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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jun. 22-24, 2012

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

Brave

Another of Pixar's gems and if Disney can get trifles nominated, there should be no problem giving a slot to Brave. Where the questions come up are categories outside of Animated Feature. Could this be another Best Picture nominee for Disney & Pixar. Possibly. There were some negative reviews floating out there, but that hasn't stopped some rather dreadful films from reaching the Academy shores and even with the negatives, it's still holding a fairly strong review average. Best Picture isn't out, but with so many potential nominees this year, it could be a real uphill climb for Disney.

Pixar can be found in four other categories at the Oscars and I think that at least two of them may be assured. Those two are the music categories, Original Score and Original Song. Patrick Doyle's exciting score will no doubt be high on several voters' lists, using plenty of jaunty Celtic motifs and soaring standards. It may not be as memorable as some of Pixar's past efforts, it could still be a contender for a nomination. Original Song could find one or more songs from the film in contention, but I think the song "Learn Me Right," which plays over the end credits is the most likely nominee, but with five songs in the film, anyone one or even two of them could make their way in. If a second makes it through, I believe it will be the Emma Thompson-sung "Noble Maiden Fair" which has an emotional connection to the film. Sound Editing and Sound Mixing are also possibilities with the former being one of the stronger. Pixar has done quite well in this category over the years, but the film isn't as original in that department as films like The Incredibles or WALL-E, so these are two of the weaker possibilities for the film.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Before the film sank like a rock at the box office, critics seemed fairly positive about the film and a chance at an Original Screenplay nomination was possible. However, opening to such a paltry sum on a reduced number of theaters won't bode well for its longevity. Unless buzz builds and the film sticks around for awhile, you might as well chalk this one up as done.

The Invisible War

It's been eight years since influential documentary filmmaker Kirby Dick has been nominated at the Oscars. Granted, he's only had two efforts released since, they were well respected ones, including the MPAA-exposing This Film Is Not Yet Rated. And before Dick's nomination for Twist of Faith, he won plenty of kudos for his documentary Sick, but that was before the Academy altered its unjust rules to allow more critically applauded films to compete. This documentary is about the frequently covered-up subject of rape in the military, most specifically of female members of the armed forces. Unlikely to avoid conflict, the film should do well with critics at the end of the year, which will make the film a decent test of the more expansive rules set. Will this or Pink Ribbons, Inc. have much of a chance with Oscar voters? Let's hope, but let's wait and see.

To Rome With Love

Woody Allen's follow-up to his Oscar-nominated return-to-form Midnight in Paris was bound to disappoint. He followed up the extremely popular Bullets Over Broadway with the less celebrated Mighty Aphrodite. After the excitement of Match Point came the dull thud of Scoop. Then, the the debatable quality of Vicky Cristina Barcelona, a film which I didn't care much for, was trailed by the mostly forgotten Whatever Works. The poor response from critics suggests Allen isn't likely going to repeat his Midnight in Paris success.

While his shots at Best Picture and Best Director are all but stymied, the writers of the Academy tend to forgive inconsistencies in his work a little more easily and an Original Screenplay nomination could still be in the offing. Acting nominations can never be discounted for an Allen film, but even there, I haven't heard of any real standouts in the film. Maybe next year.

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