The festivals have been held. The screeners have been sent. The advertisements have been printed. The critics have reviewed. The bloggers have speculated. The 2010 awards season is about to begin.
This Friday morning (Brisbane time), the National Board of Review in the United States will announce their winners. It will set off a chain of critics awards (Los Angeles and New York being the most significant) which will then lead into the Golden Globes and the many guild awards. By January 25, the field will have been thinned and the Oscar nominations will be revealed. We then wait until February 27 to find out who takes home the precious gold statue.
If you’re looking to hear what’s going on during the Oscars race, the sites I check most regularly is Awards Daily - http://www.awardsdaily.com. Also great is the Awards Tracker at the Los Angeles Times - http://entertainment.latimes.com/awards/.
Each year, I throw my own thoughts into the ring with my pre-season thoughts. Of the 10 films I predicted last year, 6 went on to earn a best picture nomination at the Oscars. It can be tricky speculating so early in the game (especially as I haven’t seen many of the films) but I’ll do my best.
Before I get to my thoughts, here’s a look at the films which are currently in contention for one of the coveted 10 slots in the best picture race. It’s interesting in that many of these films have already been released. Usually, a flood of “Oscar quality” releases come through at the end of the year – but that doesn’t look to be the case this time.
Here are the contenders already released in Australia (with my grading in brackets)…
The Social Network (A), Inception (A+), Toy Story 3 (A-), The Kids Are All Right (B), Winter’s Bone (A-), The Town (A-).
The films which we can look forward to over the next few months are (with a blurb from the IMBD). I’ve listed them in their order of release…
The King’s Speech
Release Date In Australia: 26 December 2010
Director: Tom Hooper
Starring: Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush
Plot Overview Per IMDB: The story of King George VI of Britain, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it..
Release Date In Australia: 13 January 2011
Director: Darren Aronofsky (The Wrester, Requiem For A Dream)
Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Vassel
Plot Overview Per IMDB: A thriller that zeros in on the relationship between a veteran ballet dancer and a rival.
Release Date In Australia: 20 January 2011
Director: Ethan & Joel Coen (No Country For Old Men, Fargo)
Starring: Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin, Hailee Steinfeld
Plot Overview Per IMDB: A tough U.S. Marshal helps a stubborn young woman track down her father's murderer.
Release Date In Australia: 26 January 2011
Director: David O. Russell (Three Kings)
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo
Plot Overview Per IMDB: A look at the early years of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward and his brother who helped train him before going pro in the mid 1980s.
Release Date In Australia: 26 January 2011
Director: Mike Leigh (Secrets & Lies, Topsy-Turvy)
Starring: Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville
Plot Overview Per IMDB: A married couple who have managed to remain blissfully happy into their autumn years, are surrounded over the course of the four seasons of one average year by friends...
Release Date In Australia: 10 February 2011
Director: Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)
Starring: James Franco, Amber Tamblyn, Kate Mara
Plot Overview Per IMDB: A mountain climber becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone near Moab, Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive.
The Way Back
Release Date In Australia: 3 March 2011
Director: Peter Weir (The Truman Show, Master & Commander)
Starring: Colin Farrell, Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris
Plot Overview Per IMDB: A fact-based story centered on soldiers who escaped from a Siberian gulag in 1940.
As you can seen, it’s not a very long list.
Given that I’ve had the chance to see around 50% of the contenders, my picks for the best picture category are:
The Social Network, The King’s Speech, Inception, Black Swan, Toy Story 3, The Fighter, True Grit, 127 Hours, The Kids Are All Right and Another Year.
As for the winner? I’m going with The King’s Speech at this point in time. It won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival and that’s too hard for me to ignore (as much as I admired Inception and The Social Network). I can’t wait to see it.
I haven’t analysed the acting races in a lot of detail but here’s the word on the street…
Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) is a much loved actor and this appears to be his year. I can see the only dangers coming from youngsters – James Franco (127 Hours) or Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network).
This is shaping up as a two horse race – the overdue Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right) and the always amazing Natalie Portman (Black Swan). The list of outsiders is headed by Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) and Lesley Manville (Another Year).
Best Supporting Actor
This race is wide open. Christian Bale is getting huge raves for The Fighter and seems to have frontrunner status. It’s hard to believe that he’s never received an Oscar nom before. On his tale are Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech) and Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right). I’m hoping that Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) also makes the cut.
Best Supporting Actress
It would be great to see Aussie Jackier Weaver (Animal Kingdom) make the list and I think she’s a better than 50/50 chance thanks to a strong marketing campaign. All she needs are a few critics awards. I can’t find any clear leader in this category but getting raves are Melissa Leo (The Fighter) and Sissy Spacek (Get Low). Maybe Weaver could do it after all?
I’ll be sure to keep you all posted on the Oscars race as soon as they’ve jumped from the barriers.
All Rights Reserved. Matthew Toomey. 2012.