Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Look at 10 Trailers for Films with Oscar Potential

Tom Hanks
It is impossible to run this blog and look at current films without looking a little bit ahead. As we get further into Oscar season (which launched recently with Fruitvale Station), it is important to not forget that marketing has already started. Some of the big shots already have a trailer or a poster lined up that is getting people talking. While I have covered some more personally anticipated films (The Wolf of Wall Street and 12 Years a Slave notably), there are many that would go overlooked if I didn't do a quick compilation post to share early buzz, and possible spread speculation on other titles. The following is a look at 10 trailers that stand out as potential Oscar buzz contenders that will hopefully be around in the months to come.


Release Date: August 16
Categories: Best Actor (Ashton Kutcher)
Why This One: This may be the most far fetched selection among these 10, but it is important to not discredit the bias that the Academy has for biopics. While it isn't necessarily the first film I pegged in August for Oscar potential (Lee Daniel's The Butler opens the same day), there is a possibility that Kutcher, who based on the trailer is playing a serious role. Also, it could make nice competition for The Fifth Estate for best biopic (though my odds are on Benedict Cumberbatch). The trailer itself looks bland, but there's a good chance that like some pictures before it, Jobs will be a surprise hit with both the critics and fans.


Release Date: September 27
Categories: Best Picture, Best Director (Ron Howard), Best Actor (Chris Hemsworth)
Why This One: I know that I haven't sounded all that confident on the first one, but here is a film that actually stands a chance. It almost seemed to be born into Oscar buzz on the pedigree involved. It has an Oscar winning director with a legacy that could very well be making a comeback with this race car driver drama. While the trailers give away too much and the tone feels too flat, it does look like there's something to get out of this film. Maybe it is a surprise performance by Chris Hemsworth? This is one of those wildcard surefire hits that is at very least intriguing enough to be worth seeing because of Ron Howard's strong potential for another nomination.


Release Date: October 4
Categories: Best Director (Alfonso Cuaron)
Why This One: Just take a minute to watch this trailer and admire how cutting edge and brilliant it is. Shot in a single take, it is a breathtaking, intense two minutes of your life. It is already a shame that Alfonso Cuaron's ambitious film making techniques for Children of Men (please find me a scene better shot from 2006 than this) were overlooked for a Best Film Editing nomination. While I have my doubts that it will be a strong enough story to land Best Picture, I really hope that the Academy notices the genius of this work and gives credit where it is due. Who knows. Maybe the inclusion of Academy Award winners George Clooney and Sandra Bullock will help give this film more credit.

Captain Philips

Release Date: October 11
Categories: Best Actor (Tom Hanks)
Why This One: While I still consider Tom Hanks' work in Cloud Atlas to be criminally ignored, it is interesting to see the double header of Hanks returning to Oscar potential movies, especially since he hasn't been nominated since 2000's Castaway. His first film, and the least likely of the two, is a tale of a man at sea captured by pirates. With director Paul Greengrass himself an Oscar nominee (Best Director - United 93), the stakes are raised a little bit for this to be an intense yet reasonable nominee. However, the story would have to be rather weighty for it to overshadow Hanks' sure lock for Best Actor with Saving Mr. Banks

The Counselor

Release Date: October 25
Categories: Best Original Screenplay (Cormac McCarthy)
Why This One: It is debatable if this all-star cast will deliver any acting nominations. However, my real curiosity from this film comes solely from the fact that it is from Cormac McCarthy, whose story "No Country for Old Men" was adapted to a Best Picture winner and also received a Best Adapted Screenplay win. It is also interesting that the cast, which includes Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Javier Bardem (who won Best Supporting Actor for No Country for Old Men) teaming up for this project. Hopefully that will elevate source material along with director Ridley Scott, who won Best Picture for Gladiator, which should give him some edge despite this not being in the style of the beloved epic.


