If there is one thing that Oscar aficionados know, it is that the Academy has a love affair with director Stephen Daldry. To the average film goer, he is just another name. To those that have paid attention to trends, he is one of a very small group of people who have had every single one of their films in the Best Picture race. Not since John Cazale has someone had such an impressive record. With his fifth film, Trash, things are looking to remain the same. Except this time, it looks to be a lot more hard hitting, intriguing, and aggressive than anything that he's done before. To say the least, Trash will likely keep Daldry's record strong.
There are a few caveats with this article. For starters, this is an international trailer for Trash and thus is spoken predominantly in a foreign language. While there are fleeting moments of English, the trailer will serve more as a visual proponent. Also, there has not been any confirmed release date for the film in America, thus the eligibility is unknown. It is only assumed that since Daldry is a prestige-bred director, it will be out sometime around November or December. At that point, I will likely revisit speculation and update opinions. Also, I want to make a personal note that I have only seen one film by Daldry (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close) and consider it an effective portrait of the grieving process for children during 9-11. I have no qualms with him or the concept that his work is manipulative.
It is tough to approach this trailer without considering Daldry's perfect record. I don't know what it is about his films that strike such confidence with the Academy. He often feels like he's in the same camp as Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball) in that he makes films geared towards that audience. Even then, the best directors don't have a record as perfect as his. It could be that he almost intentionally makes the prestige films with all of the prestige cliches. Get high caliber performers (often after being Oscar nominated) to tackle biting current issues in ways that could be manipulative, but work in a middle-ground of insightful melodrama.
Which is why Trash looks particularly interesting. For starters, it looks to be a cross between Slumdog Millionaire and City of God. It has a gritty, urban feel that looks to be tackling some deeper political issues. It also stars Oscar nominee Rooney Mara (Best Actress - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) in the lead, which seems rather intriguing. While Mara isn't necessarily the highest caliber performer yet, her work in past Best Picture nominees such as The Social Network, Her as well as excellent work in Side Effects and Ain't Them Bodies Saints preps her to be one of the more intriguing actresses of her generation. This seems like a perfect mach, at least for what feels like a guaranteed Oscar nomination.
Here's the trailer:
Looks really intense and interesting. Here's the plot description according to IMDb:
"The story follows three boys in a third world country who scrape a living by picking through trash. One day they find a leather bag, the contents of which plunge them into a terrifying adventure, pitting their wits against corruption and authority to right a wrong."
Not too shabby. While it opens in Brazil in October, there isn't an American release and thus I don't know that it necessarily is worth bringing into the Oscar consideration yet. However, it is one to keep an eye on not only because of Daldry and Mara's name attachments, but because it just looks like a powerful film with something important to say. For all we know, the film won't even come out on time for consideration. However, considering that the trailer plays like a prestige film, that seems highly unlikely.
As of now, the Best Picture consideration race is very slim. Based almost solely on trailers, the films to look out for are Foxcatcher, Interstellar, and Gone Girl. There are a few others like Inherent Vice, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Boyhood to look out for, but those feel more like they are on the fringes of potential nominations.With the sliding scale of 5-10 nominations, it seems like all of these films stand a great chance with an almost definite on Trash joining the ranks. However, we must wait until there's actual release dates to continue the conversation. The trailer does its job of getting us excited for a potential upset. However, it still isn't enough for me to make speculation official.
Will the Academy continue to lavish love on Stephen Daldry? What does your take on the Best Picture race look like so far? Will Trash open up in time for consideration?