Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Reader is Coming. So is Everything Else

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 O
scar 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) *
As you can see from this list, and contrary to studio strategist belief, releasing before the holidays does not eliminate Oscar contention.

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)
Slumdog Millionaire

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) *
Dec 5th
Hunger -why oh why? this tiny difficult thing will be crushed by more middlebrow epics
Dec 10th
The Reader
Wendy and Lucy -why oh why? this tiny moving thing will be smothered in December prestige
*Dec 11th GOLDEN GLOBE Nominations *

Dec 12th
Che (both parts)
Dec 17th
Gran Torino
The Wrestler
Dec 19th
Nothing but the Truth
Seven Pounds
  • 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) *
Dec 25th & 26th
The Class
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Last Chance Harvey
Revolutionary Road
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) *
Dec 31st
  • Recent "Best Pictures" that opened the 27th or after: Chicago, The Hours, The Pianist (02) * Traffic (01) *
I just thought we should give it a little perspective. Though of course that doesn't paint the whole picture since the vast majority of people don't have access to these films until the next year entirely... and this chart does not include snubs from those various release strategies. Someday when there's more time... And my oh my I drifted off topic. What do you think of The Reader's chances now that you've seen the trailer? And if you could control the calendar what would it look like?


Hayden said...

I'm intrigued by your interest in Last Chance Harvey. I never thought of it as awards fare (I've been anticipating it since I read that it was announced) but maybe some Globe love could push it into competition.

Exciting stuff.

Anonymous said...

I was sooo happy when I read today that the trailer was AT LAST available! I watched it like a million times. The movie looks nice and Kate looks more mysterious than ever. I haven't read the book but I guess that is what Hannah was. Being Greek I can't really judge the accent but it seemed at least OK to me. And I have to add. She was a beautiful young lady in Heavenly creatures and she has matured into a mystifying, magical woman.



i think this leaves only Che and The Wrestler without a trailer and poster, right?

oh and Nothing but the Truth but that one's been so quiet it's still hard to believe that it's actually coming out.

gabrieloak said...

I'll definitely see The Reader after watching the trailer. Hard to resist Fiennes and Winslet in the same film. I think EW has Fiennes listed as a possible Best Actor nominee.Is his part big enough?

If Streep starts getting awards for Doubt, will Winslet then finally win an Oscar for The Reader? I'm still curious if Revolutionary Road will live up to its potential. If anything, I hope the movie is good so that audiences will want to read the book by Richard Yates.

Last Chance Harvey looks like the perfect holiday movie. I hope it's a hit for Hoffman and Thompson.

Nothing But the Truth is more like an HBO movie and I think it will get mixed reviews. It's not an easy film to market. But it was good to see Beckinsale in a meaty role. I saw the film in Toronto and I think it will do better on DVD than in the theaters.

Anonymous said...

Kate is by no means supporting in this movie!
Atleast the trailer points that me,Kate looks much stronger in the Reader than in RR...awards wise
Its going to be Sophies Choice for Kate if this movie turns out big!

Anonymous said...

Finally! The trailer looks great. :) The film seems to be very close to the book, too.
It's great to see Burghart Klaussner as the judge. He isn't on IMDB's cast list, so this is a really nice surprise.

The trailer does seem to support the theory that they have David Kross as the lead and both Winslet and Fiennes as supporting.


well... EW is saying kross and winslet are supporting and fiennes is lead.

but at least from the trailer it seems very much a three lead thing.

or a one lead thing (winslet) if you consider limiting screen time for fiennes & kross splitting the role.

Notas Sobre Creación Cultural e Imaginarios Sociales said...

It seems to me that Kate actually CAN win with this.
She looks fantastic as usual and regarding the supporting thing, Daldry managed to get Nicole Kidman a lead Oscar for what was obviously a supporting role, so I'm betting Kate gets it this time.

Sally Belle said...

I still don't like the idea of Stephen Daldry being pushed to finish this.

I know Stephen. He is a lovely, creative and generous as hell.

But, he takes his time. Or should I say, he does things in his own time.

I was with him when Billy Elliot opened in London, and we were all encouraging him to open in New York. He was skeptical as to how it would play in America.

I have over a year ago lost contact with Stephen, but my feeling is that he was very consumed with Billy, and I do worry if he is able to pour over The Reader in the way he likes.

On the other may be exactly what he be up against a deadline, and have to get on with it. It could bring about brilliance!

On a side is also interesting to have Stephen and Sam Mendes going up against each other...not because of Winslet...but because they are rivals in London. The divas of the West End! There is a strong competitiveness between these two!


i didn't know this about their diva-dom ;) sally will you email me at filmexperience (at) gmail (dot) com.

thanks a bunch

jose yeah the "looks good on paper" role seems to look amazing on screen... but trailers. well. you never can be sure.

gabriel i am getting curious to see how close the Oscars hew to what the fans seem to have wanted all season.


and thereby make up for a lot of overdue stuff. big closure for a lot of people this year but how often do longterm fan predictions pay off like that? and all at once?

