Oscar season preview (September/October) Part 1: ‘Gravity’ leading the pack in gorgeous trailers

Posted: September 5, 2013 in Movies

The summer blockbuster season is over, and it was a rather lackluster season at that, but September is usually the kickoff month for Oscar contenders and Oscar season in general.   Argos march to its Best Picture trophy began in late September last year and kept its momentum up long enough to make a last impression in Academy voters minds.  Several films opening this month and early next month hope to follow Argo’s lead, here’s a few of them:



Director: Denis Villeneuve

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Terrance Howard, Viola Davis, Melissa Leo

Synopsis: How far would you go to protect your child? Keller Dover (Jackman) is facing every parent’s worst nightmare. His six-year-old daughter, Anna, is missing, together with her young friend, Joy, and as minutes turn to hours, panic sets in. The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had earlier been parked on their street. Heading the investigation, Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) arrests its driver, Alex Jones (Paul Dano), but a lack of evidence forces the only suspect’s release. Knowing his child’s life is at stake, the frantic Dover decides he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands. But just how far will this desperate father go to protect his family?

Rotten Tomato Score: 100%

Mark’s Take: Just watching the trailer makes me want to give Hugh Jackman ALL OF THE OSCARS.  I mean, seriously, if this performance (at least from the trailers) doesn’t get him an Oscar win…he’s probably never going to win one.  Top down all of the performances in the trailer give me extremely high hopes for this film.  It’s directed by Denis Villeneuve, a foreign director making his US debut and it’s a strong debut at that.  My prediction; Best Picture nom, Best Actor nom, Best Supporting Actor noms – Gyllenhaal/Dano, Best Director nom.



Director: Ron Howard

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Olivia Wilde

Synopsis: The epic action-drama stars Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers) as the charismatic Englishman James Hunt and Daniel Brühl (Inglourious Basterds) as the disciplined Austrian perfectionist Niki Lauda, whose clashes on the Grand Prix racetrack epitomized the contrast between these two extraordinary characters, a distinction reflected in their private lives. Set against the sexy and glamorous golden age of Formula 1 racing, Rush portrays the exhilarating true story of two of the greatest rivals the world has ever witnessed-handsome English playboy Hunt and his methodical, brilliant opponent, Lauda. Taking us into their personal lives on and off the track, Rush follows the two drivers as they push themselves to the breaking point of physical and psychological endurance, where there is no shortcut to victory and no margin for error. If you make one mistake, you die.

Rotten Tomato Score: 100%

Mark’s Take: Ron Howard hasn’t been in Oscar contention since his Best Picture/Best Director nominations for Benjamin Button, but his latest film Rush will likely propel him back into the conversation.  Chris Hemsworth will be looking to cement his status as serious A-list actor and maybe even throw himself into a Best Actor convo.  I don’t expect this film to ultimately be in the conversation come February but it will be nice filler until November/December.



Director: Alfonso Cuaron

Starring: George Clooney, Sandra Bullock

Synopsis: GRAVITY, directed by Oscar (R) nominee Alfonso Cuaron, stars Oscar (R) winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in a heart-pounding thriller that pulls you into the infinite and unforgiving realm of deep space. Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney). But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone.

Rotten Tomato Score: 100%

Mark’s Take: Alfonso Cuaron is a very skilled director.  He’s especially good at making the audience care about the bigger picture no matter what’s going on with his main characters (just watch Children of Men to be sure).  Gravity has only two actors on screen during the entire film; Clooney and Bullock.  I expect both of them to be nominated and at least Bullock to seriously be considered.  Clooney will have a harder time winning as the Academy has not always been on his side, plus the competition is likely to be more stiff.  Cuaron will most definitely get a Best Director nomination and more than likely win.  Gravity is being labeled as the greatest science fiction film of all time.  While I won’t go that far, the trailers do make a convincing argument.


All is Lost

Director: J.C. Chandor

Starring: Robert Redford

Synopsis: Academy Award-nominated writer/director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) takes the helm for this tense adventure drama about a man (Robert Redford) who must fight for survival after being lost at sea.

Rotten Tomato Score: 100%

Mark’s Take: Robert Redford has chosen his roles more carefully in the past several years but it’s been quite some time since he’s been in the “Oscar nomination” category.  However, his turn as a boater lost at sea will more than likely endear Academy voters to at least consider him for a nomination.  J.C. Chandor is a relatively new director in Hollywood with only 2011’s Margin Call under his belt, but he’s been nominated for an Oscar before for his screenplay on Margin Call.  So he’s no slouch to high acclaim.  All is Lost just might be enough for Chandor to be recognized as one of the next great director’s in Hollywood.


Stay tuned for Part 2 of this four part series…










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