Category: Oscar Preview

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 12-14, 2018

We had two films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

First Man

With his debut film, Damien Chazelle received critical acclaim. Although Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench wasn’t an Oscar contender, it established him as an up-and-coming director. While it took four years to find his next projects, writing the poorly received films Grand Piano and The Last Exorcism Part II, it was his second film as a director that put him on the map.

Whiplash, based on his 2013 short film of the same name, starred Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons as student and teacher. The film picked up a surprisingly strong five Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Simmons), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. The film pulled in three total awards for Simmons, Film Editing, and Sound Mixing. This was 2014. In 2016 he made another stab at writing with the adept horror thriller 10 Cloverfield Lane, but it was his festival hit La La Land that made the Academy stand up and listen.

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 5-7, 2018

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

A Star Is Born

Oscar history is littered with actors-turned-director who earn Oscar glory. The likes of Robert Reford (1980), Warren Beatty (1981), Kevin Costner (1990), Clint Eastwood (1992, 2004), Mel Gibson (Braveheart), and Ron Howard (2001) all won Oscars. That’s a good sign for Bradley Cooper how headed behind the camera (as well as in front) to direct the fourth incarnation of the classic musical story A Star Is Born.

The first incarnation, in 1937, starred Oscar winners Janet Gaynor and Fredric March as a rising star and her drunken benefactor. The film secured seven Oscar nominations, the most of any of the four films to date, including nominations for Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Directing, Original Story, Screenplay, and Assistant Director. It won for Original Story as well as an honorary Oscar for W. Howard Greene’s color photography. 17 years later, the second attempt at the story found Juvenile Oscar winner Judy Garland and James Mason as the pair. The film brought both actors their first Oscar nominations and the film also picked up nods in Scoring (this was the first musical version), Original Song, Art Direction, and Costume Design for a total of six.

Twenty-two years later, another attempt was made to tackle the subject putting Oscar winner Barbra Streisand and non-nominee Kris Kristofferson in the roles. Kristofferson would later pick up an Oscar nomination for songwriting, but the film was so poorly receive that it managed only four Oscar nominations, all in the creative categories. Though, it did win the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Here we are 43 years on and Cooper has directed another version of the film with himself and Lady Gaga (Original Song Oscar nominee) in the role. Cooper has four Oscar nominations for acting and from the sound of things, he’s going to get his fifth for this film (and sixth as director). Lady Gaga is also being talked up as a Best Actress contender and could be the first major pop star to pick up the citation, with Madonna having lost out on a nomination for Evita back in 1996. She would finally have one up on her idol.

The film has done well with audiences (8.5 on IMDb, A at CinemaScore), had a terrific opening at the box office $41 million), and enjoys superb critics’ reviews (90% on Rotten Tomatoes with 8/10 average score and 88 at MetaCritic). Those factors combine to make this a major Oscar contender. Best Picture, Directing, Actor (Cooper), Actress (Lady Gaga), Adapted Screenplay, Original Song, and Film Editing seem assured. It will probably only win Best Original Song, giving Gaga an Oscar she should have won three years ago.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Sep. 28-30, 2018

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

The Old Man and the Gun

There are few acting legends of the 1960s who can still performing today and fewer still who would command Oscar attention the way Robert Redford does or has. Redford is something of an idol in Hollywood and now that he’s announced that The Old Man and the Gun will be his final film as an actor, its Oscar potential skyrockets, but will it be enough?

While Redford is well known for his work in front of the camera, he’s only ever been nominated for one acting honor: Best Actor for The Sting in 1973. Since then, he’s received three other Oscar nominations: two for directing and one for producing. His first directing citation was in 1980 for Ordinary People, for which he won the Oscar. He was next nominated 14 years later for Quiz Show for Best Directing and Best Picture. While he’s made a handful of films since then, none have been major Oscar players.

