Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oscar Watch, Pt. 1.5

Sorry for all the delays. This thing called "college" is a bit more time consuming than I wanted to priorly consider. 
However, the Oscar Watch posts are back!
This post is an extension of the First Installment
The Second in the series of films to watch for during the Oscar season should arrive in the not-so-distant future. Hopefully...
Let's go!
As always, viewer discretion is advised for watching the trailers.

Blue Valentine

Directed by Derek Cianfrance 
Starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams

Why It’ll Win: Both stars, Gosling and Williams, are well respected in Oscar circles. The film also garnered high praise from the Sundance Film Festival, where it was premiered, and received a nomination for Grand Jury Prize (the best films at Sundance). In other screenings, Blue Valentine has been picking up steam in the critical reception department. Even though it has a very minuscule chance to win, this film should be in Oscar talks come award season.

Why It’ll Fizzle: The film itself isn’t especially spectacular. It moves slowly for some two hours, and lacks “that big moment” that most Oscar winning films possess. Gosling’s and William’s performances are standout but not particularly poignant. Still, they are two wonderful actors who should gather some nominations. All in all, Blue Valentine might be too small and the lack “ambition” to really be a major player in the award season.
Release Date: December 31, 2010

Company Men

Directed by John Wells
Starring Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Tommy Lee Jones, and Chris Cooper

Why It’ll Win: Already being heralded as the Up in the Air of this year. This is a pretty good thing, as I thought Up in the Air should have been appreciated more than it did. Company Men hits pretty close to American hearts too, as the film includes the problems with the US’ economic problems. Poignant performances by the all-star cast should gather critical praise, which should help the film.

Why It’ll Fizzle:’s not like Up in the Air was a strong contender in the award season... Even with a strong cast, other films will overshadow this film. Also, despite solid reviews, “solid” won’t be good enough to be a strong contender. It should still be a fairly appreciated film in critical circles, much as Up in the Air was. However, another Affleck film, The Town, should be one of the films to overshadow Company Men
Release Date: October 22, 2010

Fair Game

Directed by Doug Liman
Starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn

Why It’ll Win: Sean Penn. In recent years, everything Penn has touched has turned to Oscar gold. Even though I’m skeptical about a “real life” thriller, Fair Game also cuts close to home, as the film follows the story of ex-CIA agent, Valerie Plame. Fair Game was also nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes. That’s a big time award for an “action” film (although, it may choose to follow in the Bourne series mold, which has garnered critical reception). 

Why It’ll Fizzle: Well, in the end, it’s an action film. Aka, a film genre that is frowned upon by the Academy Awards since the dawn of time. Even with its Palme d’Or nomination, Fair Game may lack the critical acclaim, and therefor votes, other films are likely to snap up. However, keep an eye out for Penn and Watts, who give it their all in every film they’re in (not to mention, Watts is an Oscar nominee, and Penn is a two-time Oscar winner). 
Release Date: November 5, 2010

The Fighter

Directed by David O. Russell
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and Amy Adams

Why It’ll Win: Super ambitious film with Rocky-esque flair. Star-studded cast with Wahlberg as a washed-up, “stepping stone” boxer Micky Ward, Bale as Ward’s crazed but talented brother and trainer, Dickie, and Adams as Ward’s love interest, Charlene. Director, David O. Russell, has a pretty decent track history, Three Kings being a notable film. With such a strong cast (Wahlberg and Adams were both nominated for an Oscar, and Bale should have one...), The Fighter definitely should be a film to watch for come Oscar season. 

Why It’ll Fizzle: I really have no real qualms about this film. While it won’t really “fizzle,” there is certainly much competition for Oscar spots. However, I feel like this is the film that Bale finally wins an Academy Award (for Best Actor in a Supporting Role). He definitely deserves the award by now. It should also be a big player for Best Picture. So, I really don’t see this film fizzle-ing, but maybe critics will get on its sports cliches, much as how Invictus was driven into the ground. Random side note: I would rather have seen Aronofsky direct this, as he was priorly reported to be doing, but Russell is a more than worthy replacement. 
Release Date: December 10, 2010

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