While this won't be the last Oscar prediction post here, this fourth installment concludes my list of 12 contending films for the 2012 Oscars. I am quite pleased that most of these films are legitimately Oscar-worthy films. From the unlikely Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. II to the hands-down favorite, Moneyball, many of the films prove and project to be heavy hitters come the Award season.
This fourth post features a dark horse (literally!) full of new Hollywood's rising stars, a soppy, sentimental favorite led by seasoned Oscar veterans, and the necessary indie flick of heavy-hearted source material. While Moneyball is STILL my favorite at this point, these films have a chance to knock Bennett Miller's movie off its perch.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Director: David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network)
Starring: Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer, Robin Wright
Reasons It’s a Contender: While the original, Swedish version came not but a few years ago, the English version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo should be just as critically acclaimed as its predecessor. Boasting a solid cast, led by the emerging star Mara, and an excellent director in Fincher, Dragon Tattoo should be a force to be reckoned with come the award shows circuit. With dark, gritty, in-your-face source material that Oscar people eat up, Dragon Tattoo definitely has a legitimate chance at grabbing some awards.
Reasons It’s a Pretender: Well… It’s not exactly the typical Oscar fare… It may be too dark and drab for even the morbid-loving Oscar voters. It’s been four years since a pretty depressing film won the top prize at the Academy Awards (No Country for Old Men). Being promoted as the “Feel Bad Movie of the Season” isn’t exactly going to help this aspect either… While Fincher is a fantastic director, Oscar voters tend to shy away from his films, as again, they’re not the typical Oscar go-around. Also, the fact that the ridiculously highly acclaimed Swedish version was just out… The whole remake thing is probably going to hurt Dragon Tattoo’s Oscar chances as well.
Release Date: 21 December 2011
Release Date: 21 December 2011
Director: Steven Spielberg (Everything you’ve ever heard of…)
Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch
Reasons It’s a Contender: Touching story? Check. Touching war story? Check. Touching animal story? Check. Strong cast with up-and-comers mixed with veterans? Check. Gorgeous landscape shots? Check. Iconic director? Check. Epic music? Double check. War Horse seems to have all the right ingredients to stir up some Oscar buzz. From Spielberg’s deft directorial touch, mixed with what should be a gorgeously shot film, War Horse is definitely a movie that should be a force to be reckoned with come Award season.
Reasons It’s a Pretender: While Dragon Tattoo is far from a stereotypical Oscar film, War Horse is dripping with Academy Award sentiment that it may end up hurting the film in the long run. Seriously. Look at the trailer. It’s just oozing Oscar goo all over you… With all the schmaltz and majesty, War Horse should be a strong Oscar favorite, but ultimately it falls short because, well, it’s just trying too hard.
Release Date: 28 December 2011
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Director: Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher)
Starring: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller
Reasons It’s a Contender: Obscure, indie films on dark subject matter are usually gobbled up by Oscar audiences (see Winter’s Bone), and We Need to Talk About Kevin is just that. Based on the book with the same title, Kevin follows the perspective of a mother whose son shoots up a school. Yikes. Talk about a character study! While it did not take home the top prize at Cannes (that went to Malick’s Tree of Life), Kevin did receive high praise from the critics. Led by a strong cast, Kevin could get its name tossed around by Award show voters.
Reasons It’s a Pretender: It might be too much of a fairly obscure, indie flick. I see this one more like last year’s Winter Bone, an independent film that gets lauded by critics, gathers some Academy Awards, but ultimately, never really becomes a serious player. I was actually tempted to drop it from my list back in July, and replace it with Stephen Doldry’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. (I should have………..) Regardless, Kevin is still a solid pick for this list, and I stand by my choice. Look for Kevin to be mentioned more from the hoity-toity critics and Oscar snobs, as they say, “What? You haven’t seen Tilda Swinton’s dynamic performance in We Need to Talk About Kevin? Why, you out of it!” When they do, kick them in the shins. Tell them, “This is from Peter.” Side note: people who mention non-mainstream things specifically because their non-mainstream should be kicked in the shins. Side note on the side note: Hipsters do not fall in this category, but wanna-be hipsters do. That is all.
Release Date: TBA in U.S.; 12 May 2011 (Cannes)
Even though the 12 films are covered now, I do plan on elaborating a little bit more on the "Honorable Mention" section of the original post.
Also, expect some early Oscar rankings! Spoiler: Moneyball is probably the #1 on my list... Wow, I love that film too much...
Fish Fingers and Custard