The Counselor

This week in Oscar ephemera, we’ve seen 12 Years a Slave do exceptionally well in limited release, we’ll see Blue is the Warmest Color hit American screens, and Ridley Scott‘s latest film The Counselor sneaks into theaters. And we know for sure that there’s a big dog in the race.

Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street will be finished in time to hit theaters by the end of the year. That’s the latest word, though this information remains still gossip according to the LA Times. Expect an official release date shuffle sometime in the week, but if it’s not coming together until the last minute, it could be a sneak attack on award season. Did it come together like a masterpiece? Is it another great film by the master? Could Leonardo DiCaprio challenge Chiwetel Ejiofor‘s perceived front-runner status? We may not know until the week of release if it’s a contender or not. And that could be fun as often the best part of Oscar season is seeing people bet blindly. Is this another Scorsese triumph, or is it an also ran? It’s hard to count the master out, which is why so much of this season is silly.

Blue is the Warmest Color is going to face two things. Steven Spielberg picked it as the best film at Cannes, while recent press has made it cleat that making of the film was brutal for the performers. The subject matter may make it difficult for older viewers (lesbian sexuality may have its fans in the bro-set, but AMPAS tends toward the conservative), so whatever lock it might have had at a nomination or win of anything could be lost. It may all depend on how it does in limited release.

This weekend brings Ridley Scott’s The Counselor, which Fox isn’t selling like an Oscar contender. There’s no denying that Scott has chased Oscar glory, but many of his more recent Oscar-y efforts like American Gangster and Body of Lies were either ignored because they weren’t up to snuff, or got crowded out (Gangster came out in 2007, and couldn’t compete with the slate of greatness that year).

Fox has seemingly given up any hopes of getting awards, though I find it hard to get a read on their campaign. It doesn’t feel flashy, and even with that stellar cast, it feels like Fox is letting it go. Maybe it’s appealing to the right people, but right now it feels like a miss. Maybe it’s neither fish nor fowl, and it’s too dark for awards or not prestigious enough. Fox hasn’t tried to make it a part of the conversation, so maybe it was never intended to be, but right now it feels like a wide release is going to lead to weak numbers and a quick exit from the big screen. Perhaps Fox’s hands are full Oscar-wise with 12 Years. It’s hard to say, but it’s not getting a great push out the door. Perhaps Brad Pitt wants to chase the supporting actor Oscar with his work in Slave.

Oh well, it’s still early in this game as we quickly move into the last two months of releases before a solid two months of campaigning, whining, backstabbing, public attacks on front runners, and all sorts of other fun activities.

Do you have an Oscar favorite yet?