Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Oscars 2016: Top 10 Oscar Films That'll Either Score or Miss The Mark

As we take an early approach to the awards season, with Cannes taking place and Oscar contenders screening there, here are ten films that have yet to been by critics or the masses that could end up as either an Oscar winner or Oscar bait. Let's take a look:

10. The Martian: This one has a starry cast that includes Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Kristen Wiig. Plus, it is a sci-fi film and as evidenced by Gravity's success, that genre has done particularly well. However, it has Ridley Scott behind it and his track record has been rather spotty recently.

9. Black Mass: Real-life person? Check. Famous movie star undergoing a physical transformation? Check. Pedigree cast and director who directed a recent Oscar-winning performance (Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart)? Added bonus. But can this film tick a giant mystery box full of prizes? We'll see.

8. Freeheld: This one stars the recently-anointed Oscar winner Julianne Moore and co-stars fellow Oscar club members Ellen Page, Steve Carell, and Michael Shannon. Plus, it is based on an Oscar-winning documentary short and is about a real-life lesbian couple fighting for pension rights while one half of the couple battles cancer. This seems like a dodgy one because critics and audiences could easily be moved by it or find it to be emotionally pandering.

7. By The Sea: This one is a relationship drama starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with Jolie at the helm. While on paper, it seems like it could be a surefire contender given the pedigree involved, the fact that it has the famous couple involved could make it seem like a vanity project if it fails.

6. In The Heart Of The Sea: Originally, it was primed for a release early in the year. But I'm guessing they delayed it so it will be considered for awards consideration. It's certainly not hard to see why as Ron Howard is at the helm and it is based on a true story about a ship being ambushed by a sperm whale. But as we all know, Ron Howard and Oscar bait don't always fare too well (i.e., Cinderella Man) so, we'll see.

5. Bridge of Spies: Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks at it again? Check. WWII story? Check. The dynamic duo have achieved success with WWII fare when Saving Private Ryan won big. But that film didn't win Best Picture. Can that change here or will it be strike two?

4. Joy: This one has David O. Russell re-teaming with Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Robert De Niro. Plus, it is based on a true story about the founder of the Miracle Mop. O. Russell may have created magic with the aforementioned actors, but is he just resting on his laurels on this point?

3. Steve Jobs: I didn't want to include this one at first because this is a biopic I am actually pulling for due to those involved. It has Michael Fassbender in the title role and co-stars Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen (comedian going serious? Check), and Jeff Daniels. Plus, Aaron Sorkin is writing the script and Danny Boyle directs. But a biopic that has the real-life person's name as the title can be sketchy as for every Lincoln or Milk, there is a J. Edgar or Amelia. I'm crossing my fingers for this one to do well, though.

2. Suffragette: It seems like perfect timing to release this one around awards season as in Patricia Arquette's acceptance speech at the Oscars, she talked about equal rights for women and this film deals with the woman's suffrage movement in England. However, it took a short while for this one to pick up distribution and despite the pedigree involved (Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, and especially Meryl Streep), sometimes pedigree is included to make a film seem better than it actually is.

1. The Danish Girl: There may have been buzz surrounding this film before and even while it was being filmed. But of course, that was as the cameras started rolling before the final edit and before it could be screened. Sure, some of Eddie Redmayne's peers have heeped praise saying he will score another win after his latest win helped give this film some heat. But we're not sure if it is just them being courteous or if it's them being legitimate because even though they've worked with him, a lot of us haven't seen the film yet. So, I think the apex will be when it is screened for critics and the Academy, proving whether or not that buzz is manufactured. Plus, the film was in development hell before it finally got made. So, like with the other films on this list, we shall see.

So, that is my list pf the top 10 films that could either end up as an Oscar winner or be labeled as Oscar bait. Whether you agree or disagree, please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!