Though it's impossible to be surprised when you see footage of Kate Winslet that suggests 'Fine Performance', it delivers a nice little jolt nonetheless.
The movie looks beautiful too but with Chris Menges behind the camera (a three time cinematography Oscar nominee for The Killing Fields, The Mission and Michael Collins) that's also not shocking. Whether or not the movie is merely pretty & well acted or something greater we'll have to wait until mid December to find out.
So, yeah, The Reader is coming. But then again, so is awards season. 2008 is looking like 2002, a frustrating year in which studios just refused to show their hopefuls until the tail end of the year. If you're like the stereotypical Oscar voter, cursed with short term memories, this is probably fine with you and your favorites of any given year probably all bow in December. You're used to it. But if you're the other type of moviegoer, that likes to think about movies for awhile after seeing them and tends to love their favorites even more the more time they spend with them, this release system is torturous.
The Brave and The Early
The following films have to hold or grow their Oscar buzz in order to fight off the late year challengers. They all have solid shortlist shots in at least two Oscar categories unless the holiday films trample their golden dreams. In order of release: The Visitor, Iron Man, The Dark Knight, WALL•E, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Rachel Getting Married, Happy Go-Lucky and Changeling.
- Recent "Best Pictures" that opened October or earlier: Michael Clayton (07) * Babel, The Queen, Little Miss Sunshine, The Departed (06) * Capote, Crash, Good Night and Good Luck (05) * Sideways, Ray (04) * Mystic River, Seabiscuit, Lost in Translation (03) * Moulin Rouge! (01) * Erin Brockovich, Gladiator (00) * American Beauty, The Sixth Sense (99) * Saving Private Ryan, Life is Beautiful (98) *
Here's the current calendar of When to Expect whatever it is that you're expecting, Oscar-wise. I've removed the non-Oscary movies but it's worth noting (and Oscar campaigns tend to forget this) that the media doesn't only focus on Oscar in December and there's a lot of coverage that smaller movies can't get because the media has to clear a lot of room for Reese Witherspoon, Jim Carrey and other A Listers in potential Off-Oscar blockbusters. Awards-wise it's slim pickings until after Thanksgiving this year. That's unfortunate for movie lovers but not surprising.
November (first half)
November (second half)
- Recent "Best Pictures" that opened in November: No Country For Old Men (07) * Finding Neverland (04) * Master and Commander (03) * In the Bedroom (01) * The Insider (99) * Elizabeth (98) *
Hunger -why oh why? this tiny difficult thing will be crushed by more middlebrow epics
Wendy and Lucy -why oh why? this tiny moving thing will be smothered in December prestige
*Dec 11th GOLDEN GLOBE Nominations *
Che (both parts)
Nothing but the Truth
- Recent "Best Pictures" that opened prior to the Christmas holiday in December: Atonement, Juno (07) * Letters From Iwo Jima (06) * Brokeback Mountain (05) * The Aviator, Million Dollar Baby (04) * Return of the King (03) * Gangs of New York, The Two Towers (02) * The Fellowship of the Ring, A Beautiful Mind (01) * Chocolat, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (00) * The Cider House Rules, The Green Mile (99) * Shakespeare in Love, The Thin Red Line (98) *
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Last Chance Harvey
Waltz With Bashir -because this worked so well for Persepolis last year... whaaaaat?
- Recent "Best Pictures" that opened December 24th, 25th or 26th: There Will Be Blood (07) * Munich (05) * Gosford Park (01) *
- Recent "Best Pictures" that opened the 27th or after: Chicago, The Hours, The Pianist (02) * Traffic (01) *