Hello, Bloggers, since we got through the first half of 2014 and that brings us slightly closer to Oscar season in the near future with the festivals approaching in the coming months, I figured I'd run down the potential Oscar hopefuls that came out in the first year as well as what is being released in the coming months:
I'll start off by discussing what has already been released. When The Grand Budapest Hotel first came out, it was immediately pegged to be an Oscar contender. In my opinion, if that were to happen, I would bet on a Screenplay nomination and maybe Production Design if nothing else in the major categories. Usually, films that come out early in the year or in the first half are apparently not released according to Academy voters. I honestly would love to see a Wes Anderson film get a PD nomination since his films are so colorful and amazing to look at. Another film being campaigned for the Oscar circuit is Noah, which could have some marginal success if its controversy doesn't hurt it. I would imagine not just because films like this are ALWAYS going to get hit with controversy. But like I said, we'll have to see if the film's early release date will hurt its chances. I personally am not too crazy about its potential Oscar march because I didn't really like the film that much, but I digress.
Now onto the Cannes Film Festival, which usually is an indicator for the Foreign Language category. The Palme D'Or went to Winter Sleep, which is a foreign film that I'd imagine might be Turkey's selection for Best Foreign Language Film. But Best Director went to Bennett Miller for the upcoming Foxcatcher. This film was originally set to be in last year's Oscar march, but was postponed to move away from the crowd. But it might be an Oscar player because it not only won the prestigious directing prize at Cannes, but it is based on a true story and has two actors reinventing themselves (Steve Carell, Channing Tatum). The International Cinephile Society, which recognizes indie films or mainstream films with artistic merit, even had their own special awards for films screened at Cannes and gave Best Actor to Channing Tatum. Whether he will be campaigned in Lead or Supporting remains to be seen. But Best Actor at the actual Cannes festival was handed out to Timothy Spall for Mr. Turner, which is directed by Oscar darling Mike Leigh (Vera Drake, Happy-Go-Lucky) and Best Actress was handed out to Julianne Moore for Maps to the Stars. That film doesn't have an official release date here in the states as of now, but if it does, Moore could march her way to the Oscars which would really create an overdue narrative since she is already 0-4. That actually brings me to my next point.
This year, we are seeing plenty of actresses in contention that have either not won before or have not won and are overdue. The list includes not just Julianne Moore, but the 0-2 Viola Davis, who came very close to winning Best Actress for The Help, for the upcoming James Brown biopic Get On Up. Also, there is the 0-5 Amy Adams for the Weinstein-geared biopic Big Eyes, where she co-stars with Christoph Waltz and is directed by Tim Burton. But Adams is not the only actress that has Weinstein at her corner, as the 0-3 Michelle Williams is in possible contention for the WWII love story Suite Francaise, set in Nazi-occupied France. Plus, the 0-2 Jessica Chastain looks to have another banner year like her breakout year in 2011 with 4 films set for release: Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Miss Julie, Interstellar, and A Most Violent Year. But how about an actress that has won before? Reese Witherspoon is looking to have more of a comeback year to recapture her former Oscar glory with about four "Oscar" films set for release at the end of this year: biopic Wild, The Good Lie, Inherent Vice by prestigious director Paul Thomas Anderson, and Gone Girl, which she is producing. We even have actresses that have never been nominated, like Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl and Emily Blunt for the musical Into The Woods, which is directed by Rob Marshall and also stars the perennially nominated Meryl Streep AND Johnny Depp. That film could either go the way of the Best Picture-winning Chicago or Nine, which did "meh" in the awards circuit.
But Suite Francaise isn't the only WWII film in contention this year. We could be seeing a husband vs. wife battle as Brad Pitt has the WWII actioner Fury and Angelina Jolie is directing Unbroken, which stars potential breakout star Jack O'Connell as a former Olympian who was a prisoner of war in WWII. Plus, Weinstein has another WWII film up his sleeve with the Benedict Cumberbatch-starring The Imitation Game, which is about a man named Alan Turing who helped the Allies win WWII by figuring out the Nazi's enigma code but was persecuted for his homosexuality. I would imagine the Academy might eat this one up if it's any good.
But what about directors who are looking for another round at scoring Oscar gold? David Fincher came awfully close a few years ago to winning Best Director for The Social Network, just like how Christopher Nolan came awfully close to being nominated that same year for Inception. But they might just have another go with David Fincher directing Gone Girl and Christopher Nolan directing Interstellar. Coincidentally, each one stars a former Hollywood joke turned serious Hollywood player, with Gone Girl starring Ben Affleck and Interstellar starring Matthew McConaughey. Now for either of these two directors, I'm really crossing my fingers that they score Oscar gold. Same with Paul Thomas Anderson, who has Inherent Vice set for release later this year.
As of right now, I would say the frontrunners in this Oscar race are Gone Girl, Inherent Vice, and Foxcatcher. I would say Interstellar because of how sci-fi is slowly but surely entering its way into the Academy's wheelhouse, but I don't like to be TOO sure.
So, that is my quick Oscar forecast for the latter part of this year. If you feel that there is any film that should be entered in the Oscar conversation, like how I feel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes should, then please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!