Category: Oscar Preview

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jun. 16-17, 2017

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

Cars 3

Returning to the world of Cars, 11 years after narrowly losing Best Animated Feature to the now-largely-forgotten Happy Feet, Pixar is hoping to return to the Oscar race with only the second film they’ve made more than one sequel to. The other, Toy Story 3 was an industry darling, handily winning the Best Animated Feature Award, possibly because the first two films came out before the category existed.

The problem is that in 2011, Cars 2 set a precedent that Pixar hasn’t been able to escape since. After that picture, no sequel or prequel to a Pixar feature has scored an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature. Not Cars 2, not Monsters University, not Finding Dory. That kind of history is hard to ignore and may hinder Cars 3‘s chances.

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jun. 9-11, 2017

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

Mummy

Tom Cruise films have an uneven history at the Oscars, or to be more precise, almost none. Apart from his own Oscar nominations, most of his action films have been instantly forgotten by the Academy. The Mummy, upon first glance, looks like precisely the kind of film that could have had an in-road with the Oscars, if it weren’t for two damning problems.

The first is the reviews. Films live and die by reviews, but they have more of an impact on the Oscars than on the box office. Although they have made exceptions, the films of Michael Bay being an example, more often than not, they go for the films that have been well received over those that haven’t, making it difficult for Mummy. The Mummy has been received terribly, becoming one of the year’s worst reviewed films, which creates the first problem.

The other is box office. The bigger the box office, the better the Oscar chances. They love big hits, especially technically proficient big hits. What’s assured now is that Mummy won’t be a big hit. Pulling in an incredibly weak $32 million and coming in a distant second shows the film won’t be able to become the type of hit the Academy loves. The Mummy‘s second problem is this.

Combine the two and its chances at the Oscars have become virtually nil. If it were to overcome both to earn Oscar nominations, the only place it’s likely to appear is Best Visual Effects as Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing are a tougher sell.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jun. 2-4, 2017

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

Wonder Woman

When looking at the DC Extended Universe and the Oscars, it’s instructive to compare to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the MCU now has 15 films in its canon and DCEU only has four, the MCU has yet to win a single Oscar where as the DCEU picked up its first last year for the makeup for Suicide Squad.

Over in the MCU, of the fourteen films that have already competed at the Oscars, the franchise has nine Oscar nominations. The first two came with Iron Man in 2008. Iron Man 2 brought the third in 2010 followed by one in 2012 for The Avengers, one in 2013 for Iron Man 3, one in 2014 for Captain America: The Winter Soldier (the first in the MCU to go to a film not starring Robert Downey Jr.), 2 more in 2014 for Guardians of the Galaxy, and one last year for Doctor Strange. What’s notable is that until Winter Soldier, only films starring Downey were nominated the Oscars, which meant none of the other four films to that point had made Oscar appearances. After that dam broke, the two featuring Downey failed to score, while three of the other four got them. So, the franchise, in fourteen films, had 50% of the films picking up Oscar nominations.

Of the three films released prior to Wonder Woman, only one-third of them have Oscar nominations and that one, Suicide Squad, has the only Oscar win of any “universe” films. So where does this put Wonder Woman? Nowhere really, but it’s instructive to see the hot-and-cold nature of Oscar palates. They are fickle and what works for them for a time, stops working after awhile when they discover better options. That could be a boon to Wonder Woman. Until now, the DCEU has been very dark with somber color palettes, grim action, and lots of angst. Wonder Woman is looking more akin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, brighter, frothier, and lighter. That it’s also set in World War I could help net it some consideration in categories the MCU hasn’t been able to crack.

That said, Captain America: The First Avenger may be the best comparison to Wonder Woman. Both were origin stories set in the past. Captain America took place in World War II while Wonder Woman is set during the Great War thirty years before. That’s about where the comparisons end. Although The First Avenger had solid reviews, they are nothing compared to the glowing notices Wonder Woman has received. Matter of fact, it is one of the best reviewed superhero films ever. That will give it some traction with Oscar voters. That it is the first mainstream superhero film directed by a woman and only the fourth featuring a female superhero in the lead (not to mention the easily best reviewed of those four), recognizing the film could be quite empowering. Although I doubt it will lead to above the line citations, Production Design, Costume Design, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Visual Effects will all easily be in play.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of May 26-28, 2017

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

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Historically Disney’s franchise films have been solid performers at the Oscars. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales should be no exception, but things may be different this time around.

When Pirates of the Caribbean was first released in 2003, it was a novel adventure, a high seas adventure based off a popular attraction at Walt Disney World. No one thought it would succeed, but thanks to a stellar lead performance by Johnny Depp, the film sailed into the record books and took home boatloads of money. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, all in creative categories except one: Depp was nominated for Best Actor. While not entirely a surprise, it was a selection the Academy rarely makes. Although it went home empty-handed, its loss in Best Visual Effects to juggernaut The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King would put the film squarely in the sights of Academy voters in the future.

Four years later, the first sequel, Dead Man’s Chest was also a box office strongman and the film pulled in four Oscar nominations, finally winning Best Visual Effects as recompense for its previous loss. The next year, the second film made tons of money and At World’s End showed up at the Oscars once again. This time, however, the film only managed two nominations, a sure sign of the future.

Another four years went by before the fourth film, On Stranger Tides, pulled in plenty of cash, though its tally was far below any of its predecessors. It also lagged behind at the Oscars, picking up no nominations. We are now 14 years beyond the original film’s release and the box office doesn’t appear to be playing into the film’s hands. While it will be an international hit, U.S. audiences have soured on the series. The $62 million opening is far below the previous three outings. While the film is performing on par with critics as the fourth entry did, the opening suggests the film will underperform and without support from audiences, the film’s chances of scoring with the Academy are virtually nil.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of May 19-21, 2017

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

Alien: Covenant

Science fiction and horror are two genres the Academy is typically averse to. While there are notable exceptions, they seem to be fewer and farther between than they once were. That doesn’t mean recognition is non-existent. One franchise that has been tremendously successful with Oscar voters is the Alien series, with films that have consistently been recognized and occasionally rewarded by the Academy.

