By John C.
Well, The Academy has announced their pick for the best film of 2008, Slumdog Millionaire. Hollywood can calm down. Well, not really, because if you watched right until the end on the night of February 22nd, than you saw the montage of upcoming films. In a very short while people will start talking about what films will be nominated next year. Well, I’m going to talk about some films that have me interested.
Mark my words, next Oscar season we will be seeing a lot of the film Amelia, an upcoming biopic about Amelia Earhart, starring Hilary Swank. It opens October 22nd and will be distributed by Fox Searchlight. Expect nominations for Best Picture and Best Actress. Fox Searchlight has had their films nominated for Best Picture in 1997 (The Full Monty), 2004 (Sideways), 2006 (Little Miss Sunshine), 2007 (Juno) and they received their first win this year for Slumdog Millionaire. Fox Searchlight will be distributing 500 Days of Summer, about a man who has just broken up with a girl named Summer and he thinks back over the 500 days they were together and try's to figure out were they went wrong. It opens July 24th. They will also be distributing Adam, which is a love story about a young man with Aspergers Syndrome. The release date of Adam is still TBD, but it will be released in the fall. It would be great if they both got Awards recognition, but Adam will probably have the edge. Both films premiered to good reviews at Sundance.
Again the question will be asked, can an animated film make it into the rounds for Best Picture? This year Pixar’s got another sure to be masterpiece coming out on May 29th. Up, the adventures of a 78-year old man who floats his house away on balloons, so he can have the adventure of a lifetime, but finds out that a 8-year old wilderness explorer has stowed away on his porch. The film is said to deal with issues of love, life and loss, which could resonate very deeply with The Academy. The only animated film to ever be nominated for Best Picture was Beauty and the Beast in 1991. Could The Princess and the Frog, Disney’s first 2D animated film in years, and probably the best one in quite some time, get a nomination? Probably not, but the chances, I hope, are still there. On November 6th Robert Zemeckis will release his mo-cap re-imagining of A Christmas Carol, with Jim Carrey in seven different roles. It is said to be the closest anyone has ever gotten to the source material, in adapting the book for the screen. The film will likely be very underrated, as was The Polar Express, but I know I will love the film.
Relative newcomer Carey Mulligan could very well receive a Best Actress nod for her work in An Education, a British film that premiered at Sundance and will be released by Sony Pictures Classics later in the year. The Clint Eastwood directed film, (which is at this point untitled), about the life of Nelson Mandela, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, will likely get a Best Picture nomination. The Johnny Depp and Christian Bale starring film Public Enemies about American gangsters in the 1930’s, will open July 1st. Quentin Tarantino’s WW2 action-drama Inglourious Bastards, which stars Brad Pitt, about a group of Jewish-American soldiers who are chosen to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by brutally killing Nazis, is sure to be very violent and will open August 21st. Peter Jackson’s newest film The Lovely Bones, based on the novel by Alice Sebold, is opening December 11th, and seems to deal with the kind of subject matter the Academy likes.
Those are just a handful of films that could end up with awards recognition, in one form or another. But, who knows if any of these films will disappoint after they open, like what happened with Australia last year. Come TIFF we are sure to see a ton of, at this point unknown films, that will generate huge buzz. Like what happened with most recent Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire.