Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What "Cannes" We Tell So Far?

     So where are we in terms of the new Oscar Season?  Well...summer tent pole season is well under way with Iron Man and Star Trek sequels already tearing up the vacation box office.  Release dates have been announced for MOST of the big Awards players so we have a pretty good idea which films are on the long list of competitors for 2013, although it is still a mystery as to which ones will deliver.  Sundance and Cannes film festivals have come and gone, some early contenders have opened, and we now have SOME idea how a FEW of this year's big films will be received:

  42 - With a metacritic score of only 62 this film seems unlikely to break in to the Awards Season. I had at one point thought that it might garner Acting buzz for Chadwick Boseman in Lead and un-Oscared vet Harrison Ford in supporting, but neither seems like a possibility now.

  The Act of Killing - After winning two prizes in Berlin, this documentary (currently holding a 92 on Meta Critic) holds an excellent chance at being in the running, but the Documentary category is famously unpredictable.

  Ain't Them Bodies Saints - This film did really well at Sundance and Palm Springs but is the sort of little drama that is often forgotten by year's end. However, with the Weinstein Company behind it, expect it to be a contender at the least in Actress, Screenplay and maybe Cinematography or Supporting Actor.  Picture seems a little beyond its reach at the moment, but stranger things have happened.

  All Is Lost - This film played so well at Cannes that many wondered why writer/director J.C. Chandor's sophomore effort (following debut Margin Call) didn't play in competition.  A Best Picture nod seems within the realm of possibility (maybe even Director), but screenplay seems more likely and Best Actor for vet Robert Redford (who turns in a nearly wordless one man show and hasn't been nominated in about four decades) seems highly probable.

  Before Midnight - The conclusion to one of the most critically acclaimed trilogies of all time, it is also the first of the series to be released in a year with more than five possible Best Picture slots.  It is also shaping up to be the best received among director Richard Linklater's extended masterpiece, currently holding a 97(!!!!) Meta-score.  Nods for Screenplay and Actress (Julie Delpy) seem likely.  Could also compete in Actor (Ethan Hawke)...Director...?

  The Bling Ring - Sofia Coppola's follow-up to Somewhere was well received at Cannes, but probably a no-show for the Oscars.

  Blood Brother - Another doc that knocked it out of the park at Sundance this year, this could also easily find a nomination.

   Blue Is the Warmest Color - I seriously doubt that this year's Palme D'or winner from Cannes can break out of the Foreign Language ghetto the way that Amour did last year, but if selected for submission it could be a force in that category.

  The Congress - Probably a little weird for consideration unless they manage to qualify it for Animated Feature in which case it could make a mark in a year where Pixar seems vulnerable.

  The East - With a mere 70 Metascore, it appears unlikely that this picture can garner even the Best Screenplay nod I had hoped might lie in store for Ms. Marling.

  Epic - This could easily compete in Animated.

  Fruitvale Station - This picture has been only slightly less revered at Sundance at Cannes this year than Best Picture nominee Beasts of the Southern Wild was in 2012.  Beasts didn't have Harvey Weinstein pushing it.  I think Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor (Jordan) and Supporting Actress (Spencer) are all real possibilities.

  Great Gatsby - Probably a no-go for above the line nominations, although Leo's good press could help with a "Wolf" bid down the line.  Still a strong possibility for Costume Design and/or Production Design with an outside shot at Cinematography.  Original Song also seems like a good possibility.

  The Hunt - If it is submitted for Foreign Language Film, I wouldn't bet against a Vinterburg directed Mads Mickelson vehicle with great reviews.

  The Immigrant - James Gray's meticulous period piece may be too divisive to break into the Picture race, but actress Marion Cotillard should at least stay in the discussion for a while.  Craft recognition is also a possibility.

  Inside Llewyn Davis - Supposedly another little masterpiece from the Coen camp, this film probably has the strongest bid at Picture and Director (much less Original Screenplay) of anything to have premiered thus far.  Oscar Isaac & John Goodman are also receiving generous buzz (along with a bit for Mulligan).  The period setting and musical theme invite a host of below the line considerations.  This could be one of the year's big ones. It's current Meta score is 100.

  Iron Man 3 - This one might get a tech nod or two, it just depends.

  Midnight's Children - Not in the running.

  The Missing Picture - Foreign Language? Documentary? Animated?  A triple genre category threat?

  Mud - Talented young auteur Jeff Nichols' third film has been a break out box office success story.  A 76 on meta critic may not be enough to put it in the Picture race but McConaughey will be in the Best Actor conversation unless he blows this career best performance out of the water in Dallas Buyer's Club.

  Nebraska - Alexander Payne is always a threat but reception to the film seems lukewarm in some circles.  Bruce Dern seems bound for some recognition at any rate, and there has been some talk of Cinematography recognition.  We'll have to see how it is received by the public and critical community at large.  It currently holds a 79 on Metacritic.

  Only God Forgives - We'll be kind and call the critical reception divisive, but Kristen Scott Thomas still has a shot at Supporting Actress and the film could factor into the techs somewhere.

  Oz the Great and Powerful - Lackluster reviews could mean nothing as far as craft considerations go for a production as over the top as this.

  The Past - Asghar Farhadi's follow up to A Separation would be a slam dunk for Foreign Language Film IF Iran participates and/or France chooses to submit it, but that is a lot of if.  Berenice Bejo could break into the Actress race regardless and screenplay is definitely a possibility.  The film stands an outside shot at Picture and/or Director consideration, but Farhadi's popularity is not quite on a Haneke scale...yet.

  A Place Beyond the Pines - Mixed critical reception will probably keep this one out of contention.

