Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Oscar Watch

Welcome to a newly-restarted 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. Additionally, to make up for lost time, I’ll also be taking a look at the films released earlier in the year, two months at a time. Chime in with your thoughts on the Oscar chances for these films in the comments section. Also, if I’ve missed any films from the previous months, please say so!

Note: this was not a good week for Oscar contenders, but fortunately June and July were very fruitful months.

Films released October 22, 2010

Paranormal Activity 2
If both “The Blair Witch Project” and the first installment of this horror-fest couldn’t must any major awards attention, I wouldn’t count on much for this flick.

Films released June & July 2010

Ondine (June 4)
It’s worth noting that this underseen gem is directed by Oscar-nominated director Neil Jordan, recognized way back in 1992 for “The Crying Game.” Unfortunately, this film didn’t make nearly enough of a splash (a pun for those who have seen the film) and likely won’t be remembered come Oscar time.

Winter’s Bone (June 11)
Technically, this was our first official bona-fide contender for Best Picture. With an expanded field of ten nominees, this bleak drama should be able to stage a comeback during the season in which its events take place, and I imagine that the film could place in Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actress for young Jennifer Lawrence. None of them are guarantees, and director Debra Granik should have a much tougher time breaking into the Best Director race.

I Am Love (June 18)
Not submitted by Italy as the official entry for Best Foreign Film, this film won’t get nearly as much acclaim as those who have seen it think it deserves. If Tilda Swinton couldn’t get nominated for “Julia,” she won’t be nominated for this and will continue to have earned only one Oscar nod (and win) for her weakest performance. The cinematography, art direction, and score should be shoo-ins, but I’m tempted to sadly predict a shut-out.

The Killer Inside Me (June 18)
The Best Actor race isn’t too crowded, so 2007 supporting nominee Casey Affleck could sneak in for his creepy, quiet performance as a madman, but I suspect that this film’s brutal violence should keep viewers from checking off his name.

Toy Story 3 (June 18)
The first two films were shockingly unrewarded, earning a total of only four nominations and one special achievement win. The Animated Feature category might have disqualified this film had “Up” not broken that trend last year, and therefore I’m fairly certain that the most positively-received film of the year (until “The Social Network”) should earn a Best Picture nomination, as well as probable Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Song mentions.

Restrepo (June 25) and Smash His Camera (July 30)
I haven’t seen the former and was very impressed by the latter documentary, and even if I could miraculously see even close to all of the documentary contenders by the end of the year, I wouldn’t have the first clue about which ones would get nominated. I think it’s safe to say that the former film was more widely seen and praised, and therefore I’d put it on the shortlist to make the cut.

Despicable Me (July 9)
I missed this summer’s second-biggest animated film, but many people of all ages saw it, and I think it’s fair to consider it a safe bet to join (and lose to) “Toy Story 3” in the Best Animated Feature category.

The Kids Are All Right (July 9)
Many people think this independent family comedy will do very well at the Oscars, and while I’m not entirely sure, it makes sense that it could. Annette Bening seems primed to finally win an Oscar after losing out twice, in a similar situation to Kate Winslet two years ago for “The Reader.” The difference is that the film was more popular and well-reviewed, and therefore I’d say this film should score Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay nominations to go along with Bening’s nod. Mark Ruffalo could place (a look at the Best Supporting Actor category coming in a couple weeks), but I presume that Julianne Moore is out.

Inception (July 16)
There isn’t a person in this country who hasn’t heard of this film, and while it has its haters, it has its fans too, and a lot of them. This seems like a definitive lock for Best Picture, especially with ten slots now available, and Christopher Nolan fans can get excited about his best shot at a Best Director nomination. Marion Cotillard could earn a Best Supporting Actress nomination, and it’s important to remember that Leonardo DiCaprio got nominated for actioner “Blood Diamond” a few years back, though I would be appalled if he got a nomination for this performance. Otherwise, technical nominations, including Cinematography, Art Direction, Film Editing, Sound, Sound Editing, and probably Visual Effects are all but guaranteed. Best Original Screenplay? Only if voters aren’t still too confused.

Get Low (July 30)
This film didn’t really get too much buzz considering it stars six-time Oscar nominee Robert Duvall in the kind of role that earned Peter O’Toole a nomination a few years ago. The difference is that Duvall has won before (in 1983) and O’Toole hadn’t (and still hasn’t). Duvall is a respected veteran, and therefore if the Best Actor race doesn’t shape up (a closer look coming tomorrow), he could find himself looking at a seventh career nomination. Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek may garner votes, but I think Duvall will be the only thing honored about this film, if he is recognized at all.

Come back next week for a look at new releases from October 29th, as well as films from August & September!


Greg Boyd said...

Looking forward to watching "Winter's Bone". I'll probably get to it tomorrow evening.

"Inception" and "Toy Story 3" should both be locks, and deservedly so. "The Kids Are All Right" probably gets in, and Annette Bening has a great chance to win (although I've heard great things about Portman in "Black Swan"). I just wish Mia Wasikowska's radiant supporting performance had a chance of getting recognized.

Movies with Abe said...

Ah yes, Mia Wasikowska. If you haven't seen season one of "In Treatment," you should definitely put that on your list because that's the first place I saw her, and she was great. Also, I just watched the trailer for "Restless" and I'm considering featuring that as the Tuesday's Top Trailer film for next week.