Sunday, May 25, 2008

Naked Gold Man: Doubting December

On Sundays we talk Oscar!

For what it's worth, and if you haven't heard, Miramax is now repositioning John Patrick Shanley's Oscar hopeful Doubt into October --it was previously slotted for December. That's a smart move and it's now as good a time as any to discuss the release date shuffling that's happened. Those Oscar predictions I made back on April 1st are already obsolete (as they always are within a month or two) and will be updated on June 1st with all of these new fast-tracked contenders deciding for 2008 instead of '09.

Doubt's repositioning is a smart move. December is always over-crowded and at least on Broadway, Doubt was the sort of water cooler phenom' that benefited from audiences talking about incessantly. One of my favorite and most aggravating aspects of the Oscar game is release dates. I'm obsessed, as you well know, with complaining about the all December habits of studios... It definitely teaches serious moviegoers to only enjoy the cinema for one quarter of the year and that aint right.
Nobody puts Baby in a corner!
I am hopeful that the strategists start looking more closely at 2006 when audiences had a lot more time to see the eventual nominees before Christmas and even take a peak at 2007 . It led us us right back to old "dump it at Christmas!" habits, but in both years one of the earliest releases among the nominees won the big prize. The Departed (2006) and No Country (2007) had significant head starts winning over the voting bodies. (One wonders if There Will Be Blood would have put up more of a fight for critical prizes had it opened as early as No Country For Old Men)

Anyway, those years are over --LIVE IN THE NOW, NATHANIEL! With Doubt moving the expected major 2008 players are now looking fairly spread out... or at least as spread out as it gets with Oscar strategies these days.

August Vicky Christina Barcelona
September Blindness, Happy-Go-Lucky
October Body of Lies, Doubt and Miracle at St Anna's , W (moving up from 2009. It will be released while George W is still in office. Very odd)
November The Road (pictured right, moving up from 2009), Australia, The Soloist and Milk
December Frost/Nixon, Seven Pounds, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Other Man, Revolutionary Road and Defiance
"TBA" (a cute nickname for December):
Che (in some form or another), Chéri (moving up from 2009), Brothers, Changeling (or The Exchange), The Reader and The Young Victoria

All of which brings to mind the question: Which films do you think are heading for a nomination come January? Make a wild guess. Five of them.


Robert said...

Tough year so far.... the only thing I feel confident about is calling Benjamin Button this year's Sweeney Todd.

It's not that AMPAS has been waiting to give Fincher his "due", it's that they just don't dig him.

Similar to their attitude toward Burton.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Clint Eastwoord's OTHER pic, Gran Torino which IMDB is listing as December 2009. He hasn't even started filming yet, but it sure sounds Oscar-friendly:

"Disgruntled Korean War vet Walt Kowalski (Eastwood) sets out to reform his neighbor, a young Hmong teenager, who tried to steal Kowalski's prized possesion: his 1972 Gran Torino." (IMDB)

Changeling was set for November - I wonder if this means it will come forward earlier to give GT more room, or whether they will both release in December, which seems strange to me (but who knows?).

adam k. said...

Did they really think it was smart to move Cheri up this year, if they're trying to get a best actress oscar for Michelle? This year's more than crowded enough already.


Cinesnatch said...

W will be a major player ... at the Razzies.

Anonymous said...

Heads up: a movie that no one is talking about, Defiance, is getting really good test screening reviews.

Also the test screenings for Body of Lies have been without Carice Van Houten.


Ben said...

I just got through the first DVD of State of Play from BBC that they're adapting into a film. It got pushed from late 08 to April 09 and I wish they'd move it back, because the miniseries is great and the movie's cast is stellar.

But yeah - Changeling or Exchange... whatever they end up calling it - has got Oscar written all over it. It's pretty much a shoo-in for me at this point. Too bad Blindness hasn't been going over terribly well at Cannes. Maybe they can get another edit together in time, 'cause I had high hopes for that one, too. ::shrugs::

Anonymous said...

Why am I the only one who thinks W is going to be awesome?

Anonymous said...

don't forget heath ledger as best supporting actor in batman when you update. possibly ellen burstyn or ann-margret for best sppting actress.

