Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jun. 12-14, 2015

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

Jurassic World

Bigger doesn’t always mean better. Standing on the shoulders of the original, Jurassic World has a very high bar to live up to, something both the second and third films struggled to do.

Steven Spielberg’s superb original set a high bar in 1993 for visual effects. Marking one of the strongest advances in CGI technology, Jurassic Park handily captured Oscars for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound and Best Sound Effects Editing. These three categories were often handed out in tandem, a prospect far less common today than twenty years ago.

The second film managed to snag a single nomination for Best Visual Effects, but was considered such a disappointment that even if it had been highly celebrated, it couldn’t have overcome that year’s superb advancement of technology, Titanic. In 2000, the third film, Jurassic Park III just didn’t have the cachet it once did and failed to even come close to a nomination.

For this fourth film, enough time has passed that the disappointments of the two prior films might be enough to allow the film to earn nominations in several tech categories. Unfortunately, nothing in the film is new or inventive enough to warrant an Oscar, so even if it is nominated, it will be considered old hat and promptly ignored.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Sundance favorite Me and Earl and the Dying Girl enters the competition as one of the few early festival hits to perform well with critics. Other films that typically ride a wave out of Sundance have struggled to find a footing at the Oscars and even the ones that have solid support from audiences and critics can still fail to materialize much attention from Oscar.

Looking at cancer from a younger perspective, the film blends comic moments and heartfelt drama to great effect, which might be enough to earn it some consideration for a screenwriting nomination. However, after last year’s The Fault in Our Stars also dealt with juvenile health issues, getting audience into the theater to give the film a chance may be what ultimately hurts it with the Academy.

The general public has been giving it solid notices, which means it could have long legs at the specialty box office, which could bolster its chances. However, there are plenty of dramas and comedies due out later this year that mine sappy territory for better known director, which could give them a leg up and make it easier to forget Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. I suspect that it will ultimately fail to garner enough support with Oscar voters to get anything in the way of nominations.

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