Friday, September 25, 2009

Oscar Watch: Part 3

As September is coming to a close and the three big film festivals (Toronto, Telluride, and Venice) have all delivered their share, I saw fit that it was time to adjust my first set of predictions for recent events. While we are no where near the end of the year, many films are starting to truly come into their own and take shape into solid Oscar contenders. Here we go.

Firstly, as I'm sad to admit, one of my favorite films of the year thus far, (500) Days of Summer, seems to have slipped out of the Best Picture race after all of the latest fests. It was a longshot to begin with seeing as how it was a summer release and most awards films are saved for fall, even still I think the film has a solid chance when it comes to Best Original Screenplay.

Three films that seem to have picked up steam thanks to their performances at the fests are Up in the Air, Precious, and An Education. Precious, which first premiered back at Sundance, has continued its string of winning awards by taking home the coveted Audience Award at Toronto, which for me solidifies its Best Picture nomination. Up in the Air has been greeted with marvelous enthusiasm at the fests, critics hailing it as a masterpiece, talking up Clooney for Best Actor, Reitman for Best Director, and the film for Best Picture contention. Then there's An Education which continues to impress enough people to pretty much guarantee its slot next to these other two films in the Best Picture category, and Carey Mulligan is still going strong as the frontrunner for Best Actress.

Of course what I love the most about this season are the films that are not unveiled till they reach the festivals, the films that little is known about till seen. This year the big one was the Coen brother's latest A Serious Man. The film has been hailed as quite possibly their greatest work to date, along the lines of Fargo. The film has been a critics favorite at the fests and I wouldn't be surprised to see it continue onward into the Best Picture category.

One film that seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle is Jane Campion's Cannes winner, Bright Star. While critics seem to enjoy this film, and the film's stars Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw are still a threat in the acting categories, the film itself I foresee being forgotten by year's end.

As far as updates go, that is about it. Up is still a strong contender, as well as Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker. While we are all still waiting to see whether or not Where the Wild Things Are, Nine, Amelia, Invictus, and Avatar deliver what we all expect (in particular Wild Things for me).

Taking all of this into account, I've updated my predictions for the 10 Best Picture nominees. I will return as the Oscars get closer to continually update my predictions, but as for now, here they are (in no particular order):

A Serious Man
Up in the Air
Where the Wild Things Are
The Hurt Locker
An Education

Well that does it for this edition of Oscar Watch, till next time.

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