Anonymous said...

That's a good list to choose from, Nathaniel. I think there might be one surprise film that pops up that nobody's thinking much about now, but that turns out to be really good (I don't know what it's going to be, though).

I agree that releasing "Doubt" earlier is way better for it's chances, especially for the supporting players like Viola Davis.

And releasing "Cheri" this year also seems like a good move. There's great possibilities for lead actress, but I can see any of them getting bumped, no-one a sure thing. Pfeiffer could be considered more "due" than all the others. And I think Streep will win the Golden Globe this year for "Mama Mia", and that, plus being in a moneymaker, will be her reward this year.

"Revolutionary Road" I see as this year's "American Beauty", now often considered over-rated.

The Pretentious Know it All said...

I'm already worried at the thought of yet another Eastwood dominated Oscar season. I'm really hoping that "Doubt" or "Milk" will emerge as a frontrunner.
And I totally agree that the AMPAS don't really "dig" Fincher, same as Burton.
I also kind of think that whether or not Che is in for best picture, Benicio Del Toro has a good chance at a nomination. Biopics hardly need best picture nominations for their actors to get nominated, or even win.

Unknown said...

my April predictions were
- Doubt
- The Trial of the Chicago 7
- Australia
- Blindness
- The Reader

Now that one of them has been pushed to 2009 and one was a critical failure at Cannes I'm going with...

- Doubt
- Australia
- The Reader
- The Exchange / Changeling
- Revolutionary Road

Glenn Dunks said...

"It's pretty much a shoo-in for me at this point."

Nothing is ever a shoo-in at this point. NEVER.

Plus, American Beauty is only considered overrated by negative droids who like to talk bad about anything that happened to get Oscar love as if they're robots programmed to do so. I bet ya that in five years time people consider The Departed "overrated". It's like, how did Titanic become the highest grossing movie of all time if, suspiciously, everybody and their dog thinks it's the worst movie ever made these days.

Nat, I love the "Flying Meryl" image. Sally Field would be angry though. She's been living off of that for decades!

John T said...

I think that Return of the King is the closest one will ever get to a shoo-in at the Oscars this far out, and that had two previous Best Picture nominations and billions of dollars to back it up. Plus, even that had some doubts (anyone who disagrees should spend a brief moment contemplating Godfather III, then shudder and return to happier times).

Catherine said...

I think Revolutionary Road has the potential to be better than American Beauty. Nothing to do with the excellent quality of acting in either film (Chris Cooper!) but I think as a pure story, more people could identify with RR. I don't know really, I'm not a big fan of AB ( sorry Glenn!).

I am very intruiged by Doubt.

Anonymous said...

Kamikazee Kamel

No, I thought American Beauty was overrated before I started even watching the Oscars, so you're wrong there. There are plenty of people who think that the Departed is overrated, including myself. Maybe some people have a different opinion of movies, did you ever consider that. Not everything is related to the Oscars.

A lot of it, has to do with something being extremely hyped or buzzed about and when you finally watch it you're disappointed.The case with the Departed FOR ME.

There is always a movie, actor or actress that people consider overrated, so no need to get upset if someone doesn't like one of your favorites, everyone is different.


Cinesnatch said...

I saw American Beauty early on before it caught on and it rubbed me the wrong way. I can see why everyone loved it, but I thought it was pretentious.

The Departed was good, but it wasn't great.

But, my tastes diverge vastly from the Academy. Sometimes, there are years where they shouldn't even be handing out awards.

The only time the Academy has agreed with me on Best Pic (in the last twenty years) is Silence of the Lambs. Such an awesome film and it ages so well.

Anonymous said...

Such little expectations on Cheri? I really expect not only be good for Pfeiffer but that it will be also a really a good Frears movie. Not that it will be the frontrunner, but... Don't know.


Anonymous said...

For the Best Picture line-up:
1) The Changeling: Eastwood + raves in Cannes + Angie + reminding of "Mystic River", even if the plot is quite different

2) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: I know Fincher is not the Academy favorite's cup of tea and the Zodiac's snub is a good indication, but I can't help it with it...the trailer looks so amazing (the best of the year together with THE FALL...that I'm afraid it won't have many chances at the Oscars despite AWARDS DAILY's consideration...) it's really hard for me to ignore it...

