Apologies: Having some computer maintenance issues today so it's slow going this weekend on these new Oscar predictions. Currently offline, I'm marvelling at the lack of Original material in the movies this year. It seems like almost all the major contenders are adapted from books or plays. For every 7 viable from a distance adapted contenders there's maybe one something that seems "original" screenplay-ish. Hmmmm.
Entries in Oscars (11) (326)
Will 2011 go down in history as the year when animation's hot streak finally cooled? Oh sure, bix box office awaits a great number of the toons arriving this year but box office isn't everything. You can be a huge hit and impress virtually no one (just look through some past box office charts and think about the way people talk about some of those "blockbusters") since audiences have a Pavlovian response to certain genres in certain decades with certain ubiquitous forms of advertising: Must Buy Ticket.
It's hard to figure which animated films will be nominated for Best Animated Feature come January since half of the releases (literally by my count) are sequels. Sequels are judged differently than original fare. Half of our response (at the very least) is in the way the new film dialogues with the old. Does it add to the conversation, merely parrot it, deepen it, spoil it, change it? Once studio creatives get too self-referential or repetitive they can turn into a soulless production line workers and whole genres can become museum pieces rather than evolving vivid living things. The documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty, which I highly recommend to animation lovers, charts this very problem in regards to Disney. It documents the dwindling audience love and studio creativity in the 1980s through to its spectacular rebirth in the early 90s. It's a good film to see to remind ourselves that we can only borrow heat from past glories for so long before things gets chilly.
Here's a potentially happy visual extro that has nothing to do with this year's Oscars. Here are three concept drawings from Pixar's Summer 2012 feature BRAVE.
Since the delightfully cute-looking Newt was cancelled it's Pixar's only original film in the pipeline with sequels to Cars (this year) and Monster's Inc (called Monsters University in late 2012) bookending it. Brave (formerly titled The Bear and the Bow) features their very first lead heroine "Merida" (voiced by Kelly MacDonald), and was at one point going to be Pixar's first movie directed by a woman and then it wasn't and now it's (co)directed by her. It's also NOT a sequel. Let's hope it's great so that 50% of the population (the ones with vaginas) don't get blamed for spoiling Pixar's unbroken winning streak*.
*If you ask me this "ALWAYS PERFECT" business is a myth, a huge pitcher of Kool-Aid we all drank. It would be much healthier to let go of it. Though it made a billion dollars Cars (2006) is NOT a good movie. People are always (still) making excuses for it like "I didn't love it but..." Just stop making excuses. Accept that they've already stumbled once and we won't be pressuring them with this "Perfect!" myth. And we won't be so heartbroken when they start churning out a gazillion sequels. And they won't be so nervous about mixing up the formulas a bit or scared into only making sequels.
UPDATED W/ SUGGESTIONS - FIRST WAVE CHART PREDIX (04/01 THROUGH 04/08)
As you can see over at the Oscar chart pages, I'm setting up the charts for Oscar's 84th year. This takes me awhile, alas. But here are some films I'm pondering for the "April Fool" predictions. i.e. not truly a prank but still foolish to try and guess this far in advance. I'll be filling in the pages all week. I never get this done in one day's time. Bear with me. Am I missing any 2011 films of note?
These are the films that only have to be "good". Some will be much better than that and others will be worse but they'll get plenty of attention no matter what.
- CARNAGE Roman Polanski adapts the terrific one set/four character darkly comedic stage play. Can Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz, Kate Winslet and John C Reilly pull this off?
- HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 Will Oscar take this opportunity to reward the series as a whole or will they figure a couple of nods here and there were reward enough?
- THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET Martin Scorsese tries his hand at adapting a children's book, a Caldecott winner too.
- J. EDGAR Clint Eastwood's Hoover biopic is supposedly a 2012 film. But Clint is fast and they've been filming for some time. I'd be very surprised if it wasn't December 2011.
- SUPER 8 JJ Abrams tries to become the new Spielberg with this child's eye sci-fi
- THE TREE OF LIFE Terrence Malick's mysterious 50s-era (sort of) drama. Even if people don't love it, they'll pretend that they do.
- WAR HORSE It's been six years since Steven Spielberg was enmeshed in an Oscar race (Munich). Will this WWI drama return him to AMPAS's good graces (not that he ever left. Can we please let someone else present Best Picture goddamnit.)
Many more after the jump. What am I missing? Save me from my own forgetfulness!
With filming wrapped on the stage-to-screen God of Carnage excuse me Carnage (I guess they shortened the title) from Roman Polanski we get our first still of the feuding couples played by Jodie Foster & John C Reilly (what a weird combo) and Kate Winslet & Christoph Waltz.
This is either during the arrival scene or during one of the we're leaving (only no one actually leaves) scenes. I am happy to hear that they have not adjusted the main time frame. It still takes place in real time in one evening, yay. I guess Polanski is confident enough with his craft (as well he should be) and with the play's terrifically verbal bite to not worry too much about people saying it's "stagey".
Though this statement from Jodie Foster worries me a little.
Kind of like Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, but a little funnier. There’s a lot of wit.
Er. I'm not sure you want to compete with Edward Albee in the wit department. Just saying. Few people seem to ever remember how hilarious Virginia Woolf is until they're watching it. It is a bit like being kicked in the stomach while you're laughing so maybe that's why people don't remember the funny ha-ha? God of Carnage... excuse me Carnage... is quite funny and biting and it's true that it bears a passing resemblance to Woolf? in that black comedy four character claustrophobic all in one night way. But it's less genius than Woolf? Woolf? minor maybe. But still Woolf? is so many millions of times better than most everything else in the world that being a minor version of it is still pretty damn hot.
If they've pulled it off expect Oscar nominations come January.
We already did this once during the Superbowl but here's the full trailer to J.J. Abrams Super 8, a clear attempt to recapture 80s Spielbergania. Disturbingly hypey things are flying cross the internet like 'a Best Picture nomination is all sewn up!' uh... from 2 minutes of footage? It's not like its a Holocaust drama or a biopic and looks particularly fetching. History is littered with trailers that looked awesome, the movies proving less so. We shall see. The other disturbing thing I read was that the internet had 'a collective boner'. Call me old fashioned but the only way I'd ever be interested in a collective boner was if I could handpick the orgy members. Ewww. But those caveats aside the trailer IS good. I'm a "yes." But let's play our game anyway.
Yes It certainly looks intriguing... and all the things that worked in the 30 second version (the mystery, the borrowed music, the "gee whiz it's 80s scifi!" feel) are expanded and gain in oomph at 2 minutes. Surely a good sign for the next (two hour) expansion, right?
No Sometimes when people (J.J. Abrams) try to be someone else (Steven Spielberg) they feel like jpgs that have been saved at lower resolutions. Or they miss the mark and end up like some weird amalgam (Spielberg + Shyamalan ÷ Abrams = ?) The proof, one way or the other, will be in the full 2 hours.
Maybe So I know that this is about the kids but wouldn't it be appropriately wondrous if Coach Taylor knocked a plum supporting role out of the park and had a big screen career and/or an awesome TV offer to follow his Friday Night Lights perfection since that stellar show has filmed its last scenes.
Here's the new trailer
Yes No or Maybe So people?
Okay okay, I'll bite on the overhype. Let's discuss Oscar prospects, too. A few techs or much more?