ben, Except This Time With Matt and John: Damon, who won his thus far lone Oscar for writing the Good Will Hunting screenplay with Ben Affleck, is back in the Original Screenplay hunt for his Promised Land collaboration with Krasinski.
And, Well, That's About It…: The fracking serious Promised Land is in the conversation but barely for Best Picture and Best Actor (though more for Krasinski than Damon, per GoldDerby.com's pundits). The tear-jerking The Impossible is considered an even longer shot than Promised Land for the top prize, while McGregor is drawing slightly more interest than either Damon or Krasinski from the oddsmakers for Best Actor (but he's still not drawing all that much).
Robbed Already?! The Impossible's tsunami is earning raves (and its own write-up in the New York Times, no less), but the movie's a no-go for the Visual Effects Oscar—it didn't make the Academy's short list for the category.
The Reese Witherspoon Factor: In a valentine Witherspoon wrote to Watts, and allowed Entertainment Weekly to publish, the Walk the Line star said Watts deserved "every beautiful statue that exists by the end of February." This is signficant because unlike pundits and oddsmakers, Witherspoon, a onetime Best Actress winner, is a real, live Oscar voter.