Category: Oscar Preview

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Dec. 8-10, 2017

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

I, Tonya

This dark comedy was a rather strange entry into the year’s Oscar race as it never seemed like the kind of film Oscar voters would take seriously. Yet, its prominence among critics groups might bolster its chances with the Academy.

Detailing in dark comedy the events leading up to the infamous battle between Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding at the Olympic games, this Harding biopic has been incredibly well received, scoring 90% at Rotten Tomatoes with a 8/10 rating and a more conservative 74 from MetaCritic. The film has also been praised by a number of prominent Hollywood folk, which might mean the film will build some measure of support.

While only two elements of the film seem certain to be recognized, Margot Robbie in Best Actress and Allison Janney in Best Supporting Actress, the screenplay category might be within striking distance and if it gets enough support, a Best Picture citation might be in the cards. However, I suspect only Robbie and Janney will ultimately be nominated and neither is likely to win.

Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 3

As the precursor awards continue unabated until Oscar night, I’m going to be providing a weekly update highlighting the films that have won and lost momentum through the precursor awards (and in some cases other outside influences).

A bountiful week of precursors this week with even more to come next week. There were a lot of winners this week, but not a lot of losers thanks to how spread out this year’s winners have been.

But, before we get into this week’s winners and losers, let’s take a look at what’s coming up this week:

Week 4

Tue. 12 – Phoenix Film Critics (Nominations) (Official)
Tue. 12 – Chicago Critics (Awards) (Official)
Tue. 12 – Houston Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Wed. 13 – Screen Actors (Nominations) (Official)
Wed. 13 – Dallas Area Critics (Awards) (Official)
Wed. 13 – Utah Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Thu. 14 – Austin Critics (Nominations) (Official)
Fri. 15 – Vancouver Critics (Nominations) (Official)
Sun. 17 – Kansas City Critics (Awards) (Official)
Sun. 17 – St. Louis Critics (Awards) (Official)
Mon. 18 – Online Critics (Nominations) (Official)
Mon. 18 – Indiana Film Journalists (Awards) (Official)
Mon. 18 – Las Vegas Critics (Awards) (Official)
Mon. 18 – Satellites (Awards) (Official)
Mon. 18 – Seattle Critics (Awards) (Official)
Mon. 18 – Southeastern Critics (Awards) (Official)
Mon. 18 – Vancouver Critics (Awards) (Official)

Big Winners

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Dec. 1-3, 2017

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

The Shape of Water

In 2006, director Guillermo del Toro presented to the world a dark fairy tale called Pan’s Labyrinth. Although he had had success with critics and audience before that, this became the film that fully launched him into the upper echelons of filmmakers. It received six Oscar nominations, winning three of them. He had made Hellboy two years earlier, but two years after Pan’s Labyrinth, he did a sequel called Hellboy II: The Golden Army. This became his second film to score an Oscar nomination.

His subsequent film, made released five years later, was ultimately thought to be an Oscar contender. Pacific Rim had all the makings of a Best Visual Effects nominee and the British Academy did cite it, making it seem like a foregone conclusion. However, the Oscars didn’t jump on it. The film had been a box office hit, but wasn’t exactly igniting the box office. He followed that film up with Crimson Peak, an atmospheric fantasy horror starring Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston. On paper, it seemed like another surefire Oscar contender, at least in the tech categories, but the reviews weren’t great and the box office was anemic. The Academy also ignored it.

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Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 2

As the precursor awards continue unabated until Oscar night, I’m going to be providing a weekly update highlighting the films that have won and lost momentum through the precursor awards (and in some cases other outside influences).

The calm before the storm. While the last couple of weeks have seen a small, but important flurry of activity, we’re about to drown in precursor awards over the next couple of weeks. This coming week alone, there are 17 groups announcing nominations or awards. Prior to those, the last week has seen the three grandparents of the precursor game, the National Board of Review, New York Film Critics Circle, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. They have set the tone for this year’s awards by going both in similar and different directions.

