Sunday, November 16, 2008

State of the Race and Random Thoughts

There hasn't been much to report. I'll be adding a new top ten pretty much right after this post. Regarding the Oscar race, there are a few developments in my thoughts/predictions. Firstly, after seeing Rachel Getting Married three times now (yes, three times. Yes I'm obsessed) my love for the film remains at a fevered pitch. However, my confidence is dwindling that it will be enough of a crowd pleaser/sleeper hit that small films like this one often need to be in order to garner a Best Picture nomination. The hand-held style, the subject matter, the abrasiveness of the main all makes for a very polarizing movie-going experience. I will defend Rachel Getting Married to the bitter end, but I saw it with different people each time. The responses were mixed, as well as the responses (I gathered) from people leaving the theater. I still think that Hathaway will ultimately get a nomination as a final coronation and recognition of her gradual ascent into full-on movie stardom, with the acting chops and the pedigree to back it up. But this year's Juno or Little Miss Sunshine it will not be. That distinction will probably belong to Slumdog Millionaire, which I took off of my best picture predictions a few weeks ago. Now that it's gone semi-wide, and the reviews are rolling in (including a four-star kiss from Roger Ebert), the buzz officially gone from whispery festival kudos to deafening shouts. I may be wrong, but Danny Boyle's offering seems too big too ignore. They have nothing to do with each other, but for some reason, I just don't see a best picture field that includes both Slumdog Millionaire and Rachel Getting Married. And it looks like Slumdog is probably in... Of course, I can't judge for myself because Atlanta, insisting on always being two steps behind the rest of the world, won't be getting Slumdog Millionaire until December, unless I'm mistaken. Sucks. I am seeing Synechdoche, New York tomorrow and will post a review later this week.

Regarding Revolutionary Road, The Reader and the double-dipping for Ms. Winslet (trying to get her that double-nomination that she was on the cusp of in 2004), I will say this. Everyone seems to be predicting Revolutionary Road as the better contender for Best Picture, inlcuding myself (until now). The Reader had release date troubles, issues with producers and the re-casting of Winslet in a part that was meant for Nicole Kidman. But both films have ridiculously late release dates (when will studios learn that the late December rollouts aren't working the Oscar magic they used to?) and their are detractors from both. More from Revolutionary Road, if you really think about it. I've always said that the Titanic reunion is the biggest thing going for RR's Oscar chances and its chances to enchant the public. Do films about marital woes really have mass public appeal? And Sam Mendes has made some nice films since American Beauty, but neither has translated to real Oscar buzz, at least not in the category Best Picture. What about Stephen Daldry? He's been nom'd for director twice, and The Hours was a serious threat to unseat Chicago from its 2002 best picture win. Plus, there is the awards-magnet subject that is the Holocaust. It doesn't always work, but when it rains it pours, n'est pas? This has little to do with Winslet. Even if Revolutionary Road's chances fizzle and dissipate, she can still get a nomination. She still got a nomination in 2006 for Little Children and who besides me was even thinking of that movie come January? This may seem rambly, but my point is that Revolutionary Road has a lot of hurdles to overcome. Less than The Reader, which also has its share. On paper, I think The Reader has a better chance of getting a nomination and at this point I don't think either of them will, so that tells you what I think of Revolutionary Road's chances.

As for Milk, it's really been under the radar. Early buzz is positive, but incredibly hushed. It hasn't been released wide and you can't really expect an objective take on the film based on those who saw it at the screening in San Fran a few weeks ago. But I still have faith that Milk is going to be that film. My faith in Australia fluctuates daily. I hope. I will always hope. But only time will tell...

No comments: