Pre-season Thoughts

For the films of 2014
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Re: Pre-season Thoughts

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:16 pm

The Telluride line-up is heavy on films already covered at Cannes, plus Birdman and Rosewater, whose reviews have already been published. Wild and The Imitation Game -- both screening tomorrow -- are the prime titles to which we'll be getting fresh response, Maybe Madame Bovary, as well. And I guess there's a chance at a last-minute surprise.

But, for the most part, it reinforces the idea of a thinner Fall kickoff than usual. Perhaps Toronto will have more on offer.

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Re: Pre-season Thoughts

Postby Eric » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:05 pm

The DNA profile for this type of role, though, seems to indicate that Imelda Staunton in Pride will be this year's biddy rooting interest.

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Re: Pre-season Thoughts

Postby Eric » Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:23 pm

Big Magilla wrote:Maggie Smith will get a push for My Old Lady

LOL, oh that's just too much.

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Re: Pre-season Thoughts

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:17 am

flipp525 wrote:We should have an annual contest to predict Big Magilla's Old Woman du Jour™ for the season.


:wink: Have at it, but I might surprise you this year. The only "old lady" I see as a possibility right now is Meryl Streep and I'm not sold on her either. Into the Woods could be Rob Marshall's best film since Chicago. Then again it could be his worst since Nine.

I've read a few reviews of Foxcatcher and none of them even mention Redgrave.

Maggie Smith will get a push for My Old Lady but that's all it's likely to be. She gets star billing in the film in which she plays a 90-something recluse but the focus is said to be on Kevin Kline and Kristen Scott-Thomas in what appears to be a very slight comedy. Next Year's The Lady in the Van written by Alan Bennett and directed by Nicholas Hytner sounds more promising.
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Re: Pre-season Thoughts

Postby flipp525 » Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:39 am

Mister Tee wrote:
Sabin wrote:A Most Violent Year...
At the Independent Spirit Awards this past year, Patton Oswalt chided J.C. Chandor for "making an almost wordless film starring an 80 year old man lost at sea, you fucking sellout!" The joke being, this guy does things the way he wants to. His cast (including David Oyelowo) looks exceptional and it's one of the few movies coming out this fall that I'm genuinely looking forward to.

EW didn't have this included, so I didn't mention it -- thought it might be put off till next year. But now the New York Magazine Fall Preview, which just appeared in my mailbox, has the film down for November 12th. If it indeed shows up, I'm right with you in thinking it's one of the most anticipated (Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain also in the cast).

Besides Carell and Tatum, I've heard people cite Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher.

It also seems like Vanessa Redgrave is getting her near perennial push for her supporting role in Foxcatcher. I've seen her pop up on some lists. The woman hasn't gotten a nomination in over twenty years, yet every year there's a faction of people pushing her for literally whatever she appears in (Evening, Venus, Coriolanus, Letters to Juliet, Song for Marion, etc.). I think the closest she's come to a nomination in the last ten years would probably be for Atonement.

Also, after reading Sabin's The Imitation Game post in another thread, I just realized that Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley also appeared together in Atonement. He was the chocolatier.

We should have an annual contest to predict Big Magilla's Old Woman du Jour™ for the season.
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Re: Pre-season Thoughts

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:33 pm

Sabin wrote:A Most Violent Year...
At the Independent Spirit Awards this past year, Patton Oswalt chided J.C. Chandor for "making an almost wordless film starring an 80 year old man lost at sea, you fucking sellout!" The joke being, this guy does things the way he wants to. His cast (including David Oyelowo) looks exceptional and it's one of the few movies coming out this fall that I'm genuinely looking forward to.

EW didn't have this included, so I didn't mention it -- thought it might be put off till next year. But now the New York Magazine Fall Preview, which just appeared in my mailbox, has the film down for November 12th. If it indeed shows up, I'm right with you in thinking it's one of the most anticipated (Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain also in the cast).

Besides Carell and Tatum, I've heard people cite Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher.

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Re: Pre-season Thoughts

Postby Sabin » Tue Aug 26, 2014 5:20 pm

Scattered thoughts...

Selma...
Sprawling ensemble films grasping for social relevance are a mixed bag I have no idea what the story is going to be in Selma, so I can only go by the cast (David Oyelowo as MLK, Tom Wilkinson as LBJ, Tim Roth as George Wallace), Ava DuVernay as the writer/director (I haven't seen Middle of Nowhere), and a desire I'm sure most people have for it to be a great film. But what story are they going to tell? I'm saying this as an uninformed speculator. I have no idea what the focus of the story is going to be. Who's story is this? I look at this cast and there's a lot to cover. Speaking strictly in terms of its success with the Academy, it's all about singular character journey on which everything else can hang. Otherwise, it'll be easy to shrug off.

Also, get used to people saying that this is the year of David Oyelowo right now.

Nightcrawler...
Holy cow, does Jake Gyllenhaal look amazing in this! At the very least, this seems like a giant stretch. Are we underestimating his chances at a nomination? It's not poised to be much of a box office hit opening on Halloween, but he's a previous nominee who's been upping his bona fides recently. Dan Gilroy's script has earned much praise.

Foxcatcher...
A film of mine is a critic who went to Cannes. He disliked Foxcatcher, thinks it's very dull, but he is conceding that it's going to do very well critically and financially. So, that's looking like Steve Carrell will get a Best Actor nomination and Channing Tatum (who knew?) will be right behind him for a Best Supporting Actor nom.

American Sniper...
I was wondering if we were underestimating this one, then I went to IMDB and saw the film described as "A Navy SEAL recounts his military career, which includes more than 150 confirmed kills." Clint Eastwood has made a few movies about people recounting, recalling, remembering...they don't usually turn out great.

Rosewater...
Is anybody expecting anything from this film? If anybody but Jon Stewart were directing this film, it would be on every single predictions list.

A Most Violent Year...
At the Independent Spirit Awards this past year, Patton Oswalt chided J.C. Chandor for "making an almost wordless film starring an 80 year old man lost at sea, you fucking sellout!" The joke being, this guy does things the way he wants to. His cast (including David Oyelowo) looks exceptional and it's one of the few movies coming out this fall that I'm genuinely looking forward to.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: Pre-season Thoughts

Postby flipp525 » Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:40 am

Mister Tee wrote:Not that I’m not excited about a new David Fincher film, but Gone Girl is strictly pulp, and, like many, I’ve read the book so I already know the big twist.

Gillian Flynn, the author Gone Girl, has already stated that the film will deviate from the novel, content-wise and structurally. I'm not sure that having read the book (which I have as well) is going to necessarily ruin anything.
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Pre-season Thoughts

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:49 pm

So, with Telluride/Venice/Toronto in the very immediate offing (and the NY Festival to follow shortly), it seems time to take a quick look at how we stand, on the brink of a new Oscar season.

The landscape seems weirdly barren so far – less populated than usual, even for this point in the year. I say this despite the fact we have two pretty terrific, successful films – Boyhood and Grand Budapest Hotel – that are at least decent possibilities for best picture/best director nods, and any number of minor categories could even have winners in sight (The LEGO Movie in animation, Begin Again for song, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes or Guardians of the Galaxy competitive for either/both visual effects and makeup).

But we have not one ironclad candidate for an acting nomination. Yes, it’s possible Patricia Arquette will hold on in supporting actress, and Ralph Fiennes is a theoretical best actor contender (though it would take an atypically weak year in the category). Even among the seen-by-some but not yet released, only the actors of Foxcatcher seem better than even shots. It’s possible Sundance buzz will be enough to carry J.K. Simmons to a nod (which would be great, as he’s exactly the sort of dependable veteran for which the category was originally created), and Timothy Spall may make it for Mr. Turner (though Mike Leigh actors have had a way of falling through recently).

Compare this to last year, though, when we had dead-certain nominee Ms. Blanchett, thought Hawkins a possibility, Octavia Spencer as well, and, though it’s now faded from memory, a number of people had virtually conceded the supporting win to Oprah for The Butler. Plus we’d had a slew of films already screened at Cannes that seemed like strong hopefuls: Nebraska, All is Lost, Inside Llewyn Davis, Blue is the Warmest Color. Yes, it turned out only the first of those lasted all the way to major nominations… but that’s because it turned out such a bountiful year that candidates who’s have made it in most years (Redford, certainly) were boxed out. You can go back to most any year in the past decade and see more on the boards (either in release or screened/reviewed at Sundance or Cannes) at this juncture than what we have now.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that this year looks primed to be a letdown, at least in terms of blue chip prospects, compared to the past two. 2012 and ’13 were unusual in having not only a significant number of top projects by major directors, but in having so many of them turn out so well; there were none of the big splats such as we saw in the Nine/Lovely Bones Christmas of ’09. When you’ve got Spielberg, Scorsese, Jonze, Payne, Russell, Bigelow, Cuaron, Ang Lee and the Coens in contention – and all turning out highly-praised work -- mainstream cinema can seem pretty lively

This year’s line-up just doesn’t look close to as exciting. I run down the list of prime Oscar candidates singled out in EW’s Fall Preview issue, and find only one film – Inherent Vice – that pushes all the buttons (and which, all rumor seems to suggest, might be too out-there for Oscar voters). Not that I’m not excited about a new David Fincher film, but Gone Girl is strictly pulp, and, like many, I’ve read the book so I already know the big twist. As for the rest: they’re asking me to rest my hopes on films by Innaritu, Rob Marshall, Christopher Nolan, Jean-Marc Vallee and, god help us, Ridley Scott. Scott’s film – Exodus: Gods and Kings – seems like an Oscar hopeful from the early 60s…as does Angelina’s Unbroken, and the Selma film (though, disclaimer: I’ve been unable to see Duvernay’s Middle of Nowhere – Netflix has had it mystifyingly unavailable—so it may be she’s special enough talent to turn that material into something unexpected).

This actually has the effect of making these upcoming festivals even more important than usual, as people like me are looking there and saying “Surprise me”. (Well, we always say this, but this time we’re relying on it) Sabin mentioned The Imitation Game in another thread; that’s certainly one I’ll look to punch above its weight class. I wonder what the bizarre release pattern -- part one/part two/half of each – will do to the prospects of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. I wonder if something that seems minor – like The Judge, St. Vincent, Rosewater or Men, Women and Children – could pop up and turn into Slumdog Millionaire. I wonder if the last-minute insertion of American Sniper will change the game, or be just another in Eastwood’s recent series of mediocrities.

It may be there’ll be a lot of disappointment, and we’ll end up with the first year in a while where the expanded best picture roster can’t be filled with respectable titles. Or maybe we’ll have enough surprises, and a field just narrow enough that Linklater and Wes Anderson get the recognition they’ve long deserved.

It all starts Wednesday in Venice, with Telluride kicking off Friday night. Let the games begin.


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