I absolutely love Winter's Bone. I think part of that has to do with the fact that I grew up in a place very similar to the one depicted in the film. I've found though that people who tend to like bleak films love the movie and those that don't, really don't care for it.
There's no way Jennifer Lawrence an the film won't get Oscar nominations. If anyone is going to beat Natalie Portman, it's going to be Lawrence.