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Oscar Eye: Saving Mr. Banks, Lone Survivor And Out Of The Furnace Kick Off The Final Phase Of Oscar Reveals
All the cards of Oscar season aren't quite laid out, as we wait just one more week for American Hustle to start screening for guilds, and probably not much longer for Martin Scorsese to finally finish Wolf of Wall Street. But a lot of the question marks have been revealed, as virtually every movie with a shot in the Oscar race-- plus some major longshots-- have been unveiled in the last few months.
It's been a while since we last checked in on Oscar season, and a lot has changed in the last few weeks. Let's run this down film-by-film for the sake of sanity
It is undeniably the season of survival. With Gravity and Captain Phillips dominating the weekend box office and both 12 Years A Slave and All Is Lost on their way to theaters this weekend, audiences have many opportunities to see famous actors struggling onscreen against impossible odds, whether versus pirates or space or the open sea or slavery. I'll leave it to pundits braver than I am to decide which of those threats is the most terrifying
For all the high hopes there were about Gravity's status in the awards race, and how Alfonso Cuaron's visually dazzling film might be able to sneak past the Academy's usual bias against sci-fi, I'm not sure anyone saw this past weekend coming. Gravity shattered a bunch of records and made $55 million over the weekend, proving the star power of its leads Sandra Bullock and George Clooney...
With the New York Film Festival now in full swing, Gravity on its way to theaters and some release date shifts for Foxcatcher and Grace of Monaco taking them out of this year's race, there are so many different reasons to be excited about Oscar season right now.
Let's talk about the word "narrative." It pops up in Oscar campaigns constantly, and often can mean essentially whatever the pundit in question wants, a way for them to tell themselves-- and hopefully those listening-- a story about why a certain film has an edge. The narrative of Argo's Best Picture win was based around Ben Affleck's Best Director snub, with a healthy side serving of Hollywood's own self-regard in rewarding a story about how a fake movie saved lives
If fall means to you the start of school or the return of football you might not have noticed, but for those of us who circle the Oscar ceremony on our calendars months in advance, and have Kate Winslet's Best Actress acceptance speech memorized, Oscar season begins around Labor Day, when the Telluride Film Festival kicks off what will be a very, very busy four months of premieres, interviews, red carpets, and buzz buzz buzz.
A full four weeks after the nominees were announced, the ballots for this year's Academy Awards have finally gone out to voting members-- which means we can finally stop speculating about what might happen and start looking forward to what will. A lot has happened in the meantime, and most of it has been about Ben Affleck winning various awards
With almost a week gone by since the 2013 Oscar nominations were announced, we've had some time to process them-- but more likely, we've been distracted by the glitzy Critics Choice and Golden Globe awards and focused on those instead. Awards season is a chaotic time
Gulp. It's time. Time to actually lay my cards down on the table, stop the hedging and the "some believe" and "in my opinion" and actually make some gosh-darned Oscar predictions. I have to admit from the very top that I know it's dumb to attempt to predict Oscar nominees in any year, and that goes double for this year
In just over a week the Oscar nominations will be announced, beginning what will actually be the most exhausting period of the season; with all the nominees known but six excruciating weeks left to wait until the ceremony, what exactly are we supposed to talk about in that time? Luckily for now, there's still a world of possibilities
There's been a ton going on in the world of awards this week, as groups from my own tiny little New York Film Critics Online to the Golden Globes have weighed in on what they consider the best films of the year, whether in the form of actual awards or just nominations. It's enough to drive you crazy, especially if like me you're constantly trying to get a read on the awards race as a whole, figuring out if this or that snub actually means anything
Yesterday I was doing interviews for Zero Dark Thirty as the winners of the New York Film Critics Circle were being announced, and everyone was watching closely. Sony publicists and journalists like myself were obviously able to refresh our phones constantly, but even the talent knew exactly the score
It's exciting when even one movie manages to change the conversation, but it's downright thrilling when two do it. That's what happened just after the Thanksgiving holiday ended, as both Les Miserables and Zero Dark Thirty premiered for critics in New York and Los Angeles, and both earned enough raves to become serious contenders not just for awards
If your Thanksgiving is going anything like mine, you're realizing with a mix of excitement and dread that the movie year is almost over, and there's a lot left to catch up on. Without even digging into movies that are on DVD, there are a ton of films out in theaters right now or on VOD that at least deserve awards consideration
Between Election Day and a nasty fever that suddenly took over my life, I didn't have it in me last Tuesday-- and I got the feeling you guys had other things on your mind as well. Plus, what we're talking about this week is the same thing we would have been talking about last week: Lincoln and Skyfall, and the handful of mysteries still waiting for us down the line
This week there's so, so much going on that has absolutely nothing to do with the Oscar race, and it seems almost crazy to bring it up. There's the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, of course, which I'm witnessing in my own small way here in Brooklyn (though with power and running water and no damage to my friends or home, I'm exceptionally lucky)
Superhero movies remain the spot where the "box office success + critical raves = Oscars" formula falls apart. The Academy is still feeling some of the backlash from their snub of The Dark Knight in 2008, which many believe led them to open up the Best Picture category to 10 nominees (now a sliding scale of 5-10, depending on how many votes they get) and probably helped Inception get a nod two years later
I was genuinely surprised on Saturday when I caught the new James Bond film Skyfall and saw what I honestly believe could be an Oscar nominee. No Bond movie has has ever been nominated for Best Picture, and I'm not naive enough to assume that Skyfall can be the one to break the trend. But I think they should at least try
This week marks the wide release of one of the very big Best Picture contenders, Ben Affleck's Argo, but through sheer chance I've managed to catch up with four major Oscar movies in the last week. Argo is among them, so we'll start there, but there's plenty else to go over, even if the rest of these movies won't emerge in theaters for a few weeks yet. Exciting times to be a moviegoer!
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