On the 24th January the Oscar nominations will finally be announced and ten films will be competing for the coveted Best Picture award. Since 2010, when the rules allowed for an extra five films to compete in this category it had become much more difficult to determine which one will prove successful and now the new rules state that between five and ten films can be nominated depending on if they meet the Academy’s voting criteria. Although it is hard to judge at the moment because many of the films have yet to be released in the UK, through a combination of Oscar Buzz, betting odds and the opinions of renowned critics, one can deduce from this the likely selection of films that will adorn the Best Picture Category.
In any list of films nominated there are always the front runners, which, usually go on to win the academy award. This year is no different with Michael Hazanavicius’ silent film The Artist, Spielberg’s War Horse and Scorsese’s Hugo the early favourites for glory. These will almost certainly be nominated and likely win. The Golden Globes have already announced their nominations and this is always a good indication when deducing likely Oscar nominations. Therefore also potentially expect to see films such as Oscar favourite, Alexander Payne’s, The Descendents and well as typical awards fodder The Help and The Ides of March.
These are almost guaranteed their seat at the ceremony but what of the other films which could shimmy their way into the running and possibly cause an upset. With there being up to ten spaces now, films that may not be seen as Oscar winners but were interesting and exciting movies are beginning to make their way into the nominations. So what are these films to look out for?
Although shunned by the Golden Globe nominations, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy was a thrilling drama that could quite easily win, were it not for it being maybe slightly too confusing for mainstream audiences, then again that didn’t stop Inception winning multiple awards last year. No doubt, along with Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur it will it sweep up at independent awards though. Another long shot is the fantastic Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which was a great re-imagining of the classic, but could be seen by some as too much of a popcorn movie. There is also a lot of talk, after its Golden Globe nomination, of comedy Bridesmaids receiving a nomination, and why not? Comedies are often overlooked by the academy which seems to come from snobbery at the academy and besides Annie Hall and As Good as it Gets; they haven’t fared so well as a whole.
Another option is perhaps the Harry Potter franchise. With Deathly Hallows: Part 2 coming out in the summer the Academy may show due reverence to the impact of the blockbuster saga by granting the finale with an Oscar nomination as they did with the Lord of the Rings back in 2004 where The Return of the King took all 11 Oscars that it was nominated for, which was seen as Hollywood praising the entire series. This unfortunately is very unlikely though.
Many great films throughout the year have been shunned already by some of the larger awards bodies. Films like Lynne Ramsey’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, the outstanding documentary Senna, which has gone on to be a respectable box-office and critical success and Ryan Gosling’s Drive which has also been a huge hit with critics. Its director Nicholas Winding Refn was praised at Cannes, winning the Palme D’Or while Empire named it their best film of the year. Its mix of old school filmmaking and narrative could see it slide into one of the nomination spots.
As the awards season continues I shall be monitoring the process and commentate on potential winners and surprises. With so many films that could possibly win and no clear out and out favourite, although it is The Artist that is gathering all the momentum so far, this promises to be one of the most interesting award seasons ever.
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