Friday, August 8, 2014

Very Early Oscar Predictions - Director & Picture


And we've come to the end of the road.  Sigh.  Clarence and I will be looking at Director and Picture today, so this post is a bit longer than the others.  At this point in the race, no one has seen everything (in fact, only a few movies have been seen), so we could be completely wrong.  Who knows!  If you are just catching up with our week long shots in the dark, you can check out Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress.    

Moser – Best Director
David Fincher, Gone Girl
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman
Angelina Jolie, Unbroken
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

Moye – Best Director
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman
Angelina Jolie, Unbroken
Mike Leigh, Mr. Turner
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

Moye: Well, we’ve come to the end of the week and the Big Two categories: Best Director and Best Picture. For Best Director, three of these nominations (again for films largely site unseen) feel locked already: Inarritu, Linklater, and Miller. I’m tossing in Angelina Jolie as well because I think Unbroken will hit big with the Christmas crowd, and I’ll round it out with Mike Leigh for Mr. Turner. This is a tricky one because, while the Academy seems to respond to him individually, this film could get lost in the awards season bloodletting.


Moser: I think you are right on with those three locked in directors. Miller hasn’t made a bad film yet, and the Academy really responds to his work. That international trailer for Birdman got me even more excited for Inarritu, and Boyhood’s response is incredible. As for the last two slots, I am thinking that Jolie will gain some traction as the newest trailer for Unbroken makes it look like something the Academy would go for.

Moye: It’s been buzzing all year, starting with the extended preview way back during the Winter Olympics where it seamlessly blended the true story with amazing, Roger Deakins-blessed footage from the film.

Moser: I joked when I first heard about Unbroken that we will see another person stranded in the middle of the ocean. That trailer totally gets me though. The sepia-toned cinematography looks stunning, and I wonder if Jack O’Connell can get in for his performance of Louis Zamperini. It looks big and sprawling and epic. And, of course, I would love to see another woman get into this boy’s club category. 


Moser (con't): I’m torn on my last slot. Leigh is a great choice, and the Academy has nominated him even if his film isn’t up for Picture. Does Paul Thomas Anderson get in for Inherent Vice?  I’m a bit surprised we haven’t talk about that film in any of these races. Will Tim Burton get his first Director nomination for Big Eyes? Can Rob Marshall recapture his musical mojo with Into the Woods? Those options aside, I’m going with David Fincher for Gone Girl.

Moye: Here we go again, but I’m not going to argue. We can hash that one out when the film is revealed in late September (which, shockingly is just around the corner). I am glad you mentioned Inherent Vice. I have purposefully left that one out because early word is very, very mixed and the Thomas Pynchon source material seems way out there. I suspect this is PTA hewing closer to Punch Drunk Love than any of his other more Oscar-bait films. He could surprise us though. Fincher is always a good bet because, let’s face it, he’s a genius. I still can’t get around the pulpy nature of the source material. Said it before, and I’ll say it again: remember he didn’t get in for Dragon Tattoo.

Moser: True, but if it’s a good adaptation, I think his execution will be killer. I don’t think anyone thought he would get in with Dragon Tattoo anyway. Picture, maybe, but not Director. But we will have a bloodbath whenever Gone Girl comes out in October. 


 With the big race, I always pick 10 movies for Best Picture (even though they've gone for 9 for the last 3 years), and it’s not like it’s ever too far off when they pick 9. 

Moser - Best Picture
Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
Fury
Gone Girl
Mr. Turner
Interstellar
Into the Woods
The Theory of Everything
Unbroken

Moser: I think Foxcatcher, Boyhood and Birdman are in. Unbroken looks pretty epic, so I feel like it has a solid chance (unless it’s super clunky, but that second trailer looks great). Fury is a big, bleak war epic, and Mr. Turner was well received at Cannes. As far as big, popular movies go, I think the ones to look for are Gone Girl and Interstellar. Gone Girl is going to be a big hit, and surely people will be talk about Interstellar like it’s the greatest thing in the world. Christopher Nolan definitely has his fanatics. It’s hard to believe that he’s never earned a Director nomination yet.

