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'April Foolish' in May. Oscar Predix Prep Work

It's almost past time for the April Foolish Oscar Predi --  SIGH...

Okay, yes, kids. I'm behind. Before we get started on the April Foolish Oscar Predictions which have somehow migrated to May, I'd like your input a wee bit. Please peruse my list of films to watch out for in one to nineteen ways after the jump and let me know if I'm missing any you've heard about or are excited for. I don't want to post anything official if I'm stupidly forgetting a film somewhere.

Why do I say "one to nineteen" ways?

 Well that's how many feature film Oscar categories there are if you ignore, for the time being, the documentary and foreign film categories which have different rules and which we don't make year-in-advance predictions for. Technically there are 21 feature film specific categories (the 3 shorts categories make the Oscar 24)  but no film could be eligible in all of them since there are competing categories like Original and Adapted Screenplay. What's more, a film that could theoretically qualify for all three "special" feature prizes (Foreign Film / Animated / Documentary) like a Waltz With Bashir is never going to be nominated for all three and find itself eligible for acting prizes and craft categories. 


Special Oscar cases of the past 20 years: Titanic, Waltz With Bashir, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

I'm being silly and splitting hairs, but that's what makes Oscar talk fun. The most categories, by my count, that any film has ever been eligible for was Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000). Think about it. The Ang Lee wuxia classic had lead and supporting actors of both sexes AND an original song, many visual effects and it was released regularly in US theaters while being submitted by its home country Taiwan for foreign film consideration in the same year. Theoretically it was eligible for 18 categories. 18!!! But that was a very special case and it ended its run with 10 nominations and 4 statues. The most categories English language films can be eligible for is 17 and the most categories any film ever competed in was Titanic with 14 (missing only the male acting categories and a screenplay citation). All About Eve also won 14 nominations, as we discussed earlier this year when we pitted them against each other in an imaginary Oscar-off, but that film doubled up in both Actress categories so it only really competed in 12 categories.

Am I stalling?

Here's the List of Films We're Looking at for 2014. Let me know if I've forgotten anything in the comments.

for categories much discussed and/or below the line

Michael Keaton in "Birdman"

ANNIE - remake of the musical
BEGIN AGAIN - formerly "Can a Song Save Your Life" music industry dramedy
BIG EYES - Tim Burton does his first biopic since Ed Wood. With Amy Adams
BIRDMAN - Innaritu goes comic (darkly so at least). With Michael Keaton as a washed up actor who once played a famous superhero. Hmmm.
BLOOD TIES -actor/director Gulliame Canet (Tell No One) directs his girlfriend Marion Cotillard in this crime drama with Clive Owen
BOYHOOD -Richard Linklater's 12 years in the making family drama (reviewed)

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER - though they ignored him last time
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES -though they ignored them last time
DARK PLACES - Charlize Theron as a woman who survived the brutal murder of her family as a child
THE DROP -with Tom Hardy. Based on Dennis Lehane's "Animal Rescue"
EDGE OF TOMORROW - Tom Cruise & Emily Blunt team up. Scifi Action
ELEANOR RIGBY - Jessica Chastain & James McAvoy break apart from both perspectives. This was once two regular-length films. Looks like they're conjoining it in a new edit. Here's the review of the original cut(s)

END OF THE TOUR Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace. From James Ponsoldt (indie director on the rise)
EXODUS: GODS & KINGS - Ridley Scott's biblical epic with Christian Bale
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD - Remake of the 60s Julie Christie film. With Carey Mulligan
FOXCATCHER - true bizarre story of Olympics, wrestling, and murder
FURY - Brad Pitt and younger male stars in a tank in WW II
THE GAMBLER - Mark Wahlberg and fine actresses in a remake of the James Caan film
GET ON UP - James Brown biopic. With Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer in support
THE GIVER - YA Dystopia. That's going around. But this one's got Streep & Bridges
GODZILLA - high end remake of the monster movie classic. Amazing cast
GONE GIRL - David Fincher with another dark thriller. With Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.
GRACE OF MONACO - Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly. Cannes Opening Night. Final cut issues
GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL - Wes Anderson's hit. They've mostly ignored his others
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY - Marvel goes to outerspace. But it's still a superhero film and they don't really care for those...

THE HOBBIT 3 - Because they keep nominating them (sigh)
THE HOMESMAN - Western with Hilary Swank & Tommy Lee Jones
THE HUNDRED FOOT JOURNEY - Lasse Halström directs Helen Mirren in this restaurateur drama
HUNGER GAMES 3 - Though they ignored the others
IMITATION GAME -Benedict Cumberbatch in a WWII drama / bio 
THE IMMIGRANT - James Gray's handsome period drama about a woman, a pimp, and a magician
INHERENT VICE - P.T. Anderson adapted the Thomas Pynchon novel. With Joaquin Phoenix

The reigning Best Actor returns in Chris Nolan's "Interstellar"

