Heading into the final months of 2011, there remain only a handful of films that are almost completely unseen; that is, which have not yet been exposed to the insanity of the festival/blogosphere/critical circuit. We’ve managed recently to get trailers for at least some of these films: “War Horse,” “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “J.Edgar.” Today’s batch should finish off the list, meaning we should now have at least a glimpse at each of the major contenders of the season. Coming up in a moment, trailers for “My Week with Marilyn,” “Shame,” “Albert Nobbs” and “Young Adult.”
But first, some commentary on tweaks the to the Predictions page. For no other reason than 9 seems like a lot of nominees considering the adjusted Best Picture voting system (check out this post over at Awards Daily for an extremely in-depth look at the new numbers game, including a very interesting breakdown of how the last decade could’ve looked if the five-to-ten system had always been in place), I’ve decided to cut “Moneyball” from the list for the moment. It seems to me that one of the perceived contenders from the Oscar pre-season (August to early October, if you will) will end up getting forgotten/bumped out by higher-profile fare come January. Every year we wonder why studios load up in December, and every year we remember the answer when some early-season contender misses the cut. So, between “Moneyball,” “The Ides of March” and “The Help,” I think “Moneyball” has the greatest chance of falling off. Then again, there are some bloggers who think “Moneyball” still has a chance to win the whole thing. And they could very well be right. Just goes to show how wide open the race is this year. We really need some of the precursor awards to start rolling in before we can gauge industry response.
Anyway, rolling with just a complete gut call that “Moneyball” will barely miss the cut, I also think that Brad Pitt is in the weakest position of the Best Actor contenders, and could lose his place to a well-timed campaign behind one of the “fringe” candidates. The fact that Fox Searchlight, the best studio in the biz at blitzing Oscar voters, picked up Steve McQueen’s “Shame” was a huge boon to man-of-the-year Michael Fassbender. They did wonders last year for James Franco and Natalie Portman, scoring two nods and even a win for performances that were not your usual Academy fare. They’ll already be plenty busy with on-the-edge contenders like “Tree of Life,” “Win Win” and “Martha Marcy May Marlene” (not to mention a ready-made powerhouse in “The Descendants”), so pushing a likely NC-17 art-house darling will certainly keep them busy. But they have a huge advantage in the fact that Michael Fassbender is goddamn everywhere this year. With “A Dangerous Method” fading fast from memory already (maybe it’ll get a boost when it’s released in theaters, but the festival reception was not ideal), “Shame” seems like the performance for Fassfans to latch on to.
Elsewhere, we’ve seen enough of Rooney Mara’s performance in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” now for me to be pretty convinced. The role is just too good for the actors’ branch to pass up (remember, Noomi Rapace probably almost slipped in to the category last year, and she was a foreign actor not named Penelope Cruz), and the Academy loves them an attractive up-and-coming young actress for the red carpet.
And while the trailer for “Young Adult” is keeping me wary regarding Jason Reitman’s latest as an across-the-board contender (more on that in a bit), it’s enough to think that Diablo Cody could very much be in the running again for Original Screenplay, since both of Reitman’s last two films have scored in that category.
Anyway, on to the trailers!
My Week with Marilyn
Strange, how watching someone else trying to be Marilyn Monroe just reminds you how unique Monroe was. Which is not to insult Michelle Williams – she looks fantastic here, and I’m sticking by my early prediction that the Academy will reward her with a second straight nomination. I don’t know that I’m buying the entire Eddie Redmayne-start-struck-young-man side of the story, but Williams and Kenneth Branagh will hopefully be enough.
Very moody, atmospheric teaser for Steve McQueen’s tale of sex addiction and wrecked relationships. Fassbender does seem like a bit of a no-brainer; the question is, can Fox Searchlight get enough voters to see the film in the first place?
Can we please just do away with voice-over in trailers? It never works. Never.
Like “My Week with Marilyn,” this looks like a fairly bland film overall that could be saved by its performances; in this case, Glenn Close in particular hopefully making a triumphant return to film (she originated the role of Albert Nobbs on stage). That pretty much looks like the only noteworthy element here (except maaaaaybe Brendan Gleeson, but I doubt very much that he can squeeze into the supporting race).
This certainly has that typical Jason Reitman feel to it in that, like with “Juno” and “Up in the Air,” I really have no idea where this movie is going. Props to Reitman for consistently finding truly original stories. And “Young Adult” has me particularly intrigued, since it seems to be digging back into the dark, satirical side of Reitman’s personality that we haven’t really experienced since “Thank for You Smoking” (still his best film, for my money). If that’s true, I’d bet that “Young Adult” will follow in “Smoking’s” path and not be a full Best Picture contender. But Charlize Theron could certainly still be an option in the actress field, depending on how much redemption her character ends up with. I can’t see her grabbing the nomination if she stays as consistently bitchy throughout the movie as what we see here; the Academy just doesn’t cotton to that kind of queasy character in its lead roles (see: Aaron Eckhart in “Thank You for Smoking”).