Category: Oscar Preview

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Sep. 13-15, 2019

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

Hustlers

On paper, a film like Hustlers typically looks for box office glory, not awards attention. Yet, the film manages to merge the two potentials into one with a stellar festival run that has positioned as a solid player for Oscar’s attention.

The film, starring Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez, was well regarded when it released in Toronto on September 9. It currently sits at 88% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes and 80 on MetaCritic meaning it has broad support from critics. It then went on to a $33 million opening at the box office, assuring it as a box office player as well.

There aren’t a lot of films like Hustlers out there to compare and the closest in recent memory was Widows, which didn’t have the box office success to drive it to awards consideration. That said, there are a lot of films still unseen that could play very well with Academy voters and a crime drama surrounding strippers might not seem like something they would forego more prominent contenders for.

That said, some buzz is building around Jennifer Lopez, who many thought deserved a nomination for Selena, but history is not kind to singers-turned-actors, especially not ones who can count on one hand the number of lauded performances they have given.

Ultimately, I think the film will underperform with critics, which will result in it being ignored come Oscar time, but a strong performance from critics groups in December might bolster its chances.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Sep. 6-8, 2019

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

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jul. 30-Aug. 1, 2019

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

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Aug. 23-25, 2019

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

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Aug. 16-18, 2019

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

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Aug. 9-11, 2019

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

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Aug. 2-4, 2019

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

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jul. 26-28, 2019

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

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film brings his trademark violence and cynicism to Hollywood in this tale about an actor and his stunt double working in Hollywood around the same times as Charlie Manson and his followers violently murdered Sharon Tate.

While the plot has been kept under wraps for the most part, one doesn’t have to know the plot to know that it will be an Oscar player. Tarantino’s eight prior films show that the Academy has a fondness for the filmmaker even if he only had one Oscar contender in the first five.

His first film, Reservoir Dogs as well as his third, fourth, and fifth features (Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, Vol. 1, and Kill Bill, Vol. 2 were Oscar no-shows, his second film, Pulp Fiction, as well as his most recent three, were all Oscar nominees.

Pulp Fiction was one of Harvey Weinstein’s biggest accomplishments, taking his success with films like My Left Foot and The Crying Game and turning them into Oscar gold. Pulp Fiction netted Tarantino his first Best Directing nomination as well as nods in six other categories including Best Picture, taking home the Oscar for Original Screenplay.

His sixth film, Inglourious Basterds was a huge box office success became Tarantino’s biggest Oscar nominee yet, claiming eight total nominations including Best Picture and winning one for Best Supporting Actor Christoph Waltz.

Waltz followed up his Oscar win with another Oscar-winning turn in Tarantino’s next movie, Django Unchained, which only managed five nominations, one of which was Best Picture. It also won Tarantino his second Oscar for Original Screenplay.

Tarantino’s most recent film was The Hateful Eight four years ago. While it was his fourth Oscar nominee, it was his first without a Best Picture citation. The film claimed only three nominations, winning for legendary composer Ennio Morricone.

This positions Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood well for Oscar consideration. Although it isn’t his best reviewed film ever, it isn’t too far behind any of his other better reviewed films. That gives the film plenty of opportunity with Oscar voters. With a solid box office performance and a Hollywood-centric story, the likelihood of multiple nominations, including Best Picture, are quite high.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jul. 19-21, 2019

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

The Lion King

At the time of its release in 1994, The Lion King nabbed four Oscar nominations, three of which were Original Song. It was the second film in Oscar history to earn three nominations in that category (after Beauty and the Beast). It was a box office juggernaut, earning $312 million at the box office and becoming the highest grossing animated film of all-time and, without adjusting for inflation, only two films made before it rank higher on the all-time list. Adjusting for inflation, that film sits at number three on the all-time animated list behind Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and 101 Dalmatians, with a staggering $803 million.

What a difference 25 years can make. The “live-action” remake has already taken in $185 million at the domestic box office. While it’s unlikely to overtake the original in terms of adjusted grosses, it should easily pass its predecessor on the all-time domestic list. On the live-action reimaginings list, it is already number 8 (of 14) and should easily top nearly every other title with Beauty and the Beast the one it will struggle to pass (that film opened to $174 million and accumulated $504, which is a staggering total, but not insurmountable).

What does that means in terms of Oscar? Not a lot. Box office may help with the Academy, but they are notably resistant to Disney’s live-action adaptations, giving them a handful of tech nominations at times, but rarely more. The film is sure to be a nominee for Best Visual Effects, but beyond that it will struggle towards the two sound categories, production design, and possibly original song.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jul. 12-14, 2019

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

The Farewell

Few films can capitalize on early critical acclaim and move into the Oscar space as a frontrunner. Films like Get Out can do it, but personal family dramas can sometimes struggle. Enter The Farewell, a film with festival buzz that has finally released and, as of today sits with an incredibly rare 100% Fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

Starring break out star Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians), the film centers around a family who refuses to tell their grandmother about her terminal diagnosis. Opening at Sundance in January, the film has been steadily buzzed about since, especially in terms of Awkwafina’s chances at an Oscar nomination.

