Fall is officially in full swing, and that means that all the major movie studios are celebrating the season by releasing their Oscar-bait projects. These are the pictures that feature less “badass action” and more “sensitive, nuanced performances by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Sean Penn.” So, rather than reviewing all of these films individually, we decided to do what any dedicated movie-goer would do: judge them based on their trailers.
Let’s take a look and decide whether or not these films are likely to bag an Academy Award a few months from now…
Edward Norton in cornrows? Milla Jovovich in a movie that actually looks decent? Robert De Niro taking his work seriously again? We’re intrigued. A couple action nominations aren’t out of the question…
Sure, it was a summer movie, but many dedicated Nolan fans insists that the Academy’s decision not to acknowledge The Dark Knight with a Best Picture nomination is the reason we’ve now moved up to ten nominees. This one is a “maybe” for Best Visual Effects, but in a year where most of the awards-worthy fare has been adapted from other sources, you can bet every penny you have that this one will score a Best Original Screenplay nomination.
6.) The Town
The Godfather. Goodfellas. The Departed. Hollywood loves its gangsters. The presence of Jeremy Renner, who was recently nominated for his role in The Hurt Locker, doesn’t hurt, either. Another nod for him, as well as one for Best Adapted Screenplay, could be in the future for this film. The real question is whether or not Ben Affleck will complete his career turnaround by scoring a Best Director nomination. From the looks of it, though, this one is still too pulpy for that esteemed privilege.
5.) Jack Goes Boating
This drama looks too small for a Best Picture nod, but with Philip Seymour Hoffman acting and directing, it’ll definitely get some sort of consideration from the Academy. We’re thinking a Best Actor nomination (but not a win), and since it’s based on a play, a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination as well.
4.) The Fighter
Mark Wahlberg has come a long way since his Marky Mark days. Who would have ever guessed that he would be nominated for an Academy Award, let alone for a role in a Scorsese film? Unlike his director, he didn’t bring home a trophy for The Departed, but this film is a biopic of a down and out boxer, and that almost guarantees him another nomination. Whether or not he has what it takes to win is yet to be seen.
3.) The Social Network
Could it finally be Fincher’s day? The cast in front of the camera probably won’t have too much of a chance come awards season; Jesse Eisenberg may have a shot at a nomination, but it’s unlikely that the Academy will be comfortable tossing one Justin Timberlake’s way, regardless of whether or not he deserves it. Director David Fincher, on the other hand, has built a reputation as one of the most skilled filmmakers of his generation, and this project, which blends strong drama and social relevance, seems like his best chance so far at bringing home the Best Director trophy. We can almost definitely look forward to hearing Aaron Sorkin deliver a speech for Best Adapted Screenplay, and given the way this film relates to our current cultural climate, Best Picture is surely not out of the question.
2.) 127 Hours
Danny Boyle’s brilliant filmmaking finally paid off with the success of Slumdog Millionaire, which brought home eight Academy Awards. It’s unlikely that 127 Hours will enjoy the same overwhelming reception, but James Franco may finally get the recognition he’s been seeking. As hiker Aron Ralston, who was pinned under a boulder for close to five days, his performance will demand the ability to display a tremendous range of emotions with no one else to act off of. If he pulls it off, he’s a shoe-in for a Best Actor nomination.
This looks like an odd choice for Clint Eastwood, who is known for directing historical pictures and hard-hitting, realistic dramas. Given the fact that it looks like a melodramatic take on all those psychics who promised they could talk to your loved ones from beyond the grave for a reasonable fee of ten thousand dollars, it probably wouldn’t get as much attention without his name attached to it. We’re guessing it will get a Best Director nomination for Eastwood and possibly a Best Actor nomination for Matt Damon, but will win neither.
What are your Oscar predictions this year? Are we right on the money, or way off? Let us know in the comments.