Release Date: November 29
Categories: Best Animated Feature
Why This One: Maybe the trailer does reek a little bit of Ice Age slapstick, but in a year where the only standout animated feature has been Monsters University, there is a chance that Disney can sneak in. I don't know too much about this film other than this promo, which actually has been the most amusing animated trailer I've seen all year. Hopefully it is half as good or ingenious as this. It may lose to the Pixar giant, but that doesn't mean that it can't at least be leaps and bounds more interesting. That would be a nice change of pace for animation in 2013.

Inside Llewyn Davis

Release Date: December 6
Categories: Best Picture, Best Director (Joel and Ethan Coen), Best Actor (Oscar Isaac), Best Actress (Carey Mulligan), Best Original Screenplay (Joel and Ethan Coen), Best Original Song
Why This One: Hands down, my most anticipated movie for the rest of the year. I love the Coen Brothers and want to see them succeed. In fact, they have had a strong track record with three of their past four being nominated for Best Picture and No Country for Old Men winning. I am confident that based on the trailers that this film will have all of the charm and wit that will make this an easy nominee. I am also secretly hoping that for a film about a folk singer, we will get some great folk music.

Saving Mr. Banks

Release Date: December 25
Categories: Best Picture, Best Director (John Lee Hancock), Best Actor (Tom Hanks), Best Supporting Actress (Emma Thompson), Best Original Screenplay (Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith)
Why This One: If the Academy wants to make the obvious (not necessarily right) move, it will vote for Saving Mr. Banks. Why? Because the past two years have shared one theme: the impact of movies on society. The bias seems even more blatant when you consider that the subject matter at the center is Mary Poppins, which itself is a Best Picture nominee. With Tom Hanks playing a beloved real life person (who himself is the most Oscar nominated person in history), it almost makes this a totally bias film. In ways, it reminds me of The Aviator's trajectory, though it loses points for not actually winning. Still, this could easily be Hanks' return to the Oscars and while it may only make the ceremony into a big self-congratulatory joke, it doesn't seem all that implausible based on what little we have seen.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Release Date: December 27
Categories: Best Picture, Best Director (Ben Stiller), Best Actor (Ben Stiller), Best Adapted Screenplay (Steve Conrad and James Thurber)
Why This One: This trailer was recently released on the internet, and it looked pretty boring to me. It isn't a gripe with Ben Stiller, but more the lethargic and mopey man who discovers himself angle. It isn't necessarily fresh and from what little it seen here, the story isn't going to be that great. However, I believe that through some genius marketing, it will get the widespread recognition as the last potential nominee of the year and it will help push it to the forefront. Maybe the imagination and cleverness of the film is understated here and it may be amazing, but the real hype is that this is going to be Stiller getting serious. He has already proved himself miserably with Greenberg, so I loathe this film a little, but I could easily be won over if the trailer is just misleading.

After Tiller

Release Date: N/A
Categories: Best Documentary
Why This One: I am not great at predicting the Best Documentary race, but I am confident that this one is not too far off from making the cut. This look at abortion is a heavy issue that is not that different from social issues from past nominees such as How to Survive a Plague and The Invisible War. Provided that it is as hitting and honest as it is being sold as, I don't see how it won't be in strong competition against more surefire hits like Blackfish and We Steal Secrets. It plays in New York, but as of this publishing, there isn't an actual wide release date given.

I want to note that while these are notable standouts, this is largely based on what trailers were available when publishing this piece. Some films may disappear off of this list as more materials are released. I also left a ton of films off that could potentially be bigger in the months to come. This is largely based off of trailers and pedigree. Please feel free to leave thoughts and comments on what trailers grab you as potential nominees from the months to come.

1 comment:

  1. Out of these, the only film I really want to see is Gravity. Not only was this trailer great but the first one was as well. It seems to me like it might be a surprise hit as far as a being one of few special effects films to be nominated for major awards. It might not be filmed in 3D but due to its quality I suspect that it might get a default special effect nomination just for being good.