Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Look at the Potential Oscar Nominees Opening on Christmas Day

Anna Kendrick in Into the Woods
Christmas is only a few days away. It is also a great time to remember all of the last minute Oscar films that will be opening on that day, whether it be in limited release or nationwide. It is also the four week countdown to the Oscars nominations release. How exactly do you keep track of the titles worth looking at, especially with several promising titles vying for your attention? Here is a quick rundown of the films opening and what their Oscar chances are likely to be. This isn't a prediction of who will win, but simply a speculation as to what will be worth keeping an eye out for.


Categories to Look Out For: Best Picture, Best Director (Ava Duvernay), Best Actor (David Oyelowo), Best Supporting Actress (Carmen Ejogo), Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Song ("Glory")

It is a film that came out of nowhere and swept up a lot of Oscar Buzz almost immediately. Having received a Best Picture (Drama) nomination at the Golden Globes recently, the film is on track to make its mark at the Oscars. For starters, it is a biopic that explores a complicated time in American history that is tragically still prescient. Also, with a solid performance by David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr., the film manages to hit a lot of big targets in the discussion of racism and political climates. While Boyhood and Birdman are proving to be threats at all other awards shows, this is probably the biggest threat to them showing up strong on Oscar night.


Categories to Look Out For: Best Picture, Best Director (Angelina Jolie), Best Actor (Jack O'Connell), Best Supporting Actor (Miyavi), Best Original Score (Alexandre Desplat), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song ("Miracles")

There's many who already speculate that the triumphant cries of Unbroken are over. After being speculated as a front runner, it failed to receive a Golden Globe nomination. While the film still has the chance to win over new audiences upon its wide release, it will likely have an uphill battle. For starters, there was a narrative building around Angelina Jolie's potential Oscar nomination being significant because of her gender. If you believe that this exists, you'll also believe that Ava Duvernay scooped it up by potentially being the first black female director receive a Best Director nomination. The flame is off of Jolie's novelty and has to be translated to quality. However, the race is pretty tight as it is. The film better hope that the war story aspect gives it some leeway.

Meryl Streep
Into the Woods

Categories to Look Out For: Best Picture, Best Actress (Emily Blunt), Best Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep), Best Adapted Screenplay

I am serious. This is going to be a looming threat over the race. It will not win, but it will become very present because of two words: Les Miserables. The Academy loves musicals and with Rob Marshall returning to the genre after winning Best Picture for Chicago, there's very little to stop him from providing spectacle. Even if the film is bad, it will get in on the notion that musicals are a rare breed worth of more attention. It's either this or Annie, folks. Nobody is betting on that pony right now.

Bradley Cooper
American Sniper

Categories to Look Out For: Best Picture, Best Director (Clint Eastwood), Best Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Adapted Screenplay

This film has been a little too quiet during the Oscar race to suggest that it will be a threat in any possible way. At best, it is looking at filling out the Best Picture category and maybe sneak into Best Adapted Screenplay. However, with a very intense trailer and the hope that Clint Eastwood will turn in one of his most powerful and charged films in years, there's only hope that this will become a surprise contender. I don't see it standing too much of a chance in anything, but with this being the other war film opening up on Christmas, there will be plenty of "true story" credibility to share between the two in getting nominations.

Left to right: Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams
Big Eyes

Categories to Look Out For: Best Picture, Best Actress (Amy Adams), Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz), Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Song ("Big Eyes)

It is yet another case of Amy Adams having a potential shot at recognition only to be overshadowed by somebody else. This year, she will be overlooked by Julianne Moore in Still Alice. It's a bummer, especially since Tim Burton is looking like he is doing something interesting this time around. However, the early reviews haven't been too positive and while it has shown up a bit at the Golden Globes, it hasn't had too much traction elsewhere. I don't see the film doing much of note at the Oscars outside of Adams' nomination and Best Original Song, but there's still a chance that it will strip through its dark horse nature and win something.

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