3) MIlk: biopic + important subject + mighty cast (Penn is already considered a front runner in the Best Actor category) + Gus Van Sant (an auteur, that unlike Fincher, the Academy has already previously considered) + Brokeback Mountain Factor (I mean, did they realize what they have done?)

4) Revolutionary Road: acclaimed novel + Sam Mendes (a director they loved so least until Jarhead...) + Kate & Leo (the first time scored very well, don't U think?) + period film...and please, please give the golden boy to Kate...I know, I know: with Michelle, Julianne, Angie, Nicole, Rachel, Emily, Sally, Anne, Keira, the grey gardens girls and, most of all, Meryl, could be a very hard race...but please...give it to Kate this time!

5) The Road: this is my wishful thinking...I know very well that DOUBT, FROST/NIXON, AUSTRALIA (but the reviews should be very good and the BO positive...), THE READER and maybe BODY OF LIES are safer bets...before Cannes I should have included BLINDNESS to the list, now I'm not so sure...anyway let me dream that this adaptation of the great Cormac McCarthy's novel (Pulitzer Prize) could be one of the great surprises of the year...of course John Hillcoat's previosu film, THE PROPOSITION, was interesting, but not so lucky during the awards season, at least not statesides, but last year Viggo and Cormac were quite rewarded by Hollywood, so...let me dream a little bit longer...

Mirko S.

Anonymous said...

holy shit I love Glenn.

Glenn said...

teehee, thanks!

I should clarify - Obviously there are people who dislike movies at the time of their release (I gave The Departed a B- so even I thought that was overrated), but I would guarantee you that a large percentage of people who saw something like American Beauty who now claim to hate it, loved it in 1999. GUARANTEE IT. It's like how everyone seemingly forgets how good a movie Shakespeare in Love was simply because Harvey spent a bunch of cash on it and it beat poor ol' Spielberg's WWII movie.

Occasionally the oposite happens, such as with Marisa Tomei who at the time everyone was all "wtf?" but now a lot of people actually acknowledge it as a great comedy performance that just somehow got the Academy's attention.

Aaanyway. I must be coming off as so angry. I'm really not. //

I was going to put John Hillcoat in my one-year-advance predictions but thought it was a 2009 film. He seems really well-respected by the industry, even if his films are tiny and "foreign". The assosciation with Nick Cave helps, I imagine.

MichaelMcl said...

"It's like, how did Titanic become the highest grossing movie of all time if, suspiciously, everybody and their dog thinks it's the worst movie ever made these days."

You shouldn't deny people the right to be ashamed of fawning over the undeserving, however they choose to express.

A proud Titanic dissenter from the very start here.

- The Opinionated Australian

MichaelMcl said...

Oops... forgot to put a wink in there. ;-)

Anonymous said...

It may be insane wishful thinking to root for Australia at this point, but I got such an Out of Africa vibe from the trailer that I wonder if we're ready for a big, lush, romantic epic again. Granted, I didn't love Out of Africa, but Baz is a different animal altogether, isn't he?

I will be very bored if, in the end, we wind up with Doubt/Frost/Nizon/Revolutionary Road/The Soloist/Seven Pounds/The Road, just variations on the names we've been saying since January. But that almost never happens, after all. Let the games begin!

RahulB said...

I read somewhere that Vicki was a TRUE return to form for Woody Allen.

And holy shit, that makes me so excited.

Anonymous said...

My predictions:

1. The Reader: A favorite theme by AMPAS and two late respected prodcuers (Pollack and Minghella)
2. Revolutionary Road: Be carerful... What's happen to Memoirs of a geisha, Atonement, Dreamgirls and Sweeney Todd?
3. The curious case of Benjamin Button: I love the trailer... I like Zodiac, Fight Club and Seven.
4. Doubt: Last Broadway adaptation will fail to Oscars nomination. This adaptation has better luck?
5. The Exchange: Eastwood is back
-Milk: Biopic with victim and historical character but maybe too gay for AMPAS
-The Young Victoria: I have faith with this proyect: Scorsese + Fellowes + Blunt + Richardson + Bettany

