Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oscar Watch: Part 2

Today I am going to conclude my latest edition of Oscar Watch with Part 2, taking a look at the Oscar hopefuls that will be released between now and the end of the year. Now seeing as how none of these films have been released yet, and very few of them, if any, have been screened, it's mostly a bunch of guesswork from trailers and word of mouth. Without further ado, Oscar Watch continues.

One of the more anticipated films to come out this entire year is Spike Jonze's interpretation of the classic children's book Where the Wild Things Are. The trailers for this film have been fantastic, making my mouth drop in awe every single time. Not to mention the film has generated some very positive word of mouth. It is slowly climbing up the ranks, and if it delivers like I think it can, I think it's entirely possible for this to be considered for some big-time Oscars, most notably Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Director.

Another film that has been on the radar all year long as an Oscar hopeful is Rob Marshall's adaptation of the stage musical Nine, which was based off Felinni's 8 1/2. The film stars Daniel Day Lewis along the likes of Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, and Fergie (weird, I know). This film is not only a contender for Best Picture, but with DDL involved it could very easily be another shot at Best Actor for this man. Not to mention Judi Dench and her chances.

Another film that has seemed to stay put on the Oscar radar since the start of the year is Amelia, starring Hilary Swank. This film looks to be typical Oscar fare, so I wouldn't be surprised at all to see it wind up in practically every major category and a few of the tech categories as well. Not to mention Hilary Swank for Best Actress.

With the move of Shutter Island from this year's Oscar race, it's going to be interesting to see who fills its spot that it was, for the most part, guaranteed. Perhaps it could be The Lovely Bones. Peter Jackson's latest looks to be a terrific film anchored in genuine human emotion. While it many not be your typical Oscar fare, I seriously believe this will show up very well in the acting categories, especially Stanley Tucci for Supporting Actor.

In terms of animation only two films are coming out later this year that have a serious chance at Oscar contention. The first is Wes Anderson's The Fantastic Mr. Fox. With an all-star voice cast and it being done in claymation, it could easily be a hit with the Academy, but I think that there have already been a slew of other animated films that will eclipse it at year's end. The other film is Disney's The Princess and the Frog. This is Disney's first hand-drawn musical in nearly a decade. For this reason alone it stands a chance when it comes time for the Oscars, but I think the Animation Branch will most likely feel a sense of been there, done that with this film.

Moving on into December we get Avatar. Before seeing this trailer I believed that it was a possible Oscar contender, but after seeing it I think it will be limited solely to the tech categories. This isn't to say that I don't hope this film is good, it's just that it doesn't look to be the type of film the Academy goes for. Another strictly tech film is Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes. This film looks to be a fun re-imagining of the classic detective/adventurer. The film looks to be well made and will possibly show up in the costumes and art direction categories.

While I'm not a big fan of him, Michael Moore has a new film coming out, Capitalism: A Love Story. With this guy's track record it'd be no surprise for him to take Best Documentary, and now with ten nominees, possibly get a Best Picture nod as well (which really ticks me off by the way cause this guy's films annoy me).

The Coen's have a new film coming out titled A Serious Man. This looks to be a return to their films like Fargo, and I think that this could maybe go the same route and strike big with the Academy. As well The Road, a book by Cormac McCarthy has been adapted into a film starring Viggo Mortensen. The film seems to channel the glory days of Hitchcock. This could easily be another Oscar contender.

Then the legendary Terrence Malick surprised all by announcing that his latest film, The Tree of Life, will be released in December, early enough for Oscar contention. Terrence Malick is one of the few directors left from the '70s that still seems to be chugging along other than Spielberg and Scorsese, for this reason alone I think it is entirely possible to see a potential Best Director nod here, and if the film is any good, Best Picture.

Though one of the films getting the most buzz is Jason Reitman's latest, Up in the Air. The film stars George Clooney, and has been getting hailed as Reitman's best work to date. Seeing as how he's already got one Oscar nod, I think it entirely possible for him to getting his second here.

Finally we reach Clint Eastwood's latest, Invictus, a biopic about Nelson Mandella. The film looks to be very different than what is typically expected from Eastwood, whose films are typically fairly dark and opaque. This one looks to be a slight touch brighter. Never count Eastwood out when it comes to director, and Best Picture is a fair possibility as well, but the one that I am most eager to see come to fruition is Morgan Freeman for Best Actor as Mandella. I think this role fits Freeman like a glove and could bring him home another Oscar.

Taking all this into account, this is how I see the Best Picture race shaping up at this current moment, and in no particular order:

Where the Wild Things Are
An Education
(500) Days of Summer
A Serious Man
Up in the Air
The Tree of Life

And that wraps it up for this edition of Oscar Watch. Check back as I will update my predictions later on in the year at about mid-award's season. Till then.

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