Oscar Preview: Weekend of Sep. 11-13, 2015

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

Time Out of Mind

In 2009, Oren Moverman’s debut feature, The Messenger came out of almost nowhere to earn two Oscar nominations, one for Moverman and co-writer Alessandro Camon and one for Woody Harrelson as Best Supporting Actor. The masterful film put Moverman on the map and gave us hope that a new Oscar player would be in the game.

Unfortunately, his second film, also starring Harrelson, did poorly with critics and never made an approach towards 2011’s Oscar landscape. Now, Moverman is back with a film that explores the heartache, fear and destitution of homelessness through the eyes of a man who has never been Oscar nominated despite being one of the top box office draws in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Richard Gere has been unsuccessfully chasing an Oscar nomination since 1977’s Days of Heaven.

After that, he appeared in countless noteworthy films (many of which were Oscar nominees as well) including American Gigolo (1980), An Officer and Gentleman (1982), The Cotton Club (1984), Pretty Woman (1990) and Sommersby (1993) before his career fell into disrepair. While he had a prominent role in Oscar-nominated feature Primal Fear as a lawyer opposite Supporting Actor nominee Edward Norton, his next major Oscar opportunity came in 2000.

That year, he starred in Robert Altman’s little seen film Dr. T and the Women, which was supposed to bring him back into the Oscar conversation. There was a mild amount of buzz, but it was 2002’s Chicago that should have netted him his first Oscar nomination. Rob Marshall’s Best Picture-nominated feature saw four acting nominations, citing everyone in the cast except Gere who was thought to be a shoo-in, but ultimately missed the boat. Apart from a few starring roles, Gere hasn’t had much luck.

In 2012, Gere came fairly close to an Oscar nomination once again for his role in Arbitrage. A tragic victim of circumstance and misdeeds, Gere’s character perhaps wasn’t sentimental enough and he failed to move toward a long overdue nomination. This year, that same opportunity is his for the taking, but with all the major competition around him, it’s likely he gets forgotten again.

If they film can stick around for other potential Oscar nominations, he might have a better shot. Unfortunately again, Moverman’s third directorial vision is tracking with critics the same way Rampart was with Gere the only individual being cited for consideration. That isn’t much hope to build on, but with a supremely sympathetic character this time out, one that required him to go deep into method, it’s possible the Academy might consider throwing him a bone.

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