INTERSTELLAR - Chris Nolan returns with an original about space travel. With Matthew McConaughey
INTO THE WOODS - Rob Marshall's adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's fairytale musical
JERSEY BOYS -Clint Eastwood's adaptation of the Broadway musical
THE JUDGE - Robert Downey Jr in a legal drama
JUPITER ASCENDING - Another crazy ass spectacle from the Wachowski Siblings
KILL THE MESSENGER - Jeremy Renner takes on the CIA. From the director of L.I.E. 
THE LAST FIVE YEARS - Adaptation of the great Off Broadway musical. With Anna Kendricks
A LITTLE CHAOS - Kate Winslet & Stanley Tucci competing for King Louis XIV's favor in this period drama from Alan Rickman
LOST RIVER - Ryan Gosling's directorial debut about a surreal underworld (formerly "How To Catch a Monster") With Christina Hendricks
LOVE IS STRANGE - Gay senior drama. With John Lithgow & Alfred Molina (reviewed)
LOW DOWN -music biopic with John Hawkes as a drug addict
LUCY -Scarlett Johansson gains incredible powers in this actioner

MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT - Woody Allen's latest, a period comedy with Colin Firth
MAPS TO THE STARS -Cronenberg's Hollywood satire. With Julianne Moore
MALEFICENT - Angelina Jolie as everyone's favorite Disney villain
THE MAZE RUNNER -YA sci-fi with Teen Wolf's breakout star
McFARLAND Niki Caro (Whale Rider, North Country) directs Kevin Costner in a sports drama
MEN WOMEN AND CHILDREN Jason Reitman again (he's prolific). Ensemble dramedy
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL - Jeff Nichols (Mud) returns with Michael Shannon in  supernatural drama
MILLION WAYS TO DIE... - Seth MacFarlane directs a Western Comedy
MISS JULIE Liv Ullman directs Jessica Chastain in this Strindberg stage classic
MOJAVE - Desert set thriller with Oscar Isaac & Garrett Hedlund
A MOST VIOLENT YEAR - Jessica Chastain & Oscar Isaac in a NYC thriller set in 1981. From JC Chandor (All is Lost)
MUPPETS MOST WANTED - another musical from everyone's favorite felt critters
MR. TURNER - Mike Leigh returns with Timothy Spall as an eccentric painter
NIGHTCRAWLER - Jake Gyllenhaal gets super skinny in this crime drama
NOAH - Darren Aronofsky's biblical epic with Russell Crowe
PADDINGTON - An adaptation of the children's tale. Nicole Kidman is the bear's nemesis
PAWN SACRIFICE - Edward Zwick's Bobby Fischer biopic. With Tobey Maguire 

Kidman with the Camels in "Queen of the Desert"

QUEEN OF THE DESERT -Werner Herzog directs Kidman in the biopic of Gertrud Bell
ROSEWATER Jon Stewart turns to directing! Gael García Bernal stars as a tortured journalist
THE SEARCH - Michel Hazanavicious (The Artist) remakes the Monty Clift post war drama 
SERENA - Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence in bestseller period drama. If they ever release it.
SIN CITY 2 - Though they ignored the first one...
SNOWPIERCER - Boon Jong-Ho's acclaimed scifi dystopia with an all star cast and final cut issues
STARRED UP - Prison drama. With 2014's probably breakout star Jack O'Connell (reviewed)
SUITE FRANCAISE - Michelle Willliams and Matthias Schoenaerts in this WW II French Village drama
ST. VINCENT -Young boy befriended by eccentric neighbor. With Bill Murray

TAMMY - Melissa McCarthy road trip comedy. With Susan Sarandon
THEORY OF EVERYTHING - Stephen Hawking biopic with Eddie Redmayne
TRANSFORMERS 4 - Because they keep nominating them... (sigh)
TRACKS - Mia Wasikowska trekking through the desert. From John Curran
TRASH - Oscar magnet Stephen Daldry directs a drama about... I can't sum it up in one line
TRUE STORY - Jonah Hill stars in this journalist stolen identity drama
TWO DAYS ONE NIGHT - The Dardenne Bros and a desperately poor Marion Cotillard
TWO FACES OF JANUARY - Adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith thriller

UNBROKEN - Angelina Jolie's WWII prestige drama starring Jack O'Connell
THE WATER DIVINER - Russell Crowe directs and stars in this period drama about a man searching for his missing sons post Gallipoli
WHIPLASH - Sundance smash with Miles Teller as a drummer and J.K. Simmons as his father
WILD - Jean Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club) directs Reese Witherspoon in this hiking drama based on a bestseller
X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST - the mutant gangs all back. Not that Oscar has ever cared... 

Cate Blanchett's Voice joins the cast of How to Train Your Dragon 2

(the foreign & indie ones are hard to predict this early in terms of when they're finished / arriving.)

BIG HERO 6 - Marvel and Disney team up to create an original superhero team
BOOK OF LIFE - Guillermo del Toro produced romantic animated film which takes place during the day of the dead. Wasn't Pixar doing something on that topic, too? 
THE BOXTROLLS - Laika Animation and they're the new Pixar their quality is so consistent
HOME - Dreamworks animation about an alien
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 - sequel to the oscar nominated fantasy
THE LEGO MOVIE - massive hit with an original song possibility
MR PEABODY & SHERMAN - already opened but in a year without a Pixar release the category is wide open
RIO 2 - colorful birds again but in a year without a Pixar (repeat) 

PROBABLY 2015...

