Oscar Preview: Weekend of Feb. 26-28, 2021 & Mar. 5-6, 2021

Due to an error in processing, this article did not post last Monday as it should have. As such, I’m rolling in that weekend’s releases into this week’s article.

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

The Father

Writer/director Florian Zeller has done tremendously well with his English-language debut The Father. The Alzheimer’s drama features Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman as they struggle with the disease. After over a decade of forgotten roles, Hopkins is poised to pick up his second Oscar nomination in as many years, bringing his lifetime total to six. He hasn’t won since his Silence of the Lambs win 30 years ago. Colman is the darling of the moment having emerged in cinema with her Oscar-winning performance in The Favourite and her award-winning run on the television drama The Crown. At 47, she’s emerging as a hot property in Hollywood, which is an incredibly rare feat for a woman over the age of 30.

Both Colman and Hopkins have been showing up in numerous critics nominations with a few Colman having one a single prize and Hopkins having picked up a handful. The film itself has also been a mainstay of the season with several citations for Best Picture, Directing, and Original Screenplay among others. The shocking omission from the PGA nominations today suggest the film might have peaked too early. While Hopkins and Colman both seem certain, Picture and Directing are even less likely now than they were, though Original Screenplay is still a possibility.

Chaos Walking

With nothing in the way of “blockbusters” in the last year, the dearth has resulted in a strange competition for the Oscars this year. For next years Oscars, though, most of the heavy hitters will be in play again, which may be an issue for Chaos Walking. This post-apocaylptic sci-fi film features Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley. She is one of the few women still in existence and he plays an outsider. Apart from the rather thinly drawn characterizations of the trailer, the film’s saving grace is its uniqueness of premise.

Men have evolved to a point where their every thought is shared out-loud. There is no filter. Ridley plays a woman who is attempting to save civilization, but she keeps her thoughts and opinions inside, leading her to encourage Holland to try and internalize them. In spite of sounding like a fairly laudable premise about the toxicity of masculine forthrightness, the film seems like a tepid actioner. That said, the visual effects and sound design in the trailer suggest the film could be a minor contender at the end of the year…that is if anyone even remembers it came out.

Raya and the Last Dragon

With a handful of exceptions, Disney and Pixar are always in the conversation for Animated Feature, which makes this latest Disney Animation effort, Raya and the Last Dragon, a surefire Oscar contender. The points at which either studio fail to live up to expectations is when they release either a critically reviled film (The Good Dinosaur) or they are releasing a sequel/prequel (Monsters, Inc.). Since Raya has done well with critics and the film is an original product, one of the few Disney has made with an Asian lead (Mulan is the other).

So Best Animated Feature is assured, but as with other animated films, a Best Picture breakthrough isn’t likely. It could figure into the Original Screenplay, Original Score, and Original Song categories, but at this juncture, those items seem less likely simply because this film will likely be overshadowed by other Disney/Pixar efforts due out this year.

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