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The past couple of years, I’ve posted ultra-early Oscar predictions (usually in March). I guess I was slacking a bit this year, but here is my first round of predictions.
If you’d like to see how my early stabs in the dark panned out in previous years, you can check them out here.
The Dark Knight Rises
Life of Pi
Other Possibilities: Moonrise Kingdom, The Great Gatsby, Inside Lllewyn Davis, Hyde Park on Hudson, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Zero Dark Thirty, Killing Them Softly, The Silver Lining Playbook, Gravity, Trouble With the Curve, The Place Beyond the Pines, Brave, Gangster Squad, Lawless, Six Sessions, Rust and Bone, Prometheus, Seven Psychopaths
Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master
Michael Haneke, Amour
Peter Jackson, The Hobbit
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Stephen Spielberg, Lincoln
Other Possibilities: Tom Hooper (Les Miserables), Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), Joel and Ethan Coen (Inside Llewyn Davis), David O. Russell (The Silver Lining Playbook), Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom), Andrew Dominik (Killing Them Softly), Baz Luhrman (The Great Gatsby), Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), Ben Affleck (Argo), Roger Michell (Hyde Park on Hudson), David Cronenberg (Cosmopolis), Ridley Scott (Prometheus)
Clint Eastwood, Trouble with the Curve
This movie sounds like a crowd-pleasing heartstring-tugger, and also a great acting showcase.
John Hawkes, Six Sessions
Hawkes received massive buzz at Sundance for Six Sessions (then known as The Surrogate). He’s an actor whose had a huge breakthrough recently and has been making very smart role choices. I strongly think he will get his second nomination this year.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
I’m not sure how the Lead/Supporting split will go with Hoffman and Phoenix (I’ve seen it predicted both ways), but I imagine they’ll both be nominated. It’s about time for another PSH nomination, right?
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
If there’s one nomination I am almost positive will happen this year, this is it. Unless this turns out to be J. Edgar or something, it’ll happen. Not sure if DDL will get a third Oscar so quickly, but he’ll almost certainly be nominated.
Bill Murray, Hyde Park on Hudson
I personally don’t think this movie will have the awards season sweep that a lot of people seem to be predicting (it sounds more Iron Lady than King’s Speech, to me), but it seems pretty likely that Bill Murray will be nominated for Best Actor. He might even win his first one.
Other Possibilities: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Great Gatsby), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Ryan Gosling (The Place Beyond the Pines), Brad Pitt (Killing Them Softly), Ryan Gosling (Gangster Squad),
Amy Adams, Trouble With the Curve
Adams has three Supporting Actress nominations under her belt already, and this father/daughter drama could get her a Lead Actress nom. The Academy clearly loves her, so between this and The Master (which I am currently predicting her for, as well), it seems fairly likely she’ll get nominated again this year.
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Cotillard made big waves at Cannes this year for her apparently raw performance in this Jacques Audiard drama. It is a French-language performance, though, which could be a tough sell to the Academy.
Helen Hunt, Six Sessions
Since winning her Oscar for As Good as It Gets, Helen Hunt’s career hasn’t exactly been stellar. However, this Sundance hit could be the one to turn it around for her. John Hawkes might overshadow her, since it is his character’s story, but who knows?
Keira Knightley, Anna Karenina
On paper, this sounds like a good bet. It’s the adaptation of a beloved classic novel directed by Joe Wright and starring Keira Knightley. That formula worked very well for Knightley with Pride & Prejudice. We’ll have to wait and see if this one works quite as well, though.
Elizabeth Olsen, Liberal Arts
Olsen established herself as a truly talented young actress with Martha Marcy May Marlene last year. And while Liberal Arts looks considerably lighter, she received raves at Sundance, with some critics calling it a star-making turn. Not sure if this is a lead or supporting performance, though.
Other Possibilities: Kristen Wiig (Imogene), Laura Linney (Hyde Park on Hudson), Viola Davis (Won’t Back Down), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Smashed), Mia Wasikowska (Stoker), Maggie Smith (Qaurtet), Abbie Cornish (The Girl), Meryl Streep (Hope Springs)
Best Supporting Actor
Bradley Cooper, The Place Beyond the Pines
Maybe it’s wishful thinking or maybe it’s a hunch, but I have a feeling that Bradley Cooper will get serious Oscar consideration this year. I don’t know if the Academy would nominate him in the lead category yet (especially when it’s shaping up to be so competitive this year), but if this is a meaty role and he does it well, this could be the perfect “welcome to the club” nomination for him.
