Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday Oscar Watch with Abe

Welcome to the latest edition of a seasonal 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. Additionally, to make up for lost time, I’ll also be taking a look at the films released earlier in the year, one month 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!

Films released November 8th, 2013

About Time
This is the third film directed by Richard Curtis, whose last two efforts, “Pirate Radio” and “Love Actually,” didn’t end up scoring any Oscar attention, despite two Golden Globe nominations for the latter. Curtis’ screenplay for “Four Weddings and a Funeral” did earn him an Oscar nomination back in 1994, but I doubt that this fantasy film will be received quite as warmly by Oscar voters.

The Book Thief
Holocaust movies are always worth considering for Oscars, though I suspect that this one will go the route of “Sarah’s Key,” another recent adaptation of a popular book dealing with children surviving during the Holocaust. Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush and nominee Emily Watson are in the cast, which could help, but I think this one is a stretch for Best Adapted Screenplay, and unlikely to show up anywhere else.

Thor: The Dark World
Marvel movies have a complicated relationship with Oscar. Only Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the Avengers all together have been able to permeate the technical categories. The first “Thor” received nominations from visual effects and costume designers guilds, but no Oscar love, and I presume that the second film will follow suit.

Films released August 2013

The Spectacular Now (August 2)
This Sundance hit is an extreme longshot for its two young stars. Miles Teller’s performance as a cocky alcoholic high school student is terrific, and he would need a huge boost to get nominated. The same is true of Shailene Woodley, who netted a Golden Globe nomination but nothing more for her performance in “The Descendants.” They’ll definitely have their supporters, but I don’t think it will be enough to get them recognized.

Elysium (August 9)
This sci-fi drama wasn’t as well-reviewed as director Neill Blomkamp’s first film, “District 9,” but it’s always worthwhile to consider the chances of the follow-up to a breakout hit like that which scored a Best Picture nomination and three other bids. Technical awards are possible, but this one definitely won’t make the top races.

The Butler (August 16)
Lee Daniels hit it big with “Precious” in 2009, and now he’s back with a well-received decades-spanning epic with plenty of Oscar buzz. Forest Whitaker won an Oscar in 2006 for a much showier performance, but he could be back for his subtler turn. Oprah Winfrey is a much better bet, set to earn her second-ever nomination, and her first in 28 years. The film is a possibility for Best Picture and Best Director, and more likely to be honored for its screenplay and a few technical elements.

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