I’ll be the first to admit I’m late to the party here, especially given my rather frequent posts about the Oscars, but as they say, better late than never (I’ve had other commitments impeding my rate of blogging).
Of course, with the Cannes film festival behind us, a slew of new films have been revealed to us, and it’s often the case that Cannes films can do very well at the Oscars (The Artist went on to win several awards after a warm reception at Cannes). And so here, I’ll simply make a post that briefly mentions each film, and how it was received, and the awards it could be up for (I suppose that’s the issue with writing about films one doesn’t get a chance to see, it’s difficult to give in-depth coverage and analysis on them). As ever, I’ll only be doing ‘major’ awards (picture, acting, directing and writing), since I must say I’m not the most knowledgeable on tech and craft categories, especially given I haven’t seen the movies.
The Past (Asghar Farhadi)
Following up the exceptional A Separation was never going to be an easy task, but if the Cannes responses are anything to go by, Farhadi has admirably succeeded in crafting his follow-up feature. As with the aforementioned film (which was nominated for Original Screenplay and won Foreign Language Film), it appears that The Past is another drama about the secrets and lies of a family, and it’s been praised for it’s intricacy in terms of writing and performance, as well as being one of the best reviewed films of the festival.
Best Actress – Berenice Bejo
Best Original Screenplay – Asghar Fahradi and Massoumeh Lahidji
Best Foreign Language Film
Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen)
The Coen brothers are Oscar darlings (having won four and being nominated for a further nine), so it’s safe to say that this one could be making a splash come awards season, and that’s what people have been saying prior to the film’s first screenings. Perhaps what’s most interesting about it is that now people have seen the film, the buzz for John Goodman and Carey Mulligan to be nominated in Best Supporting Actor/Actress seem to have diminished given the size of their roles (so while neither of them will be on this list, they’ll likely be in the back of people’s minds throughout the season, and campaigning could bring them back to the forefront).
On the other hand, more has been made of Oscar Isaac’s performance (having made himself aware to many, myself included with his excellent work in Drive) and there’s talk of a potential Best Actor nomination stemming from this.
Best Director – Joel and Ethan Coen
Best Actor – Oscar Isaac
Best Original Screenplay – Joel and Ethan Coen
Only God Forgives (Nicolas Winding Refn)
Speaking of Oscar Isaac and Drive, now seems as good as time as any to delve into the latest opus by it’s celebrated director Nicolas Winding Refn. Although perhaps in the context of his latest film, Only God Forgives, celebrated isn’t the best word to use, given it’s been much more polarising than Drive and, dare I say it, even a little poorly received (Refn said in an interview he thinks people will “come around” to it like they did with Drive, but from what I read when it was released, people were enamoured with Drive rather quickly, so I’ll need to disagree with him there.).
One aspect of the film that seems to be universally praised its Kristin Scott Thomas’ role as a malicious matriarch (Jacki Weaver was nominated a similar type of woman a few years back for the slightly underwhelming Animal Kingdom), so it could have a chance there.
Best Supporting Actress – Kristin Scott Thomas
Nebraska (Alexander Payne)
Between The Descendants (which I really liked) and Sideways (which I really hated), I think it’s safe to say the Academy are growing fairly fond of Alexander Payne. Critics, on the other hand, seem less fond of his latest opus, Nebraska. It’s been called overly-familiar as a film and inessential within Payne’s body of work, so I don’t see it surviving the long road to a Best Picture nomination.
He has, on the other hand, won two for Adapted screenplay (the two aforementioned films) as well as another nomination in the category for Election. So normally I’d be saying that this’ll definitely get a writing nod, but what’s interesting is that:
– it’s an original screenplay (whereas all his academy recognition has come in the adapted category).
– it wasn’t written by Payne.
I still wouldn’t be surprised if it got in there though, if just because there’s something of an association of Payne films and screenplay nominations. And of course, there’s Bruce Dern, a veteran actor who is said to give a very strong performance here (although some claimed it could be over-praised due to Academy politics and Dern’s lack of a nomination in a long career), so I wouldn’t be surprised if he slipped in.
Best Actor – Bruce Dern
Best Original Screenplay – Bob Nelson
Blue Is The Warmest Colour (Abdellatif Kechiche)
Being the first LGBT-themed film to win the prestigious Palme D’or, it’s safe to say that a lot is being written about Blue Is The Warmest Colour. But given the fact it’s in a foreign language, has a three hour running time and explicit sex, it feels like it could be out of the wheelhouse for the Academy, who have something of a tendency to be set in their ways (although they do have a fondness for awarding LGBT roles, like Sean Penn in Milk or Hillary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry), it might be a tough sell.
I’ve read some things that say that say Lea Seydoux deserves a nomination, but I feel like if there’s going to be a foreign language performance in an acting category (which the Academy seemed to have started doing – Riva in Amour, Javier Bardem in Biutiful and Marion Cotillard in La Vie En Rose), I feel like they’ll choose to reward Bejo for The Past, it seems like a safer pick.
Best Actress – Lea Seydoux
Best Foreign Language Film
Some under the radar picks
There were a few movies at Cannes that got good reception, but no major awards buzz about themselves, but there’s something about the way they were received, and the prestige of some of the cast and crew that make me feel like there’s a chance that the following films could get in somewhere (although where they might get in is not something I feel I can predict at this moment in time).
Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch)
Venus in Fur (Roman Polanski)
The Immigrant (James Gray)