This time of year is the time when we start seeing trailers for films that might in contention for an Oscar in 2015. Awards season is basically a year long game at this point so a well placed trailer is becoming super important. This is just a brief round up of some of the trailers that have been released which could be heading to the Academy Awards come next March.
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
This was originally two films called ‘Him’ and ‘Her’, each a version of the same story told by a couple, James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain. Per a request from the distributor of the film, the infamous Harvey Weinstein, the film was cut into one version, ‘Them’ and this is the result. From reviews from Cannes and other festivals it is being set up for a big awards push and many are calling McAvoys performance Oscar worthy (even though, in my opinion, he should have been nominated for Filth last year). Keep a look out for this one. It’s arty and a little quirky and the Academy will always favour at least one film in that bracket.
This adaptation of the bestselling book is being directed by David Fincher and is starring Ben Affleck who is still in favour with the Academy since Argo. Gillian Flynn, the author has written the screenplay and there have been fairly solid rumours that the ending of the film is different to the book, which was a big deal for bookreaders. Rosamund Pike will be playing ‘Amazing Amy’ and there is a stellar supporting cast with ‘The Leftovers’ Carrie Coon playing Afflecks twin sister, the Blurred Lines girl Emily Ratajkowski playing Nicks mistress and Neil Patrick Harris as a creepy former boyfriend of Amy’s. While the Oscar focus probably won’t be on the acting side, David Fincher would be in with a shot at Best Director, and perhaps a Best Picture, Editing and Screenplay nods also.
Brad Pitt stars in this end of WW2 epic by ‘End of Watch’ and ‘Training Day’ director David Ayer. It follows a platoon of American soldiers, led by Pitt, in the dying weeks and days of World War 2. Shia la Beouf and Logan Lerman also star and it looks bleak. Pitt seems to have a touch of his Lt. Aldo Raine from Inglorious Basterds in this film but reins it back to give a toughened army soldier vibe. The whole theme of this movie is that war never ends quietly and it remains bloody and horrifying right up until the end. In terms of Oscar, this type of film is always popular, American war heroes led by a All American cast fighting the Germans until the bitter end. I don’t see any acting nominations but it could definitely sneak into the Best Picture race and could be a dark horse if it gathers enough momentum.
So this looks like to be the little indie movie that could this year, a la Little Miss Sunshine (which has become the bar for little indie movies with Oscar potential). Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy star in this one about a cranky old man who gets new neighbours, McCarthy and her cute little son. And shocker, cranky older man and cute precocious boy become buddies. It’s quirky and sentimental and features Chris O’ Dowd as priest and Naomi Watts as a Eastern European prostitute. Best shots here are Best Picture and Best Actor for Bill Murray, who thoroughly deserves it.
This film should just be retitled “Reese Witherspoon Wants Another Oscar, Please”. Wild follows Witherspoon as she undertakes a ‘Eat Pray Love’ but with blisters type journey to ‘rediscover’ herself. Usually I would eye-roll at a movie like this, but it was directed by Jean Marc-Vallee who directed ‘The Dallas Buyers Club’ and has supporting turns from Gaby Hoffman, Laura Dern and The Newsrooms Thomas Sadoski. But the star of this show is without a doubt Witherspoon who wants another Oscar bad. Although I am conviced she will come up against Amy Adams and lose as Adams is going be starring in Tim Burtons ‘Big Eyes’ and people are already saying its Adams’ time to win a little gold man (No trailer for Big Eyes yet but by all accounts it is amazing).
Ok so if you want one lock for a Best Actor nomination it will be Michael Keaton for Birdman. Yes, THAT Michael Keaton. Word is, is that this is the film that might very well win Batman an Oscar. The trailer is insane in the best possible way. It’s directed by Mexican director Alejandro G. Inarritu, whose films include ‘Babel’ and ’21 Grams’ and it also stars Emma Stone, Ed Norton, Naomi Watts and Zach Galifinakis. Keaton stars as a washed up actor famous for one iconic role, Birdman, who tries to shake the image when he tries to get a Broadway play off the ground. Things start getting a little surreal when he starts battling his own ego and mind in the days leading up to the play. Basically it looks weird and amazing and Michael Keaton is going to be nominated for an Oscar.
