For Your Commiseration: Ten Oscarbatory Hopefuls That Will Come Up Short
Tis the season where all the studios begin stuffing Channukah stockings with the screeners and For Your Consideration mailers begging and pleading for their little films to be recognized. Many of these films began their journey back as far as Sundance and Cannes, so mostly these are reminders to be kind and rewind when casting nominations.
No greater man than William Goss made the statement that this has been a terrific damn year for films. And really, it kinda has been pretty epic. Major studio tent poles have kind of shat out, but the little indies have really been thoroughly bad-fucking-ass. There have been some solid flicks and some equally solid performances in a shitton of films -- and the buzz is kind of ridiculous. There are a lot of films that are expecting to come in strong in the next two months -- The Fighter, Black Swan, Rabbit Hole -- and probably will. And there are a lot more that are gonna be sorely disappointed.
Seriously. Normally, the best animated film is pretty much a lock for the five or so animated films that were actually released taking things one after another. We've already got Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After, Tangled, How to Train Your Dragon, Despicable Me, Guardians of Ga'Hoole, Alpha and Omega, and Megamind. That's just conventional animation. I'm praying and hoping that Sylvan Chomet's The Illusionist and Idiots and Angels also sneak in. So that's ten. And not just the usual "Well, it's a cartoon so..." animations either. And a few of those are legitimate Best Picture contenders.
Here's a list of my predictions for either solid shutouts or a maybe one or two nominations for one actress or a screenplay for films that seems to be clamoring for our considerations for nomination. And a few of these flicks, in thinner years, might have even come up with a stronger showing. But honest to murgatroid, once the smoke clears come December 31st, they're gonna be jostling like soccer moms on Black Friday for the gold.
Honorable Mentions: Mike Leigh's Another Year. What an apt title. What's bound to be solid performances from both Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen will probably just be overlooked. And Inarritu's Biutiful with Javier Bardem will probably make a run at best Foreign Film at best -- and be lucky to make a splash with stuff like Undertow, Nora's Will and Outside the Law pushing it out.
The Next Three Days
Paul Haggis is about to join the ranks of Taylor Hackford as the Academy begins to totally forget and shun his shameful efforts. And while Three Days will assuredly not be a flop like Hackford's hacky Love Ranch, but Russell Crowe trying to old man his way back into the roles that Gerard Butler has "Gimme Back My Wifed" right out from under him. Elizabeth Banks was a wild choice, and I like that she's getting the same star-recognition that RyRey is finally appreciating, but not this year, love.
Never Let Me Go
I know, everybody was clutching at their pearls and squealing with rapture over Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan in this "touching" "adaptation." But admit it, you've already forget about them. And while they started off the race with a sprint, after all the other monster flicks coming through blow past them, the best they can hope for is maybe one of the ten gluttonous Best Pic spots, possibly a Carey Mulligan nod, and maybe but hopefully not, a Best Adapted Screenplay pitch. Frankly, there are tons of better films out there, and this is probably be the most hopeful of my ten flicks.
For Colored Girls
Tyler Perry, did it feel good watching Lee Daniels get all that glory after you helped bolster Precious? Did they let you watch from the balcony? Even liberal white guilt won't save that hot mess you turned the play into. Hey, before I saw your film, I was already polishing up that little gold buddy for you, because I though you'd kill it. But the best you can hope for is Spike Lee's knowing headshake of solidarity and maybe a few cursory nods for your colored gals -- hopefully Loretta Devine and Thandie Newton. But that's even wishful thinking on my part.
I'm not even sure if this was actually expecting to make it to the podium, or if this is just a last ditch effort to make some money from holiday filmgoers seeking more violent fare than Narnia or Harry Potter 7, Part 1, Section 5, Paragraph 3, Footnote iv. I think the studio just thought if they shouted DEPP AND JOLIE over and over people would just give them an Oscar. It's worked for pretty much anyone who's put them in a film in fall so far. And even if the film is a monster success ala Bourne I don't think anyone's going to seriously consider it for gold.
The Company Men
Remember how most people loved Up In The Air? I liked it -- not best picture liked, but it was all right. Well, since the economy's gotten worse, everyone's banking on the star power of Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones for this feel good flick by a television writer. Again, in a lesser year, I think this would tear everything up. I'm kind of expecting that this might backdoor, just because everything else on the nomination block is probably going to be maudlin and depressing, and we might see a few cursory nods for acting or screenplay, and it might sneak in as a Best Pic nominee.
How Do You Know
Ah, good, those question films that tell older audiences, "Look! A comedy for you!" James L. Brooks is trying to do the unthinkable -- basically take It's Complicated -- old people rom-com -- and turn it youthful, while still retaining that old people style of yuks. It's got Paul Rudd, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, and Jack Nicholson, who just doesn't feel like dying yet. How Do I Know this is going to never see the Oscar podium and at best give someone a chance to make a heartfelt Golden Globes speech? Well, it's complicated, but for comedy this is as good as it gets and nothing gonna give.
Frankie and Alice
Halle Berry plays a schizophrenic. The Oscars love crazy. That's about all you need to know about this flick. But I don't think anyone's seen it or will see it, so if Halle sneaks in there, that's the best they can hope for. And there's been a lot better female performances.
Sofia Coppola! She's still allowed to make films? Good for her. Remember when we all loved her? Neither do I. But she's decided to make a super personal flick starring Stephen Dorff. It looks like a sentimental version of Wes Anderson stripped down of all the usual kitschy glitz. There's some speculation that Dorff might be the next Mickey Rourke with this flick, this will be his chance to shine. I got nothing against Dorff, but not this year, dollface.
I think they gave this a December LA/NY release solely to get a music nomination in for the Oscars. They best just give the Oscar to John Legend now and get it over with. (This statement has nothing to do with John Legend personally tweeting me to thank me for the Waiting for Superman review. Which was still pretty fucking awesome.) They should have seriously just called this flick "Wasn't Crazy Heart A Good Movie? This Might Be Too?" It's got Leighton Meester -- who I mistook for a new Muppet, Gwyneth "Wreckingball" Paltrow, and Garrett "I'm Also In TRON, So I Touched Jeff Bridges" Hedlund. Now, Hedlund's coming into his own, so good on him. And I would love for this to be a pleasant sock-knocking surprise. But you've heard the song, right? Yeah. Not gonna happen.
Oh, you glorious sequin covered fucking trainwreck. I seriously haven't heard so much buzz on a film expected to crash and burn in full-on technicolor spectacular spectacular since Jessie Spano dropped trow on a Vegas stage. This is death by glitz and glam. I'm sure that it's entire FYC campaign is a dare, like Bristol Palin being in the finals on "Dancing With The Stars," when she's neither a dancer or a star. She's certainly a "With The." I expect they'll give this a best song nod like the token one for Nine last year, just to get the added laughs of Sunshine and Cher leaping on stage and belting out their songs live. I've said it before and I'll say it again: this film is going to cause gays to be rounded up in fabulous coastal internment camps by Teabaggers. LOADS OF FUCKING SEQUINS!