Category: Oscar Preview

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Nov. 20-22, 2020

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Sound of Metal

In Darius Marder’s film Sound of Metal, co-written with Abraham Marder based on a story idea by Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance, stars Riz Ahmed as a rock band drummer who has suffered permanent hearing loss and must come to terms with being unable to lead the life he expected to as he battles his own insecurities and failings. Ahmed has been doing solid work in film and on television for the last decade and might just have his best opportunity yet to score an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

2014’s Nightcrawler was the first flirtation Ahmed had with the Academy and although that film got shafted, including Ahmed in Supporting Actor and Jake Gyllenhaal in lead, it was a film that tends to linger in the viewer’s mind, so when his next big opportunity comes up, this film, he could well be in contention. The trailer puts on display a striking use of sound, which could help the film compete for a Best Sound nomination.

Ultimately, this small film would likely have been ignored in any other year, but the pandemic of 2020 gave the picture a much stronger chance at the Oscars than many would have thought. He still has a lot of hurdles to jump before he makes it to the big show, but his chances are the best they’ve been in six years and might even be better than before.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Nov. 13-15, 2020

We had two films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Ammonite

Francis Lee, the director by the acclaimed drama God’s Own Country in 2017, writes and directs this loose adaptation of the life of paleontologist Mary Anning, played by Kate Winslet. The film co-stars Saoirse Ronan as her romantic partner with Fiona Shaw, Gemma Jones, and James McArdle in support.

This lesbian romance has earned solid reviews, even if Rotten Tomatoes, for once, has a lower average rating than does MetaCritic. It’s not the kind of critical performance that brings Best Picture nominations, but while the film itself might have received uneven response, Winslet and Ronan are each getting strong notices for their work.

In a more stacked year, both actors could struggle to gain traction and Winslet probably has the harder time getting into the absolutely packed lead acting race, but Ronan could still pull off a nomination in support. If she does, it will mark her sixth, and first Supporting Actress, citation since 2007, and her second in as many years. Few actors can claim to have earned that many nominations at all, better yet all before the age of 26.

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Nov. 6-8, 2020

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2020

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 23-25, 2020

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 16-18, 2020

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 9-11, 2020

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 2-4, 2020

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

On the Rocks

With wide release after wide release leaving the 2020 marketplace, smaller films like this film from Oscar winner Sofia Coppola have an increased chance of Oscar recognition. On the Rocks reunites Coppola with her Oscar good luck charm Bill Murray, her film stars Murray as a playboy father to a young mother played by Rashida Jones.

This is Coppola’s seventh feature film and while she’s had a few misses, her filmography reads like an indie version of her fathers, a string of well regarded cinematic accomplishments that began with 1999’s The Virgin Suicides. While she hasn’t had as big a hit as her second feature, Lost in Translation, she’s at least been seen at the Oscars since then with her third film, Marie Antoinette, which secured one Oscar nomination, which the film also won, for Best Costume Design.

On the Rocks marks a return to the present and has already been earning solid reviews. Comparisons to Lost in Translation will be numerous as that film also starred Murray. That film was also a huge hit with the Academy, scoring four Oscar nominations. One for Murray and three for Coppola as writer, director, and producer. She won the Original Screenplay Oscar. It was also on the cusp of a nomination for co-star Scarlett Johansson, but Johansson just barely missed the Best Actress category, where Johansson finally earned her first of two Oscar nominations last year for Marriage Story (she was also nominated for Jojo Rabbit, a rare feat for an actress in this day and age).

Could Coppola’s film succeed in the same way Lost in Translation did? The 74 rating at Metacritic suggests that she could, but that’s quite a bit under her Translation score from the same aggregator, 89. The weaker competition might just help this time around.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of September 25-27, 2020

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

The Glorias

Julie Taymor is the kind of visionary director that cinema needs right now, but whose work is perpetually ignored. The Glorias is her sixth film and has a small chance of being recognized in a much smaller field than usual.

Half of her filmic output has been Shakespearean adaptations with Titus (1999), her feature debut, a recipient of one Oscar nominations; The Tempest (2007), her fourth film, and also a one-time Oscar nominee; and her fifth was just a filmed version of her stage adaptation A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2014), making it Oscar-ineligible. The other three films have been a strange bunch with Frida (2002) based on the life of tortured painter Frida Kahlo earning the most nominations of any of her pictures today, picking up six nominations and winning two Oscars for Original Score and Makeup. That was followed by Across the Universe (2007), an original story based on the music of The Beatles. That film also secured one Oscar nomination.

This latest film is about the life of feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem and stars Oscar winners Julianne Moore as the older version and Alicia Vikander as the younger and they are supported by Oscar nominee Bette Midler and Oscar near-miss Janelle Monaé. The film has some small chance in the craft categories with its period costuming, but its best chances lie with its female actor quartet. While I doubt all three will be nominated, Moore has a solid chance, as does Vikander, but it will all depend on whether they are campaigned in lead or support or split.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Sep. 18-20, 2020

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Sep. 11-13, 2020

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Sep. 4-6, 2020

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Tenet

Christopher Nolan rose to fame with his 2000 amnesiac drama Memento. Not only did it bring him the first two Oscar nominations his films would ultimately collect, it gave audiences an indication of what they might be able to expect from him on a small scale. While his follow up Insomnia didn’t do all that well, his subsequent seven films have all been hits. Tenet is Nolan’s eleventh feature film and will surely be his eighth film to score at least one Oscar nomination.

Following, Insomnia, and The Dark Knight Rises were the only films that didn’t score at least one Oscar nomination. Three of them have nabbed eight total nominations, but none have gone higher than that. All totaled, his films have earned 34 Oscar nominations winning 10 total Oscars. He’s got a long way to go to catch up with the likes of Steven Spielberg, but his visual effects-laden films are certain to show up at least there.

This year, I suspect that Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects, and Best Sound may be the only categories in which the film competes. The film’s uninspiring reviews are sure to hinder its performance outside of those.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Aug. 28-30, 2020

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Aug. 21-23, 2020

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Aug. 14-16, 2020

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

The SpongeBob Movie – Sponge on the Run

With so few films in release, we’re left to wonder what the chances are of some titles that might normally have been ignored by the Academy. Like The Simpsons Movie and The Lego Movie, the SpongeBob SquarePants films haven’t been taken very serious likely because they are considered kids movies. Most of what the Academy has recognized since the Best Animated Feature category was created have been adult-friendly films. Further, the origin of the animation is also important. Both the Simpsons film and the SpongeBob movie were big screen adaptations of television programs, with art that has been perfected over years of animation. The Academy tends to love its creations made originally for the screen. That is likely a similar reason for why they ignored The Lego Movie, which originated from numerous video games and direct-to-video animated films.

Not only is television often ignored, but sequels are as well. This falls into the category of a sequel simply because there has been a prior version of SpongeBob on the screen. Just think about films like Finding Dory, Monsters University, and Puss in Boots among others. While the Academy has nominated a handful of sequels, those are exceptions rather than rules. Here, the derivative nature of the film might be the main reason it doesn’t get nominated. If it were the first time the character had appeared on screen, it might have stood a better chance, but with sequelitis and origin source issues, the film’s double negative will not likely turn into a positive.