Though the box office hasn’t been stellar, the late birth of Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street may have given it more energy than some of the other limited release Oscar contenders. At least it seems that way going by the DGA announcements.
In limited release over the last couple weeks have been films like Alexander Payne‘s Nebraska, Peter Berg‘s Lone Survivor, Joel and Ethan Coen‘s Inside Llewyn Davis and Spike Jonze‘s Her, and — no surprise — none were nominated for the DGA. What has Scorsese got that they don’t have? Perhaps it’s a wide release, perhaps it’s years of being one of the greatest directors in cinema, who’s to say? But though the Academy has gone for most of these other directors before (save Berg), it could be that their films just aren’t buzzworthy.
The film the DGA snubs hurts most is Nebraska. Though Bruce Dern is definitely a contender and likely to be nominated for an Oscar, it’s going to be hard for him to compete against Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Hanks, Robert Redford and Leonardo DiCaprio if he is the main nomination (though we wouldn’t bet against June Squibb). Looking at that competition, it looks more like a wrestle between Ejiofor and McConaughey. But that also suggests that Oscar Isaac and Joaquin Phoenix are out of the conversation.But every more problematic for Nebraska is that without the Best Picture/7 Nominations/etc. type buzz, it’s going to find a hard time getting over $20 Million domestic. Limited releases can hurt a picture if they dont pick up traction.
The Coen Brothers are their own animals and have a solid fanbase, so Llewyn might pick up a bit before it’s all said and done, but it’s odd that the academy is ignoring this one. Perhaps the material left them cold, but after nominating A Serious Man it seemed like this had a shot.
And if the Oscars follow the DGA Blueprint then Alfonso Cuaron‘s Gravity, Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips, Steve McQueen‘s 12 Years a Slave, David O. Russell‘s American Hustle and Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street are the clear front-runners for nominations. What could surprise at this point? There’s still room for the PGA noms Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Nebraska, and Saving Mr. Banks, while the SAG nominations add August: Osage County and Lee Daniels’ The Butler into the mix. There may be other nominations for actors and technical awards, but those twelve are the likeliest nominees for best picture. It’s possible SAG (actually it’s pretty likely) didn’t see Wolf before deadline, and it’s possible that temperatures could change in regards to certain films.
But in terms of the DGA, it’s hard to think they’ll be the sort of spoilers there were last year. Greengrass could fall out, but it doesn’t seem like the Coens are gaining momentum from outside support. Maybe Woody Allen, maybe — if they’re lucky — Alexander Payne could sneak in. That’s being hopeful though. This doesn’t seem like a tumultuous year, though heavy campaigning hasn’t started yet.
And right now it looks like a race between 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle. my gut says 12 Years then. But it’s not over til it’s over.
Which film do you want to win best picture?