Oscar Watch – Pretenders & Contenders

Posted: October 17, 2012 in Movies

It’s fall and in the movie business that means it’s go time for all the films that have serious Academy Award aspirations.  Historically, films released in the months October through December have a very good chance at netting Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations.  However, the past two Best Picture Oscar winners – The King’s Speech and The Artist – were released in January.

Each week I’ll take a look at the major Academy Award categories with their pretenders and contenders.

This year looks to be a pretty good year for film (as last year was pretty weak), so let’s take a look at some of the Best Picture contenders:


Ben Affleck’s hostage thriller is being labeled as the best film of the year, and it’s hard to argue with that assertion when the Rotten Tomatoes review score is a 95%.  That’s awesomely high for Affleck’s dark comedy drama and could catapult him to his second Oscar nomination and his first as a director.  Argo, being released so early in the Oscar season, could suffer from falling by the way side – although I think the film is strong enough to maintain its high showing.  Argo might be the biggest CONTENDER so far this awards season.



Steven Spielberg’s Abraham Lincoln biopic Lincoln has been favorably reviewed from early screenings but one thing that stands out is that the film is slow, boring, and word is that the film’s star – Daniel Day-Lewis – gets out shone in the film by co-star Tommy Lee Jones.  It’s nothing against Tommy Lee Jones, as he’s a fantastic actor, and he’s long over due for an Oscar, which he hasn’t won since 1994.  The film however, if more than well done enough to garner Best Picture consideration.  I do think that Lincoln could suffer in the long run and get left out of the awards consideration.  I really think Lincoln will turn out to be a PRETENDER.


Life of Pi

This stylistic film about an Indian boy who gets shipwrecked with a tiger.  The trailer makes the film look fantastic but I’m always skeptical about those bright vivid films – like What Dreams May Come – because often times the plot, acting, and direction gets lost in the style that the film is trying to emulate.  The film doesn’t come out until the end of November and Ang Lee is the director so you always have to wonder about the direction when Lee is attached (won best director for Broke Back Mountain) but the film has been getting some pretty good pub early on, so you can likely count this one as a CONTENDER.


Les Miserables

The long-awaited musical starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, which doesn’t come out until Christmas day, should garner enough pub and money to be a serious Best Picture CONTENDER.  Jackman and Hathaway were born to play these roles and could even garner Best Actor/Actress consideration.


Django Unchained

It’s been awhile since Quentin Tarantino has won an Oscar, since 1994 when he won the Best Director Oscar for Pulp Fiction, in fact.  While Django Unchained may be one of Tarantino’s more laid back films but the same was said about Inglorious Basterds too.  And Tarantino was nominated for Best Director for that one.  Django Unchained has enough star power to carry a well written film like this one.  I would expect the film to be a strong CONTENDER.
Of course there are other Best Picture quality films out there, coming to the big screen:

– Beasts of the Southern Wild

– Silver Linings Playbook

– Skyfall

– Flight

– Moonrise Kingdom

– The Master

– Zero Dark Thirty

– Cloud Atlas

– The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey


Next week I’ll take a closer look at some Best Actor performances of note.



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