But, before we get into this week’s winners and losers, let’s take a look at what’s coming up this week:

Week 3

Wed. 06 – Broadcast Critics (Nominations) (Official)
Wed. 06 – DC Critics (Nominations) (Official)
Thu. 07 – American Film Institute (Awards) (Official)
Fri. 08 – San Diego Critics (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Fri. 08 – San Francisco Critics (Nominations) (Official)
Fri. 08 – DC Critics (Awards) (Official)
Sat. 09 – Boston Online Critics (Awards) (Official)
Sun. 10 – Chicago Critics (Nominations) (Official)
Sun. 10 – Boston Critics (Awards) (Official)
Sun. 10 – San Francisco Critics (Awards) (Official)
Sun. 10 – Toronto Critics (Awards) (Official)
Mon. 11 – Golden Globes (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Mon. 11 – Seattle Critics (Nominations) (Official)
Mon. 11 – St. Louis Critics (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Mon. 11 – NY Online Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Mon. 11 – Philadelphia Critics (Awards) (Official)
Mon. 11 – San Diego Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)

Big Winners

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Nov. 24-26, 2017

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

Coco

Every animation studio with the exception of one (Studio Ghibli) longs despeartely to replicate the success and passion audiences have for Disney and Pixar. Disney was the only respected game in town for decades until Pixar emerged as Disney faced a decrease in animated quality in the late 1990s. Since then, with few exceptions, Pixar has been a box office and critical hit-maker for nearly twenty years now. While Disney has re-emerged as a dominant force in the genre on its own, its ownership of the Pixar brand has helped build one of the most impressive animation outlets in human history.

Coco marks Pixar’s 13th original motion picture. It continues Pixar’s tradition of tackling narratives and concepts that were seldom approached by traditional animation studios. Looking towards non-fairy tale concepts that often centered around male protagonists, Coco is only their fourth film with a human character at the center. While Coco takes the protagonist into the Land of the Dead, it still deals with the spirits of humans rather than robots, mice, toys, superheroes, dinosaurs, or cars. This also marks the first time in their history that they’ve given a voice to a non-Caucasian protagonist.

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Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 1

We begin our first weekly recap today. Each week, we’ll look back at all the precursors from Monday through the following Sunday. Will the precursors affect the Oscars? That’s what we’re here to determine. We’ll look at the winners and losers along with what’s coming up from Tuesday through Monday.

But, before we get into this week’s winners and losers, let’s take a look at what’s coming up this week:

Week 2

Tuesday, Nov. 28 – Grammy Awards Nominations (Official)
Tuesday, Nov. 28 – National Board of Review Awards (Official)
Thursday, Nov. 30 – New York Critics Awards (Official)
Friday, Dec. 1 – Satellites Nominations (Official)
Sunday, Dec. 3 – Atlanta Critics Awards (Unconfirmed)
Sunday, Dec. 3 – Los Angeles Critics Awards (Official)
Monday, Dec. 4 – Annie Awards Nominations (Official)

Big Winners

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Nov. 17-19, 2017

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

Justice League

Although the DC Extended Universe isn’t particularly old, the first film was released in 2013 (Man of Steel), there have now been five features released. Two of those films, Justice League and Wonder Woman came out just this year, leaving only three films to judge the franchise’s potential for Oscar consideration.

Compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it would be easy to say that this francise is the pariah of the Osars. That could be the case. Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice both failed to earn Oscar nominations. However, Suicide Squad did, becoming the first of this franchise to do so. It was only one nomination, but it won: Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Not even the Marvel Cinematic Universe has managed to win an Oscar.

That doesn’t mean much of anything. Although Wonder Woman was both a financial and critical success, Justice League wasn’t, debuting under $100 million when most observers thought it was score much higher. Critics were unimpressed, as they have been with all of the other DCEU films, except Wonder Woman. If the DCEU is to be nominated this year, Justice League isn’t likely to be the beneficiary unless it can break into the crowded Visual Effects field.

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Nov. 10-12, 2017

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

Murder on the Orient Express

In 1974, Sidney Lumet brought to the big screen one of the best adaptation of an Agatha Christie novel in history. Six Oscar nominations were given to the film and, had they had ten nominees at that time, this film would surely have been among them. The box office hit scored nominations for Best Actor (Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot), Supporting Actress (Ingrid Bergman as Greta), Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, Cinematography, and Costume Design.

43 years later, Kenneth Branagh has attempted to re-adapt the novel with a new cast. While it’s unlikely that any film could ever assemble the star wattage of the Lumet version, Branagh has pulled together a not-unfamiliar cast to bring the story of 15 strangers in a carriage on the Orient Express each a suspect into the murder of a 16th guest. Oscar winners Penelope Cruz and Judi Dench are joined by numerous others, including Oscar nominees Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Branagh himself as the illustrious Poirt. Surely one of these individuals could be poised for Oscar nominations.

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Nov. 3-5, 2017

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

Thor: Ragnarok

When discussing the Oscar potential for any film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s instructive to look back at the history of nominees and what common factors there are. We’ve talked many times about this in the past, so we only need to hit on a quick overview before delving into Thor: Ragnarok‘s chances.