When the first film opened in June of 1979, Ridley Scott’s Alien was a big success. Adjusted for inflation, the first film made more than $275 million at the box office. This was a staggering amount for the time, especially for a sci-fi/horror hybride. That box office strength and critical acclaim may have bolstered the film’s Oscar prospects as it secured two Oscar nominations for Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects. It won the latter of these awards.

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of May 12-14, 2017

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

Oscar Preview: Weekend of May 5-7, 2017

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

Guardians of the Galaxy

When the original was released in 2014, it became a major Oscar contender, figuring in several precursor contests. It was thought to be a major player in several categories, including Best Production Design, Best Makeup & Hairstyling, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Visual Effects. In the end, the dominoes weren’t spaced properly and they fell to only two categories: Best Makeup & Hairstyling and Best Visual Effects. Although Visual Effects was always going to be a tough sell, most felt that Makeup & Hairstyling was a done deal. It went home empty-handed.

This time out, the same categories are surely going to be discussed, but considering how little support the Academy has given to the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, I suspect that Makeup & Hairstyling and Visual Effects will again be its only potential nominations. This time around, though, I suspect the failure of the original to win and the recent victory of Suicide Squad in the category suggests that it could be in it to win it. However, considering the MCU’s frequent Oscar failures, I wouldn’t expect too much.

Oscar Preview: Who’ll Be Back? – Part 7

On our message board, the UAADB (Unofficial Academy Award Discussion Board), we have an annual tradition where we look at the year’s Oscar nominees in certain categories and try to decide if the individual will make a return to the Oscars at some point in the near future. There’s also a bonus round for predicting what non-nominated talent who was a major competitor during the given year will soon become an Oscar nominee.

I’m turning that concept into a 7-week feature for Cinema Sight. In addition to the acting and directing categories that our posters typically cite, I’m going to throw in Animated Feature brining the category count to six plus an additional week for the bonus round.

For our final article, it’s the bonus round: major contenders that just missed out that might finally get recognized in the near future. While I had intended on limiting myself to five selections, the end result is ten, four women and six men. I present them in the order I think they have a chance at eventual Oscar recognition. The primary images for each actor is for their most recent performance. The rest of the images in the gallery below are my personal favorites of their performances.

Emily Blunt

Emily Blunt had her screen debut in 2003 in the little-seen drama Warrior Queen at the age of 20. A smattering of TV appearances followed, but it was her supporting turn in The Devil Wears Prada in 2006 that truly put her on the map. Her acclaimed performance could have been an Oscar contender were it not for co-star Meryl Streep hogging the limelight.

Blunt followed that up with a number of high profile and low profile films with a smattering of talk emerging around a few of them, including Dan in Real Life and Sunshine Cleaning; however, her next brush with Oscar attention would arrive in 2009 in the titular role of Young Victoria. She was among handful of contenders that year, but barely missed out. More early buzz that faded followed her work in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Your Sister’s Sister, but her big burst of creativity came in 2014 and 2015 where three films became Oscar contenders of varying stripes, each fading for various reasons. Edge of Tomorrow was too action/sci-fi for Oscar voters, Into the Woods already had Streep going for it, and Sicario was thought to be a sure thing for her, but she once again fell short.

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Apr. 28-30, 2017

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

Oscar Preview: Who’ll Be Back? – Part 6

On our message board, the UAADB (Unofficial Academy Award Discussion Board), we have an annual tradition where we look at the year’s Oscar nominees in certain categories and try to decide if the individual will make a return to the Oscars at some point in the near future. There’s also a bonus round for predicting what non-nominated talent who was a major competitor during the given year will soon become an Oscar nominee.

I’m turning that concept into a 7-week feature for Cinema Sight. In addition to the acting and directing categories that our posters typically cite, I’m going to throw in Animated Feature brining the category count to six plus an additional week for the bonus round.

In our penultimate week, let’s look at Best Director.

Best Director

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Apr. 21-23, 2017

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

Oscar Preview: Who’ll Be Back? – Part 5

On our message board, the UAADB (Unofficial Academy Award Discussion Board), we have an annual tradition where we look at the year’s Oscar nominees in certain categories and try to decide if the individual will make a return to the Oscars at some point in the near future. There’s also a bonus round for predicting what non-nominated talent who was a major competitor during the given year will soon become an Oscar nominee.

I’m turning that concept into a 7-week feature for Cinema Sight. In addition to the acting and directing categories that our posters typically cite, I’m going to throw in Animated Feature brining the category count to six plus an additional week for the bonus round.

For week 5, let’s look at the Best Actress nominees.

Best Actress

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Apr. 14-16, 2017

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

Oscar Preview: Who’ll Be Back? – Part 4

On our message board, the UAADB (Unofficial Academy Award Discussion Board), we have an annual tradition where we look at the year’s Oscar nominees in certain categories and try to decide if the individual will make a return to the Oscars at some point in the near future. There’s also a bonus round for predicting what non-nominated talent who was a major competitor during the given year will soon become an Oscar nominee.

I’m turning that concept into a 7-week feature for Cinema Sight. In addition to the acting and directing categories that our posters typically cite, I’m going to throw in Animated Feature brining the category count to six plus an additional week for the bonus round.

Week four: Time to examine the potential for the Best Supporting Actor nominees.

Best Supporting Actor

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Apr. 7-9, 2017

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

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