We had two films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.
In 1987, Paul Verhoeven brought the tale of a prominent cop, terminally wounded, is grafted into the body of a cyborg and employed as a crime fighter in the dangerous streets of the city of Detroit. That film scored two Oscar nominations for Film Editing and Sound while taking a special achievement award for Sound Effects Editing.
Fast forward 27 years and Verhoeven’s cult hit is remade. While the original film had a lesser known cast (Nancy Allen was probably the most well known of the cast), Sony Pictures has spared no expense putting together the most meta-heavy lineup of actors you could expect from a sci-fi tentpole. Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson have come to define cult entertainment, so their inclusion is clearly designed to goose attendance. Whether it works or not remains to be seen and that success may determine how far the film has in getting towards the Oscars.
While it’s unlikely the picture will earn a film editing nomination this time, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing are both possibilities, as is Visual Effects. There are still ten months of films to come, so there will be plenty of competition. I suspect the film will be ultimately ignored, but a particularly impressive box office performance might change my mind.
Kids for Cash
The documentary follows the explosive true story of a judge who took kick-backs from prisons to incarcerate children for excessive sentences on minor infractions. Parents were infuriated leading to an expose that eventually toppled the jurist. That scandal makes a compelling topic for a documentary feature and that kind of topic can also bring attention to the film, especially from the Oscars.
Before it can succeed at the Oscars, it must brave the gauntlet of critics and audiences. While the public isn’t likely to run right out to see it, how the critics favor or disfavor the film will determine whether it can hang on for eight or nine months and get on the Oscar shortlist. From there, I suspect it would have a strong chance at an Oscar nomination, simply based on the subject matter.