Redford received an honorary Oscar in 2001. That’s 17 years since Oscar last paid attention to him, 24 if you count only the competitive arena. This film doesn’t have a lot of other Oscar potential, which does hurt his chances; however, he cannot be considered out of the race, especially with such a lackluster line up so far this year. Will he be nominated? Possibly. If he is, will he win? I doubt it.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Sep. 21-23, 2018

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Sep. 14-16, 2018

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

The Children Act

There are few actresses whose every performance leads to Oscar speculation. Emma Thompson is one of those actresses and her performance in The Children Act has been building buzz since it was first though to be a 2017 contender.

The film tells the story of a British judge forced to decide a case where a hospital wants to force treatment on a young man whose religious beliefs dictate that he refuse treatment. It’s a subject based on numerous cases in the U.S. and the U.K. where individuals would rather die, or more specifically let their children die, to preserve their faith. It’s an emotionally charged subject matter and a film like The Children Act should afford plenty of opportunity for emotion.

That said, Thompson’s performance is the only element of the film that seems to be drawing much attention. Considering what’s seen in the trailer, there may not be a lot of heavy emotion involved in her performance and that restraint might hinder her Oscar chances. Oscar voters love big and bold acting; however, having said that, Thompson is one of those actresses who can transcend the tradition of the Oscars and pull of a nomination. On the third hand, there’s also major competition this year from a number of major actors and that could push Thompson’s mid-September release from many voters’ minds.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Sep. 7-9, 2018

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Aug. 31-Sep. 2, 2018

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Aug. 24-26, 2018

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Aug. 17-19, 2018

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Aug. 10-12, 2018

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

BlacKkKlansman

Director Spike Lee burst onto the Hollywood scene in the 1980s thanks to his acclaimed films She’s Gotta Have It and School Daze, but it was Do the Right Thing that brought him close to Oscar. At least as close as he ever would come outside of the documentary category.

Spike Lee has been making films about the black experience now for over 30 years now and while his acclaim has been up-and-down the entirety of that time, he has never been closer to becoming an Oscar winner than with BlacKkKlansman, a period film that speaks to our times like few other films in recent memory have.

The year that Do the Right Thing was shut out of the Oscars was also the year that the film Driving Miss Daisy won Best Picture under the direction of white filmmaker Bruce Beresford. That film, which formed a connection between the discrimination being faced by Jewish Americans with that faced by black Americans, was frequently cited by Lee as emblematic of the struggles black filmmakers and stories had faced in cinema up to and including that year. It is a similar struggle faced by those same filmmakers and stories today. While 30 years on, things are starting to slowly change within the industry, they aren’t quite there yet.

With critics heavily supporting Lee’s film and a relative dearth of contenders so far this year, it’s possible that BlacKkKlansman‘s zeitgeist moment may lead it to Oscar glory, perhaps as recognition of the imbalance that’s been present in cinema for at least as long as Lee has been making films. While the film has an uphill battle to win Oscars, it is now doubt in line for several nominations, including several in major categories.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Aug. 3-5, 2018

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jul. 27-29, 2018

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jul. 20-22, 2018

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jul. 13-15, 2018

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jul. 6-8, 2018

We had two films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Ant-Man & The Wasp

The Marvel Universe has become more or less unpredictable in terms of Oscars. What used to be a given that a film starring Robert Downey Jr. would earn an Oscar nomination, it appears only films without him do. That may help Ant-Man & The Wasp, but that’s not likely the only reason to consider the film’s Oscar chances.

Although the first film didn’t score an Oscar nomination, it was likely due to the rather traditional Honey, I Shrunk the Kids-type effects. This new film not only uses those effects well, it throws in a few inventive new uses that make for some thrilling action sequences and most importantly the best de-aging visuals ever seen on film with Michael Douglas, Laurence Fishburne, and Michelle Pfeiffer all getting believable reductions in age.

Throw in the creative effects of the Ghost character and you have a recipe for the Visual Effects Branch to take notice of the film. It will have a lot of competition, even from within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the creativity paired with the awe factor may ultimately help the film earn a nomination.

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