Oscar Preview: 85th Oscars – The Year To Date

Now that our recap of the 84th Oscars is finished, we’re going to start looking towards the 85th Oscars. To do that, we need to look back at the last two and a half months to see what, if anything, came out that Oscar might be interested in. For the most part, I left off everything that released that has absolutely no chance and anything documentary wise as the eligibility rules make it almost impossible to know what will be eligible and what will not. As well, foreign language films that have no chance outside of the Foreign Language Film category have been left behind.

Strong Contenders

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

This adaptation has done very well at the box office and has been generally well received. I would say it has a fairly good shot at a Best Animated Feature nomination, though this year’s competition may be fierce.

Possible Contenders

Being Flynn

Before the film opened, I thought it might be a dark horse contender in a number of categories. Now, it seems like its chances have dwindled to a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Robert De Niro and maybe a screenwriting nomination, but releasing so early in the year won’t help people remember it unless it’s first out of the gate in the screener race, which I’m anticipating to be the case.

Casa de Mi Padre

I would say this is much of an Oscar contender, but Best Original Song might not be such a far-fetched possibility. A lot depends on whether the rules for the category change or not.

John Carter

It’s not been a box office superstar and critics are mostly mixed on it, but you cannot deny that the visuals are top notch. Art Direction seems like a fairly strong contender at this point, as is consideration for Best Costume Design. Even Visual Effects is a possibility. The problem is, will the film be punished for being a box office disappointment? It’s entirely possible

The Secret World of Arrietty

Insomuch as Hayao Miyazaki’s production house Studio Ghibli is often cited as a possible contender for nomination. However, without Miyazaki at the director’s seat, the film’s chances are a bit more suspect. Still, it did well enough with critics that it could stick around until the end of the year.

The Woman in Black

Daniel Radcliffe’s post-Potter atmospheric horror film did respectable numbers at the box office and with critics. It’s chances, though, seem anchored in the creative categories, specifically Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

Unlikely Contenders


Stephen Soderbergh’s latest didn’t light the box office on fire and critics seemed mixed-to-positive. Still, the only categories I could see it as a potential nominee: Editing, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing, will be packed with Summer films and end-of-year releases, so I’m afraid Soderbergh will be left out again.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

The first film was a Best Visual Effects category shortlister, which means it could be on the radar again this year, but I don’t see it keeping pace with most of the other releases this year.

Joyful Noise

Before it bombed at the box office, the Dolly Parton penned songs on the soundtrack could have been potential Best Original Song nominees. At this time, I don’t think it holds much hope, but I could be surprised.

Red Tails

Making your feature film debut after years of television work isn’t the best way to succeed, even though a case could be made with a period drama surrounding the Tuskegee Airmen. The problem is that the film was dumped early in the year, made virtually nothing at the box office and was poorly supported by critics, so although I might suggest Art Direction, Costume Design, Sound Mixing or Sound Editing nominations, I think voters will have little trouble forgetting it before the time comes for them to vote.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Lasse Hallstrom began his directing career in small, art house films but ended up shifting into the mainstream with Harvey Weinstein’s help. In such, his films have slowly drifted away from what we would consider normal Oscar fodder. After Dear John, anything could seem like an Oscar contender and having Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor on your team could help. However, the early year release seems like a non-starter, especially with LionsGate and not The Weinstein Company behind it.

The Snowtown Murders

This Australian import had decent reviews coming out of Cannes and Toronto last year, but has shown no signs of going further than that.

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