Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday Oscar Watch with Abe

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at Movies with Abe, Wednesday Oscar Watch with Abe. It’s a bit early to be able to accurately predict the eventual Oscar nominees, but around this time, plenty of likely contenders are being released. I’ll be looking every Wednesday at the awards chances for all of the films released the previous week. Until I begin my official predictions, I’ll be adding and removing contenders as their popularity, buzz, or reviews rise and fall. Chime in with your thoughts on the Oscar chances for these films in the comments section.

An Education
This highly-anticipated film premiered to strong reviews, propelling breakout star Carey Mulligan to frontrunner status in the Best Actress race. She should be considered a lock considering the impressiveness and charming nature of her performance, but there’s one thing that scares me: Sally Hawkins was in a very similar situation last year for “Happy-Go-Lucky” and, despite positive indicators up until the SAG nominees, ended up getting snubbed in the end. For the moment, I’d say that Mulligan will be in, and the film is a likely Best Screenplay contender and possible Best Picture nominee.

The Damned United
This sports drama stars two-time Oscar snubbee Michael Sheen, just itching to get his hands on an Oscar as his showier leads continue to be nominated when he isn’t. Here, he’s most certainly not second fiddle to any screen legend (like Helen Mirren and Frank Langella) and he presumably carries the whole film with his energy and wit. Nonetheless, it’s probably his most comic performance, and if he wasn’t getting in for one of his more dramatic roles, there’s no way this rather obscure British film will catapult him to the head of the pack in the Best Actor race. Perhaps at the Golden Globes?

Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story
If this is eligible in the Best Documentary Field, which it may be, it could place due to Izzard being relatively well-known and his Emmy wins for his "Dressed to Kill" special a few years back. I think Izzard is a bit less than traditional for Oscar voters, and the film as it is looks pretty odd with its style of filmmaking before Izzarrd even steps onscreen. I think it will have to really garner monumentally positive reviews to stand a chance.

In a parallel universe, Tom Hardy’s deranged, terrifying performance as England’s most expensive prisoner might have half a chance at earning an Oscar nomination. In this dimension, however, he’ll barely be a blip on anyone’s radar and may make headlines only if he gets nominated by some tiny awards group or if anyone really, really loves the film.

Independent releases this week like Trucker and Peter and Vandy won’t get much Oscar traction, though the former bears some similarity to last year’s nominated “Frozen River,” though it certainly doesn’t have nearly as positive reviews. Four more films that were never made to be Oscar material: Couples Retreat, Free Style, Good Hair, and St. Trinian’s.

Be sure to come back next Wednesday for a look at this Friday’s theatrical releases and their Oscar chances. And remember to offer your thoughts on the chances for these films in the comments!

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