1. David Fincher: He's overdue to AMPAS...
2. Sam Mendes, Revolutionary Road: He needs a comeback to Oscars
3. Clint Eastwood: He's an eminence in Hollywood. An with excelent reviews in Cannes
4. Baz Luhrmann, Australia: I don't like the trailer and I'm not a fan of his movies but maybe he's in the top ten, maybe not...
5. Spike Lee, Miracle at St. Anna: Yes, maybe I'm crazy, but he's overdue and he has an interesting proyect about WW II
-Gus Van Sant, Milk (Depends your opcions by the critical reception of the film)
-Jean Marc Valleé, TYV: I love his prior film C.R.A.Z.Y.

Actor (Pretty boys vs. Experiment actors):
1. Benicio Del Toro, Che: With his award in Cannes is now the front runner...
2. Leonardo DiCaprio, RR / body of lies: Two great proyects. Only one problem. Wich one?
3. Brad Pitt, TCCOBB: HE's a good actor and I think this is his ideal proyect
4. Sean Penn, Milk: Another good actor and a role which sound good in paper... but it's enough?
5. Viggo Mortensen, The Road: Another crazy choice but he's a hot talented actor!!...
-Liam Neeson, The Ogther Man: He's overdue in a long time and awfully snubbed for Kinsey and Michael Collins
-Frank Langhella, Frost/Nixon: Two Words: RON HOWARD

Actress (Overdue actresses):
1. Meryl Streep, Doubt: A lot of buzz and good comments...
2. Kate Winslet, RR: Between this and (maybe) other nomination she has double opportunities...
3. Julianne Moore, Blindness / Savage Grace: Her films aren't so good but her performances are fine. I have faith (Especially after I saw SG)
4. Michelle Pfeiffer, Cheri: Now with the new release her chaces for comeback are bigger...
5. Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria: There's always a place for newcomers, especially hot, young, talented and british girls.
-Sophie Okonedo, Skin: Sound good on paper and she's surprised before
-Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky: maybe her role is too comedy but if the film is very good she could easily be in the top five.
-Anne Hathaway, Dancing with Sheba: She'll get the nomination soon or later

Supp Actor (Aussie contenders):
1. Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight: I have great expectation for him. Pacino's Dick Tracy? My feelings said yes!...
2. Liev Schreiber, Defiance: According with test screeners he steals the show even with Craig
3. Robert Downey Jr., The Soloist: with "Iron Man" sucess it's enough for a comeback?
4. Jason Butler Henry, Changeling: A lot of buzz with Variety and newcomer here is nice but he's behind John Malkovich
5. Koby Smit-McPhee, The Road: This category also is nice with children
-Michael Shannon, RR: If the film is good he could benefic with that
-Russell Crowe, Body of lies: Last years he's the bridesmaid but not the bride...
-Boys from "Milk": Interesting dilema... We have three considerations:
*The Villain and Co-Star: Josh Brolin
*A la Gyllenhaal: James Franco
*A la Wahlberg: Emile Hirsch

Supp Actress:
1. Kate Winslet, The Reader: If my feelings are right her Oscar is in this category...
2. Franka Potente, Che: If there's someone beside Del Toro could get the nomination for that(Those) film(s) is her...
3. Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Finally Pe has a decent english speaking role!!!!
4. Viola Davis, Doubt: She's a good actress and she has finally her "breakhtough" role
5. Taraji P. Henson, TCCOBB: Between her and Cate Blanchett I think she has more chances...
-Miranda Richardson, TYV: She needs a comeback please!!
-Kathy Bates, RR: Good posibilities but I heard the role is too small almost a cameo

Anonymous said...

While I predicted that Cheri would be a 2008 release from the start, the news is nonetheless wonderful to hear. It's really great for Michelle's chances, as, on top of a sure-to-be great performance, she can cash in on the warm reception of her Hollywood "comeback" last year. However, does anyone feel that the 12/24 release date is a few weeks too late?


Dave said...

I think Cheri is going to be a great film and Michelle Pfeiffer is going to give an amazing performance. I think a December release is brilliant. Welcome back Ms Pfeiffer.