Oscar Preview: Weekend of Dec. 4-6, 2015

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

Macbeth

Harvey Weinstein picked this Shakespearean adaptation up starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. In spite of strong advance press, the festival circuit wasn’t terribly impressed and the film has largely languished. It’s now getting dumped into the midst of Oscar season whether it has a chance or not.

Weinstein is clearly focusing on Carol, his best shot at Oscar consideration in several years. While he’s tried to campaign for multiple films in the recent past, sticking to a single film seems to work well for him, which hurts Macbeth tremendously.

Fassbender is currently being pushed for Best Actor for Steve Jobs while Cotillard’s competition in Best Actress is so strong that the chances of her getting nominated are grim. Since the reviews indicate it won’t compete in Best Picture or other top categories, its chances remain entirely in the creative categories.

There are only three categories it could conceivably compete in: Best Production Design, Best Costume Design and Best Makeup & Hairstyling. Since the trailers suggest it’s not very makeup-oriented, that’s an easy one to toss out. Costume Design is still possible and may be its best shot. Production Design depends entirely on how many of the period dramas are going to get nominated as there are way more than can be easily contended with. Ultimately, the film is going to have to go home empty-handed.

Youth

Paolo Sorrentino is the well respected Italian director behind films The Great Beauty and Il Divo. This marks Sorrentino’s second foray into English language fare and he’s pulled Oscar winners Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Jane Fonda along for the ride. Also starring Paul Dano, his comedy drama has gotten quite a bit of attention this Oscar season with Caine, Keitel and Fonda all getting some measure of attention for possible Oscar nominations.

With solid, but not spectacular reviews, its potential has been confined to the acting races. While Best Actor is a bit light this year, Caine has received little buzz about a potential ingress into what is already lining up as the main competition. Keitel could sneak in for Best Supporting Actor, but he’s not getting nearly as much chatter as his compatriots.

Fonda is the film’s single best shot at a nomination. She’s had something of a rebirth this year with her acclaimed performance in Grace & Frankie alongside her brief, scene-stealing appearance in this film. Best Supporting Actress is a bit lighter this year than it could be, so she’s gotten plenty of attention. However, there are two actresses being campaigned in support who shouldn’t be there and with them taking up two of the three positions, it’s hard to imagine Fonda being one of the remaining three.

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