Moye: The Academy loves sentiment and emotion when it comes to Best Picture / Director. Well, pretty much all of the top categories. Nolan’s films are executed with near-surgeon precision, but he lacks the gooey center that brings it home with the Academy. Interstellar seems to start there with a father tearfully abandoning his daughter to run off and save the world. I suspect, though, most of the impact will come in the otherworldly scenes. I was taken with the first trailer in that it reminded me of 2001. We’ll see if Nolan delivers on that influence.


Moser: I mean, I always love the experience of seeing Nolan’s films, but I don’t necessarily have that emotional pull. Maybe there will be one with the relationship between McConaughey and his daughter that will affect audiences? On the musicals front, I think Into the Woods can get in if Les Miserables can. I like Les Mis all right, but Into the Woods is a lot more thought-provoking and fun than dirty close-up singing. I think we both agree that it looks great from the first teaser, and it’s got the potential to wrack up a boatload of technical nominations.

Moye: Please don’t pick on Les Miserables. I’m a huge fan of the show, and I actually really liked the film despite the odd close-ups and Russell Crowe nearly destroying it. I’m really looking forward to Into the Woods (as you may have heard), but I’m hoping there are no Crowe-level performances.

Moser: I don’t mind Les Mis, but I’ve just never had an emotional attachment to it. You know how musical theater lovers have those shows that we fall in love with? Les Mis just isn’t one of those shows for me. I only saw it one on stage, and that was less than 10 years ago. All this for a loaf of bread? 

On another note, we haven’t seen anything from Inherent Vice (except for some on set pictures), but it’s directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. But who knows at this point. Surely, anything could get in as the second half of the year shapes up.  Other contenders include The Imitation Game, Selma, Big Eyes, A Most Violent Year, Wild, Men, Women & Children…it just keeps going. Personally, I would love to see The Grand Budapest Hotel come back around at the end of the year. 

Clarence's FAVORITE movie!!!

Moye: Ugh. Hope this doesn’t derail our friendship, but I’m one of those Wes Anderson haters. I love art direction, but not at the expense of character and plot. I tried four times to watch Grand Budapest Hotel…. FOUR TIMES. He’s going to have to grow beyond 1) set camera in place, 2) film actor unmoving and delivering a monologue toward the camera, and 3) insert retro kitsch object such as 45 record player or monocle. My choices are fairly similar, but I stuck with the Academy’s favorite number – nine.

Moser:  I am far from an Anderson lover.  I didn’t really like Moonrise Kingdom, and I just responded to Ralph Fiennes’ performance.  I liked the energy of Budapest, and I hope the production design gets nominated.  The design of that hotel tells the story. 

Moye - Best Picture
Big Eyes
Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
Gone Girl
Interstellar
Into the Woods
A Most Violent Year
Unbroken

Moye: If something falls off this list, then it will be Big Eyes. I hadn’t really wanted to include Interstellar but the amazing visuals in the recent first trailer have really grown on me. I have nothing really to back up A Most Violent Year other than J.C. Chandor has done some really great work on his last two films, and I’m thinking it’s become “his turn” for some sort of recognition. He has to grow out of that VOD sensibility though. Looks like this one may do the trick.


Moser: Chandor is very much on the cusp of breaking out in the Oscar races. All I know about A Most Violent Year is Jessica Chastain rocks a blonde bob, and that cast looks incredible. 

Moye:  Do you think the Oscar season is getting boring already? I mean, I’m very excited to see these films, but it feels like we’re 60 to 70 percent locked in without most of these screening yet.

Moser:  Maybe it isn’t necessarily boring, but there is so much to see still. The flood gates are going to open as soon as the fall hits. I bet the races will get really exciting then. 

Moye:  Any parting thoughts on the race where it stands? I’d love to revisit this list after the big festivals have landed.

Moser:  We will definitely have to have a quick recap of the reactions when Toronto and Telluride are over and done. Until then, happy hunting? 


Moye: It’s been great fun, sir. Thanks for having me on board!

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