With the MCU, there used to be a rule that went: if Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is a character, then it’s an automatic Oscar nominee. If he doesn’t feature, the film is out of luck. Around the time of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Age of Ultron, that dynamic shifted permanently and the opposite became true. This was also thanks in part of the appearance of the Guardians of the Galaxy. This means that Thor: Ragnarok is showing up at the right time. Without Iron Man in tow, the film has a better chance at a nomination, though with so many other potential contenders this year, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 27-29, 2017

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

Suburbicon

At one time, it was thought that George Clooney would be another actor-turned-director who would become an Oscar legend. His debut feature, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind , was well received, but it was his second director effort that would earn Oscar attention: Good Night, and Good Luck.. Starring David Strathairn as legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow, the black-and-white film was nominated of six Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. The film went home empty-handed, but it was generally thought that this would be the first in a long career of Oscar nominees.

His third film, Laetherheads wasn’t well received, nor was his fourth film, The Ides of March. The latter was, on paper, Oscar catnip, but the end result ended up isolated and alone during Oscar season even after surprisingly showing up National Board of Review top films list. The film did manage to pick up one Oscar nomination, but it was in the Adapted Screenplay category and nowhere else.

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 20-22, 2017

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

BPM (Beats Per Minute)

Once upon a time, there were two countries that utterly dominated the Academy’s Best Foreign Language Film competitions. France and Italy maintain two insurmountable records. Italy is currently the most honored nation in Oscar history, having won 14 prizes. France is the most nominated nation in history with 39. They, along with Japan are the only nations to enter films in every one of the 64 Oscar contests that have been conducted. While Italy’s 31 nominations are a far cry from France’s and unlikely to result in a swap, France is only two awards away from tying Italy for most honored. That number could be down to one if this year’s Oscar race has anything to say about it.

Beats Per Minute or BPM is France’s submission for the Academy Awards this year. Situated around the early-90s when the French ACT UP movement was in full swing, attempting to bring prominence, attention, and help to the gay community being ravaged by the AIDS crisis, the film has achieved critical acclaim. The film currently sits with a 98% Fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes (based on 48 reviews, averaging to 7.5 out of 10). On MetaCritic, it sits at 84. Those are strong numbers. France hasn’t had much to compete with in recent years, but could finally dominate the Oscar race again. It further won four prizes at this past year’s Cannes Film Festival, which will give it plenty to crow about going into the year-end races.

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 13-15, 2017

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

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 6-8, 2017

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

Blade Runner 2049

In 1982, following the success of his classic 1979 sci-fi horror film Alien, director Ridley Scott became the first director to dip into the well of Philip K. Dick novels to adapt his short story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep into a feature-length film called Blade Runner. While the film didn’t receive huge support upon release, it has since been elevated into the canon of great science fiction films. It was also the recipient of two Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration and Best Visual Effects.

35 years later, current wunderkind Denis Villeneuve has brought to the screen a sequel to that Scott legend. Pulling in the original star, Harrison Ford, Villeneuve brings in Ryan Gosling as a young Blade Runner rushing to uncover a dastardly secret. With a superb MetaCritic score of 81 and an 89% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes (8.2/10 average rating) along with an audience rating of A- from CinemaScore, the film is certifiably a critical success. The only problem is, the box office didn’t respond accordingly. Pulling in a surprisingly light $31 million. That might not be too much of a hindrance as it could still have tremendous legs as word of mouth spreads. Audiences have given the film an 8.7 rating on IMDb, catapulting it into the list Top 100 best-rated films of all-time.

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Sep. 29-Oct 1, 2017

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

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Sep. 22-24, 2017

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

Battle of the Sexes

The story of the legendary tennis match between loutish Bobby Riggs (here played by Steve Carell) and superstar Billie Jean King (Emma Stone), has been translated to the big screen by the directing team behind Little Miss Sunshine, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Having played the Toronto and Telluride film festivals, the film has been seen and the reviews are strong with an 86% at Rotten Tomatoes (7.1/10 average rating) and a 73 at MetaCritic.

The film now must face audiences where its subpar opening weekend threatens to keep the film from bridging the gap between critical acclaim and box office success, both factors in determining whether Oscar will take notice. For the most part, there are a few factors that could help net the film sufficient attention even in the face of disappointing box office. Apart from the critical support, Stone is coming off her Oscar win for La La Land. Nominated previously, Stone seems like the kind of actor who will continue to earn the respect of the Academy for years to come.

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