There have been numerous critically acclaimed films that never caught on with Oscar voters. The Farewell could very easily fall into that trap. Yet, critics are clearly head-over-heels for the film, which could give it a boost at the end of the year. While Oscar voters don’t have a long attention span, critics do and if they can push Get Out back into the Oscar conversation after being out of mind for more than six months, then a groundswell of support for The Farewell could boost its chances with the Academy.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jul. 5-7, 2019

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

Spider-Man: Far from Home

For the second full-fledged outing of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man career, Spider-Man: Far from Home comes hot on the heels of the massive Avengers: Endgame, a film that will likely be more on Oscar voters’ minds at the end of the year than this entry.

That said, historically, the Spider-Man films have done slightly better with Oscar voters than the Marvel Cinematic Universe outings. While it used to be said that only films starring Iron Man could score Oscar nominations, Spider-Man starring Tobey Maguire started things off with a bang in 2002. Pulling in two Oscar nominations for Sound and Visual Effects, the series consistently scored with Oscar voters. The second film in 2004 earned three nominations in the previous two films plus Sound Editing and took home the Oscar for Visual Effects.

The third film, however, was a bomb with critics and couldn’t manage more than a BAFTA nomination for Visual Effects in 2007. Replacing Maguire with Andrew Garfield, the second set of Spider-Man films didn’t perform well either at the box office or at the Oscars, both going home without a single nomination. Rebooted in 2017, Homecoming was much better liked, but also couldn’t manage an Oscar nomination. That changed in 2018 when Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, an animated adventure, pulled off a win in Best Animated Feature.

While the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man hasn’t fared much better than the Avengers, the odds are higher in Far from Home‘s favor thanks to massive amounts of visual effects in this version, something not quite seen in other recent incarnations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jun. 28-30, 2019

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

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jun. 21-23, 2019

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

Toy Story 4

There is no question of if Toy Story 4 gets an Oscar nomination, but whether it can break into Best Picture or not and which other categories it might be seen in.

When the first Toy Story was released in 1995, there was no category for Animmated Feature. As such, it didn’t have a guaranteed nomination. However, it still managed to pull off three nominations in Original Screenplay, Original Song, and Original Musical or Comedy Score. Four years later, the first sequel was released. The category still didn’t exist, but this time, it only managed a single nomination for Original Song. To this point in the series’ history, it had won only a special honorary Oscar for the first film and nothing since.

Fast forward 11 years to the third film in the series. By this point, the Best Animated Feature category existed and had already seen nine winners. To no one’s surprise, Toy Story 3 handily won Best Animated Feature and also picked up the award for Original Song. What was notable about this film, however, was not that the series had finally won competitive Oscars, but that it became the third and most recent film to earn a Best Picture nomination (after Beauty and the Beast in 1991 when there were only five nominees and no Best Animated Feature category and Up the year before Toy Story 3). While it wasn’t necessarily a huge achievement, for this series it was huge. It was also nominated for Adapted Screenplay and Sound Editing.

We are now nine years removed from that auspicious third chapter and with strong reviews from critics and a huge opening weekend, the film is sure to be a Best Animated Feature nominee. What has changed since then, however, is that even the most acclaimed Pixar films haven’t managed to crack the Best Picture race. With even the animation branch at the Academy leery of sequels in general with Toy Story 3 one of a small number even nominated, and the only one to date to have won Best Animated Feature, the climb will be difficult. If any film can, it would be this one. While Best Animated Feature itself isn’t even a lock for a win and the Original Song, Original Score, and Adapted Screenplay categories are also in play along with Sound Editing, the film will certainly pick up at least one nomination, but winning might not be in the cards.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jun. 14-16, 2019

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

I had originally thought that Men in Black: International would be a contender for Visual Effects or the sound awards, it’s disastrous box office and drubbing from critics has disabused me of that thought.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jun. 7-9, 2019

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

The Secret Life of Pets 2

When looking at potential Best Animated Feature nominees, one must look at a number of elements before determining if the film is capable of inclusion. Is it a sequel? If so, was the series a prior nominee in the category or would this be its first? What studio produced the film? And most importantly, how do the critics respond?

Let’s start with the easiest question. Is it a sequel? Yes. That’s a mark against the film. Sequels have, on the whole, been roundly ignored by the Academy. Even Pixar and Disney’s sequels have struggled in this category. The next question is whether the prior film was a nominee. The original The Secret Life of Pets was not. That’s another strike against the film. Of the seven total sequels that have been nominated, only two didn’t have a predecessor nominated. One of those, Toy Story 3, is a special exception since both of the prior films came out prior to the category’s existence and almost assuredly would have won had they been nominated as evinced by the fact that the original was awarded an honorary Oscar. The other, Despicable Me 2 didn’t have the prior film nominated, though the reasons there might have more to do with some thinking the original should have been rather than any perception that the second film was of better quality.

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