The Imitation Game
The Imitation Game is one of those trailers that will leave you in varying states of shock, in a good way. This film looks amazing. Flat, hands down amazing. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as genius Alan Turing, who is most well known for The Turing Test, but here it focuses on his astounding work during WW2 when he almost singlehandedly developed the code breaking machines that basically won the allies the war. He was a big deal. But he was also gay, in a time where it was illegal and as you can see from the trailer that it is going to be a focus of the film. The supporting cast is seriously outstanding with Keira Knightley, Allen Leech, Matthew Goode and Mark Strong making strong impressions. But this film is all about Cumberbatch and a Best Actor nomination is probably going to be his, along with a Supporting nod for Knightley. What we could see happening here is a Kings Speech type of situation where it steals the Best Picture award from a strong line up of American films, especially as Oscar God Harvey Weinstein is distributing and will want to take back his Best Picture crown. He will fight hard and dirty for ‘The Imitation Game’. Really looking forward to this one.
Richard Linkletter has made film history with this one. There has never been anything like this done on film before. And everyone knows it. In 2002 he cast 6 year old Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke in this movie and just kept filming for 12 years at different periods. It’s unbelievable. It’s completely unique and the reviews have all been outstanding. It’s looking like Best Director, Best Film, Screenplay and possibly an acting nod for Ellar Coltrane who is by all accounts, astounding. Just watch and be amazed.
Are we ready to live in a world where Channing Tatum and Steve Carell are Oscar nominees? Because with Foxcatcher, it’s looking like more and more of a possibility. The buzz around this has been building for well over a year, it was pushed back to a release date this year from 2013 because of the strength of the Oscar field last year (this year looks equally strong so the pushback may have been for nothing). The story focuses on the horrible story of how John du Pont, the rich and schizophrenic founder of ‘Team Foxcatcher” killed Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz’s brother Dave Schultz. It looks eerie and just creepy and Carell is nailing the scarily obsessed Du Pont character and Tatum has gone full Day-Lewis with his preperation, smashing mirrors and everything. Just think, in 2015 Channing Tatum could be in a Oscar race with real actors. What a world we live in.
So this being a Christopher Nolan film, not much detail is known about the characters or plot, but Interstellar is still being talked about as a potential Oscar winner (and I would a assume a total lock for the special effects award). Matthew McConaghey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain star in what looks like a not so distant future where humans have finally destroyed the planet and its resources and now our only way out of the mess is to abandon Earth and go into “Interstellar space”, whatever that means. Chris Nolan comes from the JJ Abrams school of secrets so we won’t know anything about this film until we all see it. Definitely one to watch.
Unbroken is a war film directed by Angelina Jolie based on the non fiction book by Laura Hillenbrand and focuses on the life of Olympic athlete and war vetern Louis Zamperini. This is a very cool story, Zamperini is a legend, an Olympic track star who goes to war, gets shot down into the Pacific Ocean, spends 47 days floating in said Ocean before being picked up and spending the next 2 and a half years living in several Japanese POW camps. And he survived, until he passed this July at age 97. This is the kind of story the Academy loves. It basically has everything you could want from a Oscar winning film, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s directed by Jolie. The Oscar success of this film will depend on how Jolie runs her campaign, and the concesus seems to be that she wants a Director nod as well as pushing for Jack O’ Connell who plays Zamperini.
This is this years Indie Blockbuster. The reviews have been insanely good across the board and a new movie star in Miles Teller has been found. The trailer is intense, and critics who have seen the film have been breathless at the pace and intensity it delivers. There hasn’t been one bad review. It’s made the rounds at all the major festivals, and will be showing at the autumn festivals too, so an Oscar campaign is sure to follow. While it might not win anything major, nominations in the Best Supporting Actor category for JK Simmons seems like its best shot.
The Theory of Everything
So I won’t lie, I teared up watching this trailer. Like The Imitation Game, it kind of sucker punches you and leaves you feeling a bit breathless. Eddie Redmayne plays Stephen Hawking and just from the trailer he absolutely nails it. Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox and David Thewlis round out the cast, but it’s Redmayne who is stealing the show. I was floored by his transformation, and you really feel it when Hawking gets his motor neurone diagnosis. I was a slight wreck after watching it. If this film ends up being as good as it looks then we might have a Best Picture winner, as well as a Best Actor. I was floored.