BREAKING MOVIE NEWS
Last Friday I lined up two hours early, with an early autumn rainstorm crashing down, to catch the New York Film Festival press screening of Life of Pi, because the festival has exactly one press screening for all of their films, and there was no way I was going to miss that one. Even on the surface the movie seemed to tick all the boxes of Oscar season
With the rush of the Toronto, Venice and Telluride film festivals dying down, and the New York Film Festival just gearing up, it's easy to start thinking we've seen most of this year's big awards contenders already. But putting together this year's charts for the first time, I've been kind of amazed by how many question marks remain.
Halfway through September, the Oscar race is very much underway, and I'll be checking in weekly between now and the February ceremony for the latest on where things stand, which contenders are doing better than the others, and what you ought to expect when the nominations and the winners are announced
If you're ready to embrace the spirit of the new year and leave the movies of 2011 behind, too bad-- we are in the thick of awards-giving season, and with the Golden Globe awards happening next Sunday and the Oscar nominations coming January 24, it it still very much time to consider the best of 2011
When I first started writing this season's Oscar Eye columns back in September, you'd be forgiven to think it was a little crazy to start talking about awards season. At this point though, prizes and nominations and "For Your Consideration" ads are as commonplace as Christmas lights
So this week we finally see the release of the latest Clint Eastwood movie, pegged for Oscar chances-- like most other Eastwood movies of late- from the moment we knew it existed. I reviewed it already and was surprised, given how dreadful Hereafter and Invictus were, not to hate it. It's not really a good movie, but given the great performances Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer are giving
It happens so quickly. One day the heavy hitters of awards season are just a glint in your eye, with so much left to be determined and so many mysteries to unfold. The next, Clint Eastwood's new movie is finally being seen by critics and it feels like the jig is up. In the two weeks since the last Oscar Eye column, a few more contenders have started peeking out of their fortresses of solitude
Sure, the Oscars are the main focus of this weekly column, but if you follow the awards race you know there are so, so many prizes that come first, from awards handed out by various critic's groups to independent film awards like the Indie Spirits to the dreaded Golden Globes.
The New York Film Festival wraps up this week, and though I've barely set foot in Lincoln Center for the occasion (I know, I know, it frustrates me too), the festival has managed to put a little bit of direction into the Oscar race in a way it hasn't in recent years
Though this weekend's big Oscar-friendly release, The Ides of March, will primarily be a contender on behalf of its male actors, but two new trailers have everyone talking about actresses instead. First up there was yesterday's first trailer for My Week With Marilyn, which allowed us to finally see Michelle Williams walking, talking and even singing as the iconic movie star
I caught Carnage at the New York Film Festival and greatly enjoyed myself. It's a very straightforward adaptation of a play that takes place entirely in one apartment, and thus doesn't feel terribly cinematic, but director Roman Polanski does a good job moving the camera around in the space and emphasizing all four lead performances, which are uniformly terrific. It's hard to guess how this might shake out Oscar wise
Each week I'll update the charts based on whatever I'm perceiving in buzz or reviews or more ephemeral stuff like that. In each individual category I've explained as best I can what my thinking is, and I'll continue those explanations-- though hopefully in shorter versions-- each week. Take a look at the charts below, keep in mind it's all very preliminary, and let me know which contenders I'm underestimating or plain forgot
I'm still not ready to put together the big season-long charts that are usually in this column-- partly because I don't have the time during the festival crunch, and partly because it just feels too soon. But below are some of the Toronto titles with the biggest potential to move into Oscar campaigns, and what I've learned about them here at the festival
While you read this I'm on my way to the Toronto International Film Festival, one of several early September film festivals that mark the real beginning of Oscar season. Yes, it will be many months before you start seeing TV ads with "Best Picture nominee" on them, and almost as long before many of the big potential contenders
I choose to see it as the only logical result in a year that was crammed with great movies, all of them worthwhile for their own reasons and all of them deserving of their moment. Even films that didn't take home a single prize felt well-honored by tonight's ceremony
Below are my best predictions for all the categories, with a little bit of reasoning about how I chose them. On a lot of these I feel pretty confident, having followed the Oscar buzz all the way since last September and weighed the Academy's predilections for period films/giant costumes/loud movies/Rick Baker when appropriate.
There are still enough surprises in store to make this year's Oscars well worth watching, and even the good kind of surprises that won't make you give up on faith in the movie industry entirely. With just two weeks left of pre-Oscar columns left to go, and next week's inevitably dedicated to my predictions about who will win, it's time to run down the eight potential surprises on Oscar night
You mean the ensuing SAG and DGA Awards caused nearly every Oscar pundit to set their hair on fire last weekend, while I was still trying to figure out how to get my snow boots back in my suitcase? Christ, OK
Let's start with the big one: Christopher Nolan didn't get the Best Director nomination.
The minute you say something is predictable or obvious in the Oscar world, something totally bizarre happens to prove you wrong. So really, who knows