  Room 237 - This Kubrick analysis doesn't seem like the Documentary branch's cup of tea, but you never know with reviews that give it an 80 on Meta critic.

  Salinger - Another Documentary contender, this one is backed by the Weinsteins.

  The Sapphires - At one point it looked like the Weinsteins had big plans for this flick, and it was fairly well received, but it doesn't look like it is destined to be an awards player after all.

  Star Trek: Into Darkness - This picture could easily factor into the sound categories, visual effects or make-up. It just depends on the rest of the fields.

  Stories We Tell - Currently holding a 93 metascore, I think it's safe to say that Sarah Polley's latest film is currently the most acclaimed documentary of the year.  It also contains a unique enough premise that it has begun to foster the sort of Best Picture crossover talk that teased us when Exit to the Gift Shop first came around.

  To The Wonder - You should never rule out a Cinematography nod, but I think this is one Malick film that's going to slip slowly under the radar and stay there.

  Trance - Ditto to this largely ignored Danny Boyle creation.

  We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks - This film may only have a 76 Meta score so far, but director Alex Gibney is well respected by the Academy's documentary branch.

  While it may seem from this exhaustive list like the Awards Season is already taking shape, there are even MORE films with strong pedigrees that no one has seen just yet, including:

  American Hustle: David O Russell with Lawrence, Bale, Cooper, Adams & Renner
  August: Osage County: with Streep, Roberts, McGregor, Cumberbatch, Shepard, Lewis & Martindale
  Blue Jasmine: Woody Allen with Blanchett, Baldwin, Sarsgaard, Stuhlbarg, Hawkins & Louis C.K.
  The Butler: Lee Daniels with Whittaker, Winfrey, Cusack, Fonda, Williams, Oyelowo, Redgrave, ETC.
  Captain Phillips: Paul Greengrass with Hanks and Keener.
  The Counselor: Ridley Scott directs a script from Cormac McCarthey with Fassbender & Pitt.
  Dallas Buyer's Club: Jean-Marc Vallee with McConaughey, Garner, Leto & Zahn.
  Diana: seems tailor made for a Watts Best Actress campaign.
  Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Hers: Never count out Jessica Chastain.
  Elysium: Neil Blomkampf's District 9 follow up features Damon, Foster & "District" star Copley.
  The Family: Luc Besson with De Niro, Pfeiffer & Jones.
  Foxcatcher: Bennett Miller with Carrell, Ruffalo, Tatum, Hall, Miller & Redgrave.
  Frozen:  It's Disney.  Do the math.
  Grace of Monaco: Kidman in title role & backed by the Weinsteins
  Gravity: Alphonso Cuaron with Bullock and Clooney in 3-D.
  Her: written/directed by Spike Jonze with Phoenix, Adams, Johannsen, Mara, Wilde & Morten.
  Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: Jackson in Middle Earth means at least a tech contender.
  Kill Your Darlings: John Krokidas with Radcliffe, Cross, Olsen, Hall, DeHaan, Leigh, Foster & Sedgewick
  Labor Day: Jason Reitman with Winslet, Brolin & Maguire.
  Man of Steel: Will be one of the tech kings.  Michael Shannon in Supporting?  He is Zod!
  Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom:  Weinstein pushes Elba for Best Actor.
  Monsters University:  It's Pixar.  Do the math.
  Monuments Men:  written/directed/produced by Clooney with Damon, Goodman, Blanchett, Murray...
  Mood Indigo: Gondry could be a threat in Foreign Film if submitted.
  A Most Wanted Man: Anton Corbjin with Hoffman, Wright, McAdams, Dafoe & Bruhl.
  Nymphomaniac: Lars von Trier will make a lot of top 10 lists, but probably bomb with Oscar.
  Oldboy:  Spike Lee's remake will probably be too pulpy but with Jackson, Brolin, Olsen & Copley.
  Out of the Furnace: Scott Cooper with Bale, Saldana, Harrison, Defoe, Affleck, Whitaker & Shepard.
  Pacific Rim:  Guillermo del Toro and a budget this big could make for a tech powerhouse.
  Philomena:  Harvey Weinstein has picked up this Frears directed Dench vehicle for distribution, so...?
  Planes: It's Pixar...again...
  The Rover: David Michod with Edgerton, Pearce, McNairy & Pattinson.
  Rush: Ron Howard with Hemsworth, Bruhl, Dormer & Wilde.
  Saving Mr. Banks: John Lee Hancock with Thompson, Hanks, Farrell, Giamatti & Schwartzman.
  Serena:  Susanne Bier with Lawrence, Cooper, Ifans & Jones.
  Snowpiercer: Joon-ho Bong with Evans, Swinton, Hurt, Belle & Harris.
  Twelve Years a Slave - Steve McQueen with Ejiofor, Fassbender, Pitt, Cumberbatch, Giamatti...
  Wolf of Wall Street - Martin Scorsese with DiCaprio, Hill, McConaughey, Favreau, Reiner, Chandler...
  World War Z - Marc Forster's Brad Pitt blockbuster's promos look good enough for crafts...
  Young and Prodigious Spivet - Backed by Weinstein from Jean-Pierre Jeunet in English!!!
  The Zero Theorem - Terry Gillem with Damon, Waltz, Whishaw, Swinton, Thewliss & Thierry.

     I have read some pundits putting forth the idea that this year's Best Picture pool is already looking thin, but I think that things are still wide open.  Watch in the next couple of weeks for my first round of  buzz reports and predictions, starting with a brief touch on each of the ten Technical categories.


  Related Articles: Best That the Summer Wields (Beasts of the Southern Wild review), Water and Earth Make "Mud"A Price Beyond This Time (The Place Beyond the Pines review)

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