Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wednesday Oscar Watch

Welcome to a newly-restarted feature here at Movies with Abe, Wednesday Oscar Watch with Abe. At this point, 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, I’ll be recapping any awards-related developments and announcements from the past week. Chime in with your thoughts on the Oscar chances for these films in the comments section.

Films released November 19-26, 2010

The King’s Speech
For a while now, this film has been touted as the top Oscar contender. I don’t disagree – I think that Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter are all set for nominations, as well as director Tom Hooper, writer David Seidler, and the film for Best Picture. Beyond that, the film could earn commendations for Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, and Best Cinematography (in that order of likelihood), probably making it the most-nominated film of the year.

The film is a pretty good lock for Best Animated Feature, where it will go head to head with “Toy Story 3.” It’s also a decent bet for at least one mention for Best Original Song.

This unenthusiastically-reviewed Christina Aguilera musical will likely do well in the Best Song category, where it has a few numbers, and potentially in the technical categories, like Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction. Otherwise, I wouldn’t count on much.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
No Harry Potter film has won an Oscar yet, and the sixth installment surprised last year with a cinematography nod, making it the sixth career nomination for the franchise. With the first, third, and fourth entries, the franchise has popped up in the Best Original Score, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, and Best Visual Effects categories. The seventh film could be a strong contender for the latter three, as well as Best Cinematography.

Love and Other Drugs
It’s possible that this comedy will earn Oscar attention, but I’d imagine it will be relegated to the Golden Globes, where Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway (both past Oscar nominees) should easily be able to earn recognition in their own comedy categories. I’ll have to pass further judgment once I see the film.

Made in Dagenham
It will be interesting to see how this uplifting story of a strike performs at the Oscars. Both Miranda Richardson and Rosamund Pike are semi-strong Best Supporting Actress contenders, and the Best Actress race is probably too crowded at this point to make room for Sally Hawkins (a Golden Globe nomination will help). A Best Supporting Actor nod for Bob Hoskins and a nomination for Best Original Screenplay are longshots as well.

Awards Happenings

The nominees for the Film Independent Spirit Awards were announced yesterday. They’re a precursor both in that nominees can get some needed buzz from a nomination to compete for an Oscar and that they can also serve as a consolation prize. You can see the full list of nominees here, and I’ll just run through some interesting points:

  • For Best Feature, count out indie film Greenberg, but the other four, 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Kids Are All Right, and Winter’s Bone are all good bets to secure an Oscar nod for Best Picture. John Cameron Mitchell takes the fifth director spot for Rabbit Hole, something he probably won’t be repeating at the Oscars.
  • The Best Actress lineup could be strikingly similar at the Oscars. Count out Greta Gerwig and the remaining five could all get nods. Missing from this list, of course, is Lesley Manville of Another Year and Julianne Moore of The Kids Are All Right, both of whom and could steal someone’s (Williams, maybe?) slot.
  • Some typical strange happenings: Get Low for Best First Feature and in the Best Supporting Actor category for Bill Murray, but no nod for Robert Duvall. And Michelle Williams up for Blue Valentine, but not Ryan Gosling.
  • Some nominations I’m excited about: John Hawkes for Winter’s Bone, Aaron Eckhart for Rabbit Hole, John C. Reilly for Cyrus, Allison Janney for Life During Wartime, and Naomi Watts for Mother and Child. Of course the first two are only longshots at best, and the rest don’t stand a chance. Also Kisses for Best Foreign Film and Please Give for the Robert Altman Award for ensemble work make me happy.
  • Puzzled by: the love for Daddy Longlegs and the mention for Lbs. I’m more okay with The Exploding Girl joining them for the John Cassavetes Award.
  • The only category in which I’ve seen all the nominees at this point is Best Screenplay, and it’s a strong one: The Kids Are All Right, Life During Wartime, Please Give, Rabbit Hole and Winter’s Bone.
  • Clearly, I need to see Greenberg. I’ll be seeing both Black Swan and Blue Valentine within the next week.
Since the Satellite Award nominees are slated to be announced today, look out for a possible update tonight with a rundown of those nominees. Otherwise, stay tuned for many more awards happenings over the next few weeks.

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