Bryan Cranston, Argo
Affleck has had luck getting his supporting players nominated in the past. There are plenty of possible acting nominations for this film, but Cranston seems to have the right combination of critical respect (for his excellent work on Breaking Bad) and relevance (his many recent supporting roles) to maybe get some Oscar recognition, if the role is good.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
DiCaprio hasn’t been on the best terms with the Academy recently, and while I don’t think this nomination is a lock by any means, it seems like a pretty good bet. Tarantino always writes fascinating characters, and it should be interesting to see how DiCaprio does with that style.
Woody Harrelson, Seven Psychopaths
Admittedly, I’m at a bit of a loss with this category. Apparently, Harrelson has a very good part in Seven Psychopaths, and he’s had a few good years, so it could happen.
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Joaquin is back, and I think he’ll pick up right where he left off. And while a three-minute clip is hardly enough to go from, he looks fantastic in this movie.
Other Possibilities: Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained), David Straitharn (Lincoln), Robert De Niro (The Silver Lining Playbook), Justin Timberlake (Inside Llewyn Davis), Guy Pearce (Lawless), Tom Hardy (Lawless), Josh Brolin (Gangster Squad), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Lincoln), Sam Rockwell (Seven Psychopaths)
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, The Master
I have no idea what Adams’ or Dern’s parts are like (and maybe I’m just way too excited about The Master), but I could see both of them getting nominated. After all, if there’s a category where that could happen, it’s Supporting Actress (The Help! The Fighter! Up in the Air! Doubt! Two of which involved Amy Adams…)
Laura Dern, The Master
Dern has had a bit of a comeback with her work on the TV show Enlightened, and if her part is good, she could receive her first Oscar nomination is twenty years.
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Maybe I’m still sore about Hooper beating Fincher two years back, but for me, Les Miserables just has the faint scent of disaster. Now, if that turns out to be true, that doesn’t mean it’ll get shut out by the Oscars (hey, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Lovely Bones!). Hathaway seems like most likely candidate for a nomination.
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
I’m not sure if this movie will be Oscar’s thing, but Jennifer Lawrence is too big of a force to ignore right now. The Academy voters helped launch her by nominating her for Winter’s Bone, so they’ll probably want to follow that up with another nomination sometime soon.
Olivia Williams, Hyde Park on Hudson
Williams has been turning out fantastic, under-recognized work for many years. Maybe this glossy biopic will be what it takes to get her some attention. Playing Eleanor Roosevelt certainly can’t hurt.
Other Possibilities: Vanessa Redgrave (Song for Marion), Jessica Chastain (Lawless), Reece Witherspoon (Mud), Gemma Arterton (Song for Marion), Sally Field (Lincoln), Kerry Washington (Django Unchained), Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Jacki Weaver (The Silver Lining Playbook)
Attack the Block doesn’t offer much new to the alien invasion genre, but somehow it manages to chop things up and remix them in a way that feels fairly fresh. The movie centers around a gang of tough-talking teens living in a rough London borough. When mysterious extra-terrestrial monsters invade their “block” (which, in this case, means their apartment complex), the gang takes matters into their own hands in hopes of defending their turf.
First-time director Joe Cornish brings great style to this movie. It has a high-contrast kind of colour scheme, and the use of blues and other bright swatches of colour really make the film (which is set entirely at night) pop. The monsters even manage to be stylish, and the whole film has a very young, heightened look to it.
The opening couple scenes of Attack the Block made me think that Cornish was going to favour style and mayhem over an actual story, but he actually did a great job of developing characters with little fuss. As the film progressed, I became more and more engrossed in the relationships and the story. The film progresses in a very natural, smooth way, and, wisely, it never slows down to give extensive backstory on the characters.
In terms of acting, there are definitely some unconvincing moments, but in general, the young cast does a good job. The standout actor for me was Luke Treadaway (who, to be fair, does have considerably more acting experience than most of the others). He’s very charming as the collegiate pothead, Brewis, who unsuspectingly gets ensnared in the adventure. Treadaway makes the best of his small role and provides many of the film’s funniest moments. Also good is John Boyega, who presents a steely front as the gang’s anti-heroic leader, Moses.
