Movies are made to be seen. That much is obvious. Sometimes, though, directors and actors have to wait an excruciatingly long time to show their movie to a willing audience – when can be incredibly painful when you know the movie you are sitting on is great.
John Crowley’s immigrant song, Brooklyn, played to raves at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Fox Searchlight bought the beautiful love story for $9 million, and started prepping it for a prestigious Awards run. Then? Nothing. Radio silence. So when I sat down with Brooklyn star Saoirse Ronan ahead of the film’s screening at the Savannah Film Festival, I asked her how hard it is to sit on a movie when a festival audience has let you know that it’s good. She told me:
My hunch is that Ronan will continue to talk about Brooklyn for the foreseeable future. Crowley has crafted a tender, bittersweet but universal story of change and adaptation, of living and loving. And Saoirse Ronan leads a heartwarming cast in a film that I think will touch a number of older Academy members, enough to help the movie contend in the major categories.
Here’s where I think the Oscar contenders sit on October 26:
While I still believe in the Steve Jobs Oscar train – which will pick up and carry everyone from Michael Fassbender to director Danny Boyle – the meager box office results on the film’s "wide" weekend give me slight pause. Universal says it isn’t pushing any sort of panic button, and that Jobs is the type of movie that is built for the long haul – not the smash-and-grab of an opening-weekend headline. I agree… and yet, still. Pause. But Boyle’s on this chart, and I’m not moving him any time soon.
Last season, Best Actor was a ridiculously competitive category, with just as many worthy candidates left on the outside of the category looking in as there was five eventual nominees. This year looks equally impressive, though there are a number of films yet to drop. Is this the year that Leonardo DiCaprio finally wins? Or could Matt Damon’s The Martian performance prove to be the spoiler?
There have been a few interesting developments in the Best Actress race, which we’ll continue to track. Cate Blanchett may end up competing against herself (we call that "Pulling a Soderbergh") if her performances in Carol and Truth continue to get recognition. And buzz has reached a deafening level for Brie Larson in Room, allowing me to move her into the Frontrunner category. (We gave the movie a perfect 5-star grade.) As for the rest of the category? Take a look.
More audience members will start to see Spotlight in the coming weeks, as Tom McCarthy’s gripping and airtight journalism drama opens in an increased number of theaters. Hopefully, from there, you all can help me figure out which of the male performers gives the better performance. I was blown away by the quiet fortitude Liev Schreiber brings to his role as the Boston Globe’s new publisher. But he’s equaled by Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery… really, everyone is awesome. So, who makes the cut? We’ll see, in the next few weeks.
Right now, this is the only category with an actual lock for a nomination. Once Alicia Vikander announced she’d run in Supporting, the category became hers for her stirring turn as a supportive (but confused) wife in Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl. But who will compete against her? The field is snapping into place, and here are my best guesses.
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