How are you feeling about the forthcoming Oscar race? Do you think we've seen several prime contenders or mostly none at all? When will you feel it's truly begun?
David Poland at Movie City News just asked the Gurus of Gold (including yours truly) to rank the forthcoming Oscar races in three different categories: widely seen already / playing the festivals / opening late in the year. You can see the charts here. If you trust "the wisdom of crowds" as it were, Carol, Inside Out, and Mad Max Fury Road are in the best positions thus far of movies that have already screened. This confuses me a bit as Carol's reviews in Cannes felt more admiring than deeply in love which can be but is not always a problem with the Academy. Plus it'll have to survive the current turmoil at the Weinstein Company. Inside Out, while a true return to form, still has to deal with the fact that it's an animated movie from a studio that has been terrifically well rewarded already that they won't feel they owe a single thing to, in a time frame in which "wow, animated movies can be just as good as live action movies!" is no longer a revelatory angle but just a "duh!" part of the landscape, and whose future slate does not suggest that it's a return to form for good since the upcoming slate is largely sequels. And though I love Mad Max: Fury Road as much as anyone -- I'll be very surprised if it doesn't make my top ten -- I'm still having trouble imagining it as a true player. The fourth film in a long dead franchise that they never cared about before (zero nominations) in a genre they don't care about (apocalyptic sci-fi) from a director who has remained an outsider by choice (George Miller) starring actors they probably like but are inarguably not obsessed with, whose pleasures often focus on practical effects and stunts (for which Oscar has no category). I'm trying to find the Oscar hook beyond ecstatic reviews (which several other movies will also have by years end as that's how the season always goes) but if there is one it's invisible! I'm more bullish on Youth and Brooklyn, largely because they seem more traditional in terms of Oscar appeal for reasons involving both topics and tone.
P.S. #1 Toronto is less than two weeks away. Eep!
P.S. #2 Are you joining us for Hit Me With Your Best Shot - Mad Max: Fury Road? That's Monday night, September 7th! I'll try not to choose the shot above which filled me with wild shameless feminist glee in the movie theater... but I might. We'll see.
P.S. #3 More on Oscar's Foreign Language Film race very soon but watch out for Germany. They've just selected Labyrinth of Lies and, as you may recall from last year's TIFF write-ups, it's quite good. And Oscar friendly, too. It's a Holocaust movie that doesn't feel like 'just another Holocaust movie' because it's coming at the topic from a far less overworked angle, as its about a lawyer investigating unpunished war crimes in the 1960s.