Oscar Preview: Weekend of May 4-6, 2012

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

The Avengers

Like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 before it, The Avengers is going to get buzz about being a Best Picture nominee later this year. Don’t believe the hype. The Academy simply doesn’t like that style of film. The lone superhero flick that could actually snag a nod this year would be The Dark Knight Rises and that’s only if they don’t mess around with the rules again. The Avengers has a fairly good head on its shoulders and some very positive notices from critics. Pair that with the record-shattering box office debut this weekend and the likely $450 million-plus finish, and you have a film that’s not likely to be forgotten like most of the other individual Avengers titles in recent years.

But can it compete outside of the obvious categories of Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Visual Effects? I doubt it. The film’s musical score isn’t that impressive and the makeup effects are mostly non-existent. Some of the sets are pretty neat, but not exotic enough to be Oscar nominees. No, I think the aforementioned three categories are its best shots for nominations, but a win won’t likely occur. There are too many more prominent films in the works this year and I expect The Avengers might even have some stiff competition for nominations. I think its Sound Mixing and Sound Editing chances are the best because the sound really is outstanding. The Visual Effects are largely impressive, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be nominated. Pencil this one in for three categories, but have your eraser handy just in case.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Opening in limited release against the aforementioned The Avengers was probably the best advice anyone could have given this film. This is the kind of movie that needs a platform release to build buzz and make it a contender for a future wide opening. And it did quite well at the weekend box office in only a handful of theaters. The critics weren’t as glowing about the film as they could have been, but a current 73% from review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes suggests it’s doing as well with critics as it possibly could. Whether that will be enough to carry it to the Dolby Theater (the new name for the Kodak Theater where the Academy Awards are held each year) in February next year is a bit iffy. Trying to remember a film like this seven months down the road will be difficult.

Stars Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson and Bill Nighy could all be buzzed over for Oscar nominations, but jockeying for specific categories might hurt some. They could easily go supporting each and every one and still have the same chances as splitting into different categories. And considering the Oscar environment of recent years, any of them that go lead will surely be passed over. I’m of the opinion that seven months is too long and the film will be eclipsed by many stronger efforts later in the year and it will go home without a single Oscar nomination. But if the film is still being bandied-about late in the year, then it might just make it after all.

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