Thursday, June 30, 2005

talking points

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the second half of the year. Which means, it's time for the Oscar race to begin. Start already! So far the competition is determinedly unexciting. Cinderella Man has pros (determined studio -watch for a revival, middlebrow triumph of human spirit appeal, Oscar-good-luck-charms Crowe & Zellweger) and cons (perceived as a flop, too typical, trying too hard, too early). Crash has pros (unexpected hit status, topical drama, the cast) and cons (early in year, unsubtle).

Over in the limited/platform world The Upside of Anger has pros (Joan Allen giving the year's best performance so far, two other films to bolster her appeal) and cons (might be forgotten without significant critical or preseason push, does the studio realize she's arguably the first half of the year's easiest acting nomination shot with the right campaign? whew, that was a long sentence). In Blockbuster land War of the Worlds and Batman Begins are the big shots for tech prizes... but both of those could lose out to other upcoming smashes and Christmas spectacles.

So how many nominees (any category) do you think we've seen so far? one? two? five?


Anonymous said...

Nathaniel, you're really going to work that Joan Allen thing all year, aren't you? Most people have forgotten UPSIDE OF COSTNER already. ;-)

I don't think I've seen any real contenders yet, although CRASH and CINDERELLA MAN have to be in the running at this point. I'd expect an Animation nomination (and maybe win) for HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE, although I didn't love it.

I do have a bunch of "I hope it gets nominated" choices though:
- RIZE for Documentary
- The score of HUSTLE AND FLOW
- A screenplay nod (Adapted) for MYSTERIOUS SKIN
- The cinematography and visual effects of SIN CITY


gabriel, yes I am... until more people start seeing the movie and agreeing with me. I am *always* right.

and sin city! I forgot about that already. But I suppose it does have some technical shots given that it was a hit. The question is how will the industry company people feel about nominating someone who does all the jobs himself?

Anonymous said...

I think we've seen the following nods:

Actor- Russell Crowe
Supporting Actor- Paul Giamatti
Original Screenplay- CRASH
Costume Design- CINDERELLA MAN
Animated Film- MADAGASCAR (in a just world, this would never beat Mizayki...but the world ain't just)

Joe R. said...

I would be so incredibly happy if Joan Allen rode this out to a nomination. It's the only performance thus far this year (outside of maybe Sam Rockwell in Hitchhiker's Guide) that I think will make my own personal year-end awards.

And I agree that Robert Rodriguez will end up getting bit by the same tech branch parochialism that kept Soderbergh from a cinematography nod for Traffic.

NicksFlickPicks said...

Up With Joan. Any chance that Yes could be her vehicle, though?

Sin City seems like more of an Art Direction nod than Cinematography to me. I wouldn't be shocked.

Madagascar and Howl's for sure. War of the Worlds for Sound, Sound Effects, and Visual Effects. Crash seems extremely likely for Original Screenplay, perhaps more. Beyond this I choose not to delve. (I'm really not sure about Cinderella Man, though I'll be disappointed if Giamatti gets nodded for this.)

Anonymous said...

Yes didn't even strike a chord with many critics so I'd say it hasn't any chance to get Joan noticed. I still think she does have a good chance for ,Upside, though. She's a very respectful, underappreciated actress and best actress is probably the easiest category (due to a usually unfortunate lack of competition) for a performance from an earlier film to get noticed. (Jeff Bridges proved last year that it's a bit harder for the men.)

I can't see Sin City for art direction because I think there's a stigma attached to films in that category that are entirely virtual (animated, CGI, etc.) And in the case of cinematography, you have a director who works as his own DP.

Crash I think has a very good shot at a screenplay nomination and an outside chance at others if people keep talking about it for a while and we get a weak second half and a campaign that revives the film. It's hard to single out actors from the film since it's really great ensemble work but we could easily see one name singled out and then suddenly find it repeatedly popping up at precursors. I still think Sandra Bullock was surprisingly fantastic, even though her part is a small one that blends into a film film of other great performances. She's probably a longshot but she's a big name in an unexpected sleeper powerhouse that is already a likely screenplay bet. She's ready to go with two fantastic oscar clips. Of course, there are many who are equally excited with Thandie Newton, Matt Dillon, and Terrence Dashon Howard.

