Cannes Film Festival has came and gone, and with that the road-map to the awards season becomes a little more clear, but remains very hazy to say the least. So comes the time for me to finally make some Oscar predictions for next year. Last year I was able to make predictions within a fortnight of the previous awards ceremony, and managed to do quite well. I nailed four of the Best Picture nominees, and wasn’t too far off on the rest of them. The only two big “whiffs” were One Day and The Artist, the latter of which hadn’t yet played at Cannes and almost no one knew about. As for One Day, well, everybody is allowed to look foolish every now and then.
At Cannes, the most well received films tended to be of the foreign language variety, which don’t get much consideration when it comes to the Best Picture category. Screenplay and acting nominations are a possibility if they are lucky, but Letters from Iwo Jima was the last foreign language film to be nominated for Best Picture, and even that was directed by Clint Eastwood. I could see Rust and Bone potentially breaking through, as well as maybe The Grandmasters considering the people involved. As for the performances, Nicole Kidman, Mads Mikkelsen, and Marion Cotillard all received high praise, with Mikkelsen taking home the award for best actor. The best actress award was split between the two leads of Christian Mungui’s Beyond the Hills, but I highly doubt either of them will receive much attention next winter.
The number of big name titles playing at Cannes this year was larger than usual, although most of the American films didn’t really establish themselves as contenders to be dealt with. Killing Them Softly and Lawless both played well, but didn’t blow anybody out of the water. Lee Daniel’s The Paperboy was highly anticipated, but was destroyed by critics in attendance despite giving high praise to Nicole Kidman’s performance. Moonrise Kingdom opened up the Festival to a warm reception, but I would argue that Anderson’s quirky style likely will never result in a Best Picture nomination, even though a screenplay or performance nominations are still strong possibilities. Holy Motors and Beasts of the Southern Wild were the real hot names at the Festival. The former is way too wild and exotic to ever get the Academy’s attention, while the latter was a Sundance hit that might be limited when it comes to playing in theaters.
Presentations at Cannes for The Master, Silver Linings Playbook, and Django Unchained were all well received and have heightened expectations. The Wachowski’s Cloud Atlas was screened for a select few, and despite the movie being played at just under three hours, most people were blown away by what they saw. Along with Cannes, in the past few weeks there have been a couple movies that have been moved to 2013, most notably Inside Llewyn Davis and Gravity, and they won’t be the last.
While there are plenty of other major players out there, I find there to be three major wild cards for this awards season. First, this summer’s The Dark Knight Rises will open up to what will surely be universal praise. It’s predecessor was one of the reasons why the Academy switched to ten Best Picture nominees, I just doubt that critics will welcome this one as openly. I love Tom Hardy as much as the next guy, but Heath Ledger was the real reason why that movie reached the levels it did, and it’s hard to ask for that same performance from anybody else. Another wild card is The Great Gatsby, an adaptation of a beloved novel. Baz Luhrman is as up and down as they come, and the recent trailer didn’t move me one way or the other. Either he hits it out of the park and it’s the favorite for a number of awards, or it’s a huge swing and miss that even the Golden Globes laughs at. And lastly, the first chapter of The Hobbit opens this winter. Jackson’s prequels to Lord of the Rings has a lot of different variables that will affect how well its received. There’s the higher film rate that people will have to adjust to, revisiting a world that we’ve already walked through three times, and the film isn’t going to have a true conclusion and story arc because it’s only half of a movie. That last part didn’t stop the first two movies from being heavily nominated, however.
I’ve listed which movies I believe will receive a nomination, and around 15 more contenders that I believe have a legitimate shot at an award. All names will be in alphabetical order, and I’m only predicting nominations and not winners.
What movies do you believe are contenders for the Oscars next year? Any movies out there that could surprise us by the end of the year?
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