Change of plans... In the original article, I had intended to look at eight films in three installments. That didn't happen. Due to the ridiculous busy scheduling of this new idea... college... I was only able to complete a few overviews of the Oscar films to look out for. Very sorry, but if you want to do Week One orientation for me, go right ahead. Then come back and talk to me. Anyway, let's get started on what we've got.
Note: Viewer Discretion Advised on the viewing of the trailers.
Directed by Danny Boyle
Starring James Franco
Why It’ll Win: Award show charisma. A combo of Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) and up-and-coming, superstar James Franco should rake in the Oscar recognition. The story follows the moments of Aron Ralston’s life when he was trapped by a fallen boulder. The next five days of Ralston’s isolation lead him to look closer at his life. He eventually has to choose between his life, or losing a piece of him. Literally. Psychological, brooding character studies are usually go-to Oscar films to look for, and that is exactly what Boyle’s film, 127 Hours, depicts.
Why It’ll Fizzle: Early reports have it as a “very British film” and cliches galore (“happiness is better when it’s shared," hedonism is bad, etc.) could hinder its Oscar mojo. And it’s not like outdoorsy-type films do well at award shows, such as Into the Wild. However, 127 Hours seems like a pretty solid contender.
Release Date: November 5, 2010
Directed by Anton Corbijn
Starring George Clooney
Why It’ll Win: Another brooding, dark character study. And George Clooney. Seriously, the guy keeps on getting better and better with each film. The American, which has more of a European flair to it..., may not be the action film so many had hoped (to quote myself: “Guys! It’s George Clooney with guns!”), but it still packs a punch. Maybe not in the way popcorn chomping movie goers like to see, but The American is another solid Oscar contender. It is also beautifully shot by Dutch photographer, Anton Corbijn, who instead of being the “principle photographer,” stepped behind a video camera.
Why It’ll Fizzle: The misleading promotion of “action, ACTION!, ACTION!!” may lead critics and award show snobs to turn up their noses. It is also reviewed as being rather boring, even for those not expecting it to be full of “George Clooney and guns.” Still, I think once people realize that The American was meant to be more of 1) and character study and 2) a gorgeously shot movie and 3) an ART FILM (Not an action flick), The American will start to get better press come award season.
Release Date: September 1, 2010
Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Starring Javier Bardem
Why It’ll Win: Dark. Depressing. Coupled with heartfelt acting and more beautiful filmmaking make Biutiful a film to be reckoned with (and one you probably never have heard of...). Not to mention it was nominated at the Oscar preview 2010 Cannes Film Festival for Palme d’Or, aka the best film ever (it would lose to Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, a random film from Thailand). Javier Bardem’s performance is also garnering a lot of award show attention with his (albeit shared) win of the Best Actor at Cannes.
Why It’ll Fizzle: Since I really don’t know much about this film, I can’t really say why it won’t do well come award show season. I doubt this fact (not mainstream) will hinder it’s award show steam.
Release Date: December 31, 2010
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis
Why It’ll Win: Psychological thriller with director Aronofsky. Aronofsky projects usually go incredibly critically acclaimed, yet fall short on the Best Picture award during the Oscars. One example, The Wrestler, despite high marks, fell short of the award, but was the career revival Mickey Rourke was waiting for (he would go on to be nominated for Best Actor, but fall short). However, Black Swan could be a totally different beast. The film looks like a gritty, dark, mysterious film about... ballet? Yes. Ballet. Black Swan looks at the life of a protege, seasoned ballerina, played by Portman, and her descent to possible madness when she comes head-to-head with another protege ballerina, played by Kunis. Tension, raw emotion, and psychological madness could play as big themes in Black Swan. These types of films are usually shoe-ins for Oscar nominations during award season.
Why It’ll Fizzle: Like I said, Aronofsky’s films don’t seem to rake in the awards, despite critical acclaim. More examples (not including The Wrestler): Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, and maybe Pi. Also, the acting mojo should be suspect. Portman could be either great or...not so great. Kunis can also be rather good or not so good. Either way, this should be a film to be reckoned with during the award show season.
Release Date: December 1, 2010