Joe R. said...

The thing with the Crash cast is that everyone was so good and the story was so spread out that I can't see any one actor getting the bandwagon all to themselves.

The screenplay was, for me, too hamfisted at times to really merit "award-worthy" although that certainly (Seabiscuit) hasn't stopped (Seabiscuit) the Academy before (Seabiscuit).

Who'd have thought that in a movie with Matt Dillon, Ryan Phillippe, and Larenz Tate I'd be talking about how the acting outpaced the script?

John T said...

I hate to be a pessimist, but I'm guessing almost none of this year's films thusfar will be nominated. I'd put Madagascar in the animated film category (if it expands to five, then I'd also throw in Miyazaki). War of the Worlds and Star Wars: Episode 3 will both score Visual Effects nods (and probably a sound nod for War of the Worlds), and I could see Batman Begins making a surprise nod for Best Costume or Makeup. Joan Allen seems like wishful thinking to me, particularly with some strong contenders still to come in that category. Other than that, I'm at a loss-Crash is too small, too urban; Cinderella Man is too much of a flop (it's not like Crowe, Howard, and Zellwegger don't have shiny gold men of their own already); and Sin City is too yesterday's news.

Anonymous said...

Well Cinderella Man made more (or, should I say, will make more) than movies like Sin City, Upside of Anger and Crash, so...

I hate it when people say "it didn't make enough money" as an excuse as to why it didn't get nominated. I'm sure movies like Maria Full of Grace, Being Julia and Vera Drake didn't get nommed based on their theatrical gross!


I personally thought the screenplay for "Crash" was it's weakest element (after the fantasic performances, cinematography, score and editing) but I can easily see it being nominated over either of those things. However if there were 2 performances that could ride it out to a nod it would be Sandra Bullock and Matt Dillon. Throw it in the "celebrity who gave a shockingly good performance" catagory. I can maybe see Sandra getting a Globe nod more than an Oscar nod, but it could happen!

If Judi Dench can WIN...

Star Wars is a definite for FX I think and probably a sound catagory or two. War of the Worlds could do the same. Sin City I can see getting POSSIBLY one nod but that would be a stretch.

Madagascar could be this year's "Shark Tale" and inexplicably get a nod. Howls Moving Castle could sneak in if there are five nominees.

I really hope Joan Allen can get a nod! She was fantasic in Upside of Anger and actually deserves a nomination and possibly win. If she is nominated she could be a good bet for the win considering her status.

Considering Troy's random costume nomination this year can we really rule out Kingdom of Heaven this year?

And for documentary, I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Mad Hot Ballroom. It'll probably be in the top 3 grossing docs of the year and is very popular. Also, Rize and March of the Penguins (Travelling Birds got nominated a few years back, so it could happen again).

I, for some reason, don't see Batman getting any nominations.

If it actually gets some tractions and plays it's cards right "Millions" could get a screenplay nod.

However, I think one movie people should keep an eye out for in terms of a screenplay nod is the just released You Me And Everyone We Know.


Joe R. said...

It's not that Cinderella Man has made/will make less money than Crash or Sin City. It's that CM is right now considered a flop in terms of grosses ($51 mil) versus budget ($88 mil).

Sin City made double its money back, and Crash is the indie success story of the year so far ($50 mil against a $6.5 mil budget).

It's not be-all-end-all, and CM could certainly wash off the taint of "flop" with a successful re-release or DVD campaign, but straight-up grosses are not where it's at in terms of b.o. success or failure.


I'd like to think me, you,... would be seen by the Academy but I doubt it's accessible enough. It's probably a little too weird for AMPAS voters.

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