Meryl Streep in Suffragette

CAROL - Todd Haynes directs lesbian drama based on a Patricia Highsmith novel. With Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara and Sarah Paulson
EVEREST - Jake Gyllenhaal in mountain climbing adventure
GENIUS - Colin Firth as a legendary book editor. With Nicole Kidman & Jude Law
MACBETH -Fassbender & Cotillard are the evil royals in this Shakespearean adaptation. Oscar isn't usually too keen on Shakespeare but you never know...
SUFFRAGETTE - All star period drama about the womens' rights. Carey Mulligan headlines.


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Reader Comments (30)

Any hope for 'Tracks'?

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

Liv Ullman's Miss Julie with Jessica Chastain

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

You've forgotten The End of the Tour. It's Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace.

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

May I offer a VERY early FYC for Bonello's Saint-Laurent in Best Costume Design? In my opinion, Anaïs Romand did the best work of this field in 2011 for L'Apollonide.

P.S.: I know you're always over capacity with the film section of the blog, but I miss every week your thoughts on Mad Men.

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPivo

Not that I really think it has much of a shot, but what about Glazer's Under the Skin? If anything I thought it was beautifully crafted with a great performance...

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTrace

I'm hoping that The Boxtrolls will be good!

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

Though a few animated foriegn features will join the race, I believe there will be only 3 nominated movies in the category this year (i.e., less than 16 movies in the race).

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterYonatan

And how about Russell Crowe's directorial debut, The Water Diviner?

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterYonatan

A Little Chaos (2015?)

Pawn Sacrifice (No one is talking about it but it's about Bobby Fischer whom I idolize as a chess player and find fascinating as a person)

I'm almost sure MacBeth will not come out this year. I hope I'm wrong.

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

Also, you forgot (typical! :p) the Say What contest.

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

I wonder if the Academy will want to posthumously nominate Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his last two roles (that is, A Most Wanted Man, or God's Pocket). I mean, if he's quite good in them (and he always is), you never know. Other than that, I can't think of anything that's obviously missing.

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Mr. Turner. Mike Leigh, Timothy Spall, possible best actor contender?

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJim

Locke - Tom Hardy giving an oscar worthy performance

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark

A few possibilities:

The Book of Life: Animated, 20th Century FOX is backing it. Their track record isn't strong, but they could still make it in an weak year.

McFarland: Costner sports films seem to be a dime-a-dozen lately, but true story/Disney/November release could equal a Saving Mr. Banks scenario. Niki Caro's gotten actors in before

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Also, there's always the chance that Malick releases Knights of Cup.

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Pivo -- i haven't forgotten Mad Men. just behind. i schedule too many things. (sigh)

May 1, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

GKids is releasing Ghibli's Princess Kaguya.

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterReuben

i'm betting my money on Suite Francaise, a nom for Williams. Also two noms for Chastain (Rigby, AMVY). I think Chastain could pull it off.

I'm so curious how the whole drama with Grace of Monaco will turn up. I think that if it gets good reviews in Cannes, Weinstein will keep it, otherwise it's toast.

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJones

The best actress ever, aka Gena Rowlands, has two movies coming!

Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks (I can't believe, a leading role, aged 84!) and Parts per Billion.

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Locke! I saw it a week ago and still can't stop thinking about how amazing it was.

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

I keep seeing the acronym "YA"... What does it stand for? Thanks!

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

Marcos -- that means Young Adult. People say YA as in YA Novels (that demo is a whole genre now it's so popular and samey samey -- heroines, the supernatural, dystopias, etcetera)

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I think you pretty much got it covered.

The animated film lineup could be a wasteland this year. 3 out of those 8 already came out and I wouldn't nominate any one of them. The Boxtrolls looks incredible and that teaser released late last year was amazing. Laika FTW finally.

Is Jessica Chastain looking to top everyone again or WHAT? All three of hers sound incredibly promising. Miss Julie is already giving me Bergman vibes, ugh.

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

Coming Home by Zhang Yimou? I'd love for it to be the vehicle that drives a first Oscar nom for Gong Li.

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRon

Thanks for the explanation Nathaniel!

May 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

How about Filth with James McAcoy? Didn't he win a couple of prizes on the other side of the pond last year?

May 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

The Tale of Princess Kaguya for animated. It will be in the Director's Fortnight at Cannes, will be released by GKids and is from Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies) and produced by Studio Ghibli.

May 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJuanL

Ryan T -- James McAvoy was amazing in Filth, but there's no way he's getting anything for it - if the voters had trouble watching 12 Years A Slave (and even Shame), there's no way in hell those old dudes are sitting through Filth. Great movie, though!

May 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

I'm really interested to see how Philip Seymour Hoffman's "God's Pocket" and "A Most Wanted Man" fare this season.

May 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Sorry it's a bit late, but is Atom Egoyan's new film THE CAPTIVE gong to be released in the US this year? If so, it looks to me as something that might qualify, going by it's trailer (Oscar has flirted with Egoyan once, almost 20 years ago).

May 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTravis C

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