Oscar Preview: Weekend of Sep. 19-21, 2014

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

The Zero Theorem

We don’t often think of the eclectic directors like Terry Gilliam being Oscar magnets, but just because they don’t dominate the top categories doesn’t mean they don’t have Oscar potential in the lower categories.

Gilliam’s warped imagination has helped a surprising number of his films to secure Oscar nominations. five of his eleven features secure Oscar nominations, including an impressive string of four successive films in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. His fourth directorial feature secured his first set of Oscar nominations. Brazil was mentioned in two categories, Best Art Direction and Gilliam’s first and only nomination for Best Original Screenplay. His next film, the critically maligned The Adventures of Baron Munchaussen earned for creative category nominations for Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup and Visual Effects.

His next film, The Fisher King, became his first and only to win an Academy Award. Of the film’s five nominations, Mercedes Ruehl won the only award for her Supporting Actress performance. Robin Williams was nominated in Best Actor and the film was also mentioned in Original Screenplay, Original Score and Art Direction, his third consecutive film nominated in that category. 12 Monkeys was his fourth consecutive feature nominated, earning a career-first nomination for Brad Pitt in Best Supporting Actor and a nomination for Best Costume Design.

Then a dry spell hit, leaving Gilliam’s next three films ignored by Oscar (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Brothers Grimm and Tideland). His last feature film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus revived Oscar’s fascination with him, pulling out nominations for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. These two categories are where Gilliam has his best chance with The Zero Theorem, a sci-fi odyssey starring Christoph Waltz. I suspect the film will fail to make the costuming cut off, but its imaginative design is right up the alley for his most regular appearance in the Production Design category. I’m not sure he’ll get there because there’s a lot of competition, but it could easily be his best chance.


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  1. You inadvertently left out the title of his most “Oscar-successful” film, “The Fisher King.”

    1. This is what happens when I (or Peter) don’t proof what I write.

      1. I think I would’ve caught that one. The Zero Theorem, though, got terrible reviews that I doubt it will end up anywhere near the Oscars.

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