½way mark - part 5 of ?
All this week we're taking stock of what's happened thus far in the film year but also at what's to come... at least as it involves Oscar Charts. They're updated in every category now (save Foreign Film... for which I now start the hard 70+ country research work on backstage).
Best Picture | Best Director
In these charts you'll see gains for Inside Out and Youth and Sicario after hot responses in Cannes or in theaters and for Suffragette and Steve Jobs which both arguably aced their trailer game, which helped to build perceptions of "forthcoming jewel - see it!". And though the vast bulk of the contenders in Best Director are still white American men, there is at least one woman (Sarah Gavron's Suffragette) and one African American (Ryan Coogler's Creed) and a few foreigners who you can imagine traction for if their film's explode critically or with the media or at the box office.
I've also added George Miller to the director chart -- I don't really see a precedent for an actual nomination, mind you, but it's fun to imagine the director's branch getting ballsy each year and rallying behind someone whose work really impressed in non-Oscar bait projects. And given that this 70 year old schooled just about any action director whose name isn't James Cameron, there's a lot to be impressed by. It's worth noting that his Oscar record is damn weird. He's been honored in four categories in the past, winning the Animated Feature Oscar (Happy Feet) and receiving one nomination each for Best Picture (Babe), Adapted Screenplay (Babe) and Original Screenplay (Lorenzo's Oil) ...but he's never been nominated for Best Director, and essentially he's a director who dabbles in other things. It's kind of like the hilarious statistic that Lars von Trier is only Oscar nominated as a songwriter. Tee hee.
Visuals | Sound
Though I lost a little faith in In the Heart of the Sea and Bridge of Spies, with buzz on other films growing and in the case of Spies a middling trailer, I didn't drop them for the tech charts per se. As we know the Academy's visual branches are not as prone to think outside the Best Picture box as they once were which is sad for visual artists working on movies (sometimes the individual parts are much greater than the sums). You'll notice thatMad Max Fury Road was also added to a few charts. Given the hallelujah critical chorus that greeted its arrival and the likelihood that a DVD release and top ten lists could result in a reprise of that very same chorus -- we're pretending (at least for the time being) that Oscar voters might consider it despite it being the fourth film in a franchise that they've had no time for.