Attack the Block won’t provoke any deep thought, but it’s definitely a fun ride for 90 minutes. It knows exactly what type of movie it wants to be. It not only succeeds as an alien invasion flick, but it also presents interesting characters and plenty of humour.
Oh, summer movies. The summer movie season is never as thrillingly spectacular to me as it is to some, but it always seems much better in comparison to the January-April void we’ve just endured. It officially (?) kicks off in just a few days, so here’s my preview of the first month of summer (?) at the cineplex: May!
Hmm…what’s that little indie flick called? Oh, that’s right.
The Avengers. Buzz has already reached a fever pitch (especially if you’re a Tom Hiddleston fan who uses Tumblr), and positive reviews are only confirming the fact that The Avengers will be the most awesomely epic film of
ALL TIME. If you’re curious (you’re not) about what my favourite pre-Avengers Avengers movie is, it’s Thor.
However, if you hate superheroes and love old people, you’ll still have something to see this weekend, because The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opens in limited release. I saw this trailer at every damn movie I went to in the past four months (what does that say about the movies I go to see?) and while the movie looks significantly less charming on my fifth viewing of the trailer, Bill Nighy has yet to stop charming me. Also opening in limited release is the dreadful-looking Miley Cyrus romp LOL, the dreadful-looking Kate Hudson romp A Little Bit of Heaven (Gael Garcia Bernal, what are you doing???), and the misleadingly titled slasher flick Mother’s Day.
I had heard people mock the Dark Shadows trailer for weeks before I actually watched it myself, but after finally being forced to endure the preview at the theatre, I have to say that this movie looks…strange. Johnny Depp has considerable charm, sure, but I’m not sure who this movie is marketed towards. The Twilight set? Middle-aged women? Teenage boys? I don’t know. These Burton/Depp collaborations always seem to do well, though, and this one probably will, too. We’ll see if it’s actually any good.
A whole whack of movies come out in limited release this week, so I’ll just mention two that look interesting to me. First is A Bag of Hammers. This drama stars Jason Ritter and Rebecca Hall (both of whom I like quite a bit) but the main appeal for me is the soundtrack, which was done by British folk artist Johnny Flynn. If you haven’t checked out Flynn’s music, you should do so. The other movie is Tonight You’re Mine, which is a romantic comedy that came out in the UK last year under the title You Again. It stars Natalia Tena (Tonks!) and Luke Treadaway (who I thought was very charming in Attack the Block) as two musicians who get handcuffed together at a music festival they’re both supposed to perform at. Could be cheesy, could be fun. Could be both.
Battleship might already be the most derided film of the summer, and in a couple of short weeks, we’ll get to see if it’s as bad as basic logic would suggest. Look, I loved Taylor Kitsch on Friday Night Lights, but this blockbuster action star role doesn’t seem to suit him terribly well. Liam Neeson, though.
Also out this week is the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy The Dictator (May 16). I’m not totally sold on him doing a mostly scripted comedy as one of his farcical characters (for me, the most interesting part of Borat was watching Regular Folks react to his outlandish behaviour), but I’d be glad to be proven wrong. Anna Faris, John C. Reilly, and Ben Kingsley give me more hope.
I think I know exactly what to expect from What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Sophmoric humour that ham-fistedly reinforces gender stereotypes, perhaps? There are some talented and funny people in this cast, certainly. But also a lot of really, really annoying ones.
On a smaller scale, Hysteria stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy and tells the story of how the vibrator came to be. Should be interesting. Also, Murgan Spurlock’s documentary about beards, Mansome,
will give us a behind-the-scenes look at the facial grooming rituals of Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Paul Rudd, and some other funny men. As well, Dustin Lance Black’s directorial debut, Virginia (previously titled What’s Wrong With Virginia), finally receives a public release after getting panned at TIFF 2010. The film stars Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, and Emma Roberts.
Two uninteresting major releases this week. Men In Black III is happening for some reason, though at least the cast includes Josh Brolin and Bill Hader. Alternatively, Jesse McCartney (!!) gets to try his hand at the Dead Teenager Movie with Chernobyl Diaries. Hey, maybe it’ll turn out to actually be really good, like Chronicle! Yeah, probably not…
In limited release is one of the month’s more interesting offerings, Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. I’m not quite enamoured with Anderson as a director (though I do love Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums), but I’m always curious to see what he’ll do next. Throw in Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Harvey Keitel, Jason Schwartzman, and Frances McDormand, and I’m sold.