Anonymous said...

I wuld love to see Kate's OScar doesn't matter in wich category. But I also think she hs better chances winning in supporting that lead. Many people expect that Meryl win her third Oscar after 25 years, and Doubt looks nice. Well, if they nominated before for average films like "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Music from the Heart", why shouldn't be different?

By the way, fantastic trailer. I hope this is a classic beautiful and human Daldry's film

RJ said...

Ladies and gentlemen, meet your Best Picture.

Holocaust + Fiennes + Winslet = duh

RC said...

oh last chance harvey as a success would be great.

we need some 2008 surprise successes, because this year is unfortunatly probably going to be filled with too many 2008 surprise failures.

the bumping of the soloist and less then excitign reviews of frost/nixon really disappointed me.

Plus early in the year I had such high hopes for Che & Blindness.

Anonymous said...

And we have our category fraud for the year. The trailer looks beautiful, as you said, and Winslet looks strong (better than she did in the RR trailer, imo), but there doesn't seem to be anyway any of the three performers (Feinnes, Winslet, and the one who's name we don't know) can be considered supporting. And, I've gotta admit, the degree of schadenfraude I'm experiencing over the Weinstein's slow realization they don't own the oscars any more is quite amusing

Anonymous said...

arkaan, his name is David Kross. :)

Anonymous said...

the trailer looks very good! Winslet seems lead in it, but considering the book, we should expect a lot of screentime without her, so the supporting item could not be a such strong FRAUD CATEGORY (or at least, not in the Jennie Hudson's or Blanchett's you remember Oscar 2007 with two leading ladies in the supporting category?).
Besides supporting category could be a more safe territory for her, sort of...
you know: LaStreep hasn't won in years...many years...
then we got Hathaway, Scott-Thomas, indie girls Hawkins and Leo, Angie (I know, I know...but it's an Eastwood flick...) and of course splitting-vote


Anonymous said...

I've always had The Reader in mind as a dark-horse contender. Let's not forget that Stephen Daldry has never NOT been nominated for Best Director, so why break old habits?

Anonymous said...

(also, is Stephen Daldry the mystery director that e-mailed Nat all those months ago?)


alas no. Although I think i crossed him leaving a screening a couple of weeks ago but i realized too late who it *probably* was -else i would have handed my card and begged for interview. Shameless or practical. Same thing.

Glenn said...

Yeah, definitely looks good but I'm always worried whenever the Weinsteins are involved. They may premiere it in one cinema and not expand it until it's guaranteed an Oscar nomination or something absurd like that.

James Hansen said...

As much as I love WENDY AND LUCY, I don't think its release will effect anything of its awards buzz. The most it would ever get in the first place is an acting nom for Williams and I really don't think that would happen anyways for such a small movie. I know "small" movies get acting noms sometimes, but WENDY AND LUCY is smaller than those small movies. I wish Williams would get a nom, but, no matter when it gets released, I don't think it would happen.

Also, I saw some posters for CHE. Maybe those were international posters? I know I saw some on Awards Daily at some point... said...

This trailer changes everything. Much as I was armed against anything to do with Harvey's mafia methods - film looks brilliant. Damn.

I wouldn't be surprised if The Reader, The Wrestler, and Slumdog Millionaire, make it into the final Best Picture noms. Probably up against Benjamin Button and Australia batting for the big leagues. With Milk and Dark Knight as possible spoilers.

Revolutionary Road, Changeling, Frost/Nixon, and Doubt, will be rewarded in acting categories, but will all suffer from lukewarm reviews and unmet expectations. you heard it here first.

par3182 said...

If you do a film about the Holocaust, you're guaranteed an Oscar. That's why I'm doing it - Schindler's bloody List...

How many more movies do we need about the Holocaust? I mean, we get it, it was grim.

Her episode of 'Extras' is the main reason I want Kate to win for 'The Reader'. If not, she'll have to play "a mental"

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love Kate Winslet, so can't wait for The Reader to come out! Although I just saw the IMDB hasn't even got a release date for oversees yet.:(

Anonymous said...

I'm in shock! The Reader looks like something I had when I was 17!

MichaelMcl said...

I like the use of clear POV shots from the courtroom in that preview from THE READER. It's nice to be able to see something of a film's visual logic in promotional material.

And the music in the second half? Is that music by Nico Muhly for the film? (The first half is a much temp-tracked piece Marcelo Zarvos wrote for THE GOOD SHEPHERD.)

- Opinionated Australian

Anonymous said...

That "The Reader" trailer was great. Get those double nods Kate!