Wednesday, November 4, 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.

This week doesn’t look too promising, but here’s a quick rundown of what came out this week, and why all of it won’t end up with Oscar nominations. Next week definitely has some major contenders, so be here for that next Wednesday!

Michael Jackson’s This Is It
This look at the final months of Michael Jackson’s life has attracted much attention since before its release, and it opened to mostly favorable reviews. It’s an interesting case because it’s not eligible in the Best Documentary race, which has an eligibility period that ends in September, but it is eligible for Best Picture. Tom O’Neil has a post where an Oscar voter declares it a lock and says the reception at an Academy screening was more positive than it was for 2002’s Best Picture winner, “Chicago.” I have a hard time believing that this film can really make it that far, especially considering how “Fahrenheit 9/11” shot for the Best Picture race in 2004 and ended up getting shut out completely. I think this film will have faded into the back of most people’s memories by the time Oscar voting rolls around.

This small film about apartheid didn’t receive a wide release or overwhelmingly positive reviews. Its one chance at a nomination, which almost definitely won’t happen, is lead actress Sophie Okonedo, who is a previous nominee for “Hotel Rwanda” back in 2004. Her inclusion back then came as a bit of a surprise, but her film had stellar reviews and another acting nominee in Don Cheadle. All this film really has is a thumbs-up review from me.

The House of the Devil
Horror movies never get nominated for Oscars, with four notable exceptions: “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Exorcist,” “The Silence of the Lambs,” and “The Sixth Sense” (did I miss anything?). This one doesn’t really compare to any of those, but it’s worth noting that it has received an extremely positive reception, and that it’s being cited as a great throwback to classic 80s horror movies. Did those garner Oscar attention? No. Will this one? No. But it’s still got good buzz going for it.

Two films – “Boondock Saints” and “Napoleon Dynamite” – developed cult followings when they were first released but didn’t end up on Oscar shortlists. Their follow-ups, The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, the sequel to the first film, and Gentlemen Broncos, Jared Hess’ latest attempt at making stupidity funny, have been universally maligned and should consider themselves lucky to escape Razzie attention. Don’t expect much for Labor Day or Waiting for Palladin either, if you’re one of the ten people who’s heard of either of them (and not part of the five who despised both).

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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