Palm Springs Film Festival on Saturday night -- the first of several major events in the next 10 days: Oscar nominations are coming Thursday morning followed by the Critics’ Choice Awards that night, and then, of course, the Golden Globes on Sunday.

As the later events will probably get a lot more play, Naomi made an understated selection to ease into the season. Smart. This is Roland Mouret, a great dress that fits comfortably, is flattering, but leaves room to build towards (hopefully, in her case) a more spectacular finish. You don’t want to blow your load too early. And, as I mentioned last week, momentum seems to be moving in her favour for Best Actress for The Impossible.

I was around many members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association this weekend (they will vote on Critics’ Choice today ahead of Thursday’s show) and, from the many discussions we had at the junkets, while the sense was that they’ll probably go with Jessica Chastain, no one wants to count out Watts when predicting the Academy’s selection. Again, as previously mentioned, Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence are so new on the scene, think of Naomi’s advantage among the voters, with whom she’s worked through her  career, and her friends -- the Nicole Kidmans (ahem, if Nic would be so gracious as to lobby for her bff the way Julia Roberts did for Javier Bardem), the Sean Penns, the Peter Jacksons, the Viggo Mortensens...

If they call Naomi’s name on Thursday morning when they announce the Oscar nominations, and I think they will, it won’t matter if Jessica Chastain wins at Critics’ Choice. Naomi Watts is NOT an underdog in this race.