...since that's when a lot of folks will get their first look at Precious ["for you consideration..." in virtually every category save Best Actor and Supporting Actor. No, Lenny Kravitz's male nurse doesn't count]. That's when that particularly buzzy contenduh goes from being a movie with deafening hype and buzz (huzz? bype? hypzz?) to being a real thing, a movie audiences can react to in a less abstract, more honest and less controllable-by-campaign-and-hype way. As it should be.
[tangent] I always find it strange when people call me an elitist (I assume because I generally prefer unravelling female protagonists to superpowered men in costumes?) because I'm actually populist at heart. I demand that cinema of all types readily available to the masses! The Oscars are frustrating in this way because the type of films that matter to the Academy -- and to drama nuts like you (I assume if you're reading TFE) -- are ever more skittish about being seen, hiding in tiny little theaters in only the biggest cities, as if too many curious eyeballs would ruin their strenuous beauty.
If it were up to me you'd have to open by Christmas at the absolute latest in the top six to eight markets (something like that -- thus making you an actual release in the year in which you're asking for statues and top ten lists) instead of just Los Angeles by the 31st for a one week run on one screen. (I fail to see how such tiny in-name-only "releases" within a calendar year are any different in practice than festival showings which do not make you eligible). [/tangent]
On a smaller scale November 6th is when Best Actor contender Hal Holbrook emerges with the senior-wants-his-farm-back drama That Evening Sun. This promising debut feature from writer/director Scott Teems has other fine performances (particularly Ray McKinnon as Holbrook's nemesis) but none of the other actors have anything in the way of an Oscar-ready profile. But after the year Carrie Preston has had -- dropping some humanity into the arch Duplicity, reliably entertaining us as Arlene on True Blood and this affecting portrait of a wife who loves her husband but isn't blind to his flaws -- we should all be new fans.
Yes, from November 6th onward each and every weekend brings us new Oscar contenders of one type or another.
- Nov 6th: Precious, That Evening Sun, A Christmas Carol
- Nov 13th: Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Messenger
- Nov 20th: Broken Embraces, The Blind Side (?),
The Twilight Sa(oh, I'm kidding)
- Nov 27th: The Road (wide. Holiday appropriate! er....) and a bunch of limited releases: Me and Orson Welles, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, The Princess and the Frog. I have to say I think it was a H-U-G-E mistake for Nine to leave November... even more enormous than I had originally thought. You see, not one major Oscar contender is going to be wide for the entire Thanksgiving period. Unless you count The Road. Not even Precious (which will be expanding in November but not wide until sometime in December). It's like the Weinstein Company is just setting fire to money. They'd have had zero competition. Plus, November is actually from the latin word "novem" which means NINE. Hello... can't the Weinsteins respect the Gregorian calendar!?
- Dec 4th: Brothers, Up in the Air, Everybody's Fine (?)
- Dec 11th: A Single Man, Invictus and The Lovely Bones which is only in limited release till January. Like Nine, it's another Oscar hopeful with mainstream appeal. Plus it's from a hugely successful director (Peter Jackson). It seems like they're just putting money in the trash compactor. Why don't they want those holiday dollars? Are they worried about the movie's bankability?
- Dec 18th: Avatar (wide), Nine, The Young Victoria
- Christmas: Sherlock Holmes, It's Complicated (wide releases... Globe contenders?), Police Adjective (Romania's foreign film contender). Nine and Up in the Air, two presumed Oscar giants, also quit hiding and open wide.
- Dec 30th: The White Ribbon (More than most filmmakers, Michael Haneke pieces require time to shift and settle and unsettle again in the mind of the viewer. So why they keep sticking him with these maddeningly busy release dates -- Christmas or New Years -- is beyond me. Seems like such a missed opportunity for what his films always need: discussions with room to breathe. Caché in particular was gaining steam -- his films build the further you get away from them -- so had it been released even just a few weeks earlier (sigh) maybe it would have won a Screenplay or Director nod? Or at least more precursor honors. Instead it t'was crushed in the glut. We'll see the same thing happen again this time.
My point is simply this: Here we go! (Are you excited yet?)
This was all a lengthy awkward way of saying that Oscar Predictions in All Categories are all up to date and I'm more than ready for these movies. Discuss.