Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April Best Picture Predictions...

Anna Karenina


The Dark Knight Rises


The Great Gatsby

Hyde Park on Hudson

Les Miserables



The Surrogate

So last year, at this time, I correctly predicted four of Oscar’s nine (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Moneyball, The Tree of Life and War Horse).  I want to think that I’ll do better this year, but I have a feeling that I won’t.  What’s funny is that of the four I got correct last year, three of them barely made it (Moneyball was the only film that was pretty much locked going into nomination morning).  So, let’s dissect this list a bit and see why I’m predicting what I’m predicting.

First, there are the ‘BIG’ movies; the period epics of sorts.  There is Les Miserables, Anna Karenina and The Great Gatsby.  They all have serious pluses and minuses.  Les Miserables is probably the safest bet, and honestly, it has a really great shot at sweeping through awards season winning many, many awards.  Tom Hooper is proven gold in this genre, and the source material is ridiculously baity.  Sure, the 1998 film went nowhere, but it was also a different animal.  This is going to be a musical starring actors who can sing, and Hooper is reeling off his recent win, so all eyes will be on this.  Sure, if it misses it could miss huge (there is so much riding on this) but my bets is that this is going to reap major rewards come Oscar season.  Anna Karenina is a tad trickier.  Joe Wright has been delivering quality work since he started back in 2005 (granted, I have refused to see The Soloist) and so it’s only a matter of time before he is embraced.  Knightley, Law, Williams…they are primed and ready for something like this, and the stills looks glorious; but there is the factor of his staging, which seems to be experimental and could rub Academy members the wrong way.  Still, I really think that this could hit huge, and maybe a more restrained Wright may sway them to eat this up.  The biggest gamble, in my opinion, is The Great Gatsby.  Baz is a wild one.  Outside of Moulin Rouge, he hasn’t been touched by the Academy.  His visual style is abrasive and very unique.  The last time he went ubber serious it resulted in Australia, which many a critic wrote off as a serious mess.  BUT, this is Fitzgerald and the lingering bad taste from the 1974 Coppola disaster could have Academy members wanting this to ‘come alive’ in more visionary hands.  Besides, DiCaprio, Edgerton and Mulligan are hot commodities right now.  Honestly, it’s the 3D that worries me the most.


I know, I’m scratching my head on that one too, but in a way I think it makes a lot of sense.  Prometheus is the one I have the most faith in, mainly because I think that the fact that Scott is so due for an Oscar could propel votes in his favor.  The original Alien films are heavily respected, and Scott excels in science fiction.  His best films dwell in that realm, and a return to form could spark a revival in admiration for his talent.  The Dark Knight Rises caps off a very successful superhero trilogy, and we all know that The Dark Knight was VERY close to breaking the top 5 back in 2008.  If Nolan ups the ante and delivers a respectable endcap then I really think that the Academy will feel compelled to reward him and the movie.  I could be very wrong, but if the box-office is huge (it will be) then it could easily make Best Picture, even if Nolan is once again snubbed in Director.  And then we have Gravity, which is also a really big questionmark.  I mean, the film seems so odd and yet so compelling.  Could this be that artsy science fiction film that blows everyone away, garners a slew of technical mentions and then surprises with Oscar by landing in Picture and Director…ala The Tree of Life?  It has promise, and then again, it could easily bomb, being perceived as a vanity piece.  A lot of this is going to depend on how well Cuaron delivers his vision; but if this is perceived as HIS film then it could wind up sneaking into the top categories on his shoulders alone.

Lincoln and Hyde Park on Hudson are the two biopics in the mix, and both looks extremely different.  For me, Lincoln seems to be the more serious and concentrated film, and with Spielberg and Day-Lewis (awards magnets themselves) I really think this is going to be huge.  Hyde Park on Hudson looks a lot lighter in tone, and Murray is obvious a different breed of actor than DDL.  I can’t help but get a Blindside feel from this, like it’ll be that lighter ‘serious’ film that garners its lead actor the coveted Oscar thanks to widespread likability and walks away with a surprise Best Picture nomination thanks to his success.

And then there is Brave, the token animated Pixar film that looks amazing (it’s an Irish Mulan) and that Indie that could, namely The Surrogate, which looks REALLY good to land it’s two stars Oscar nominations.

If I had to rank these ATM, it look something like this:

1)      Les Miserables

2)      Lincoln

3)      Brave

4)      Prometheus

5)      Anna Karenina

6)      The Dark Knight Rises

7)      The Great Gatsby

8)      The Surrogate

9)      Hyde Park on Hudson

10)   Gravity

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