Oscar season is unquestionably underway and this week I received my very first ‘For Your Consideration’ press release. For an Oscar watcher like me the first FYC ads are better than the changing of the leaves and the return of winter clothes at announcing the end of the year is upon us.
The first FYC ad of the year arrived from Warner Bros. and marked the company’s intention to promote four of their 2012 releases as Academy Award contenders. Here’s a closer look a the movies Warner Bros. is pushing for the film industry’s biggest prize.
Ben Affleck’s last outing for Warner Bros, the gritty Boston set crime drama, “The Town” earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Jeremy Renner and critical raves that had the film as a potential Best Picture contender. In 2012 “Argo” is earning similar buzz and has an even stronger chance of earning a Best Picture nomination.
The story of the rescue of seven US citizens trapped in Iran after the fall of the Shah stars Ben Affleck as a CIA agent who specializes in difficult extractions from hostile territories and tells the very unique story of how he pulled off this particular extraction with a little help from Hollywood. Academy Award winner Alan Arkin and John Goodman join Affleck as his Hollywood contacts.
“The Dark Knight Rises”
Hoping to finally escape the ghetto of comic book movies, Warner Bros. is positioning “The Dark Knight Rises” as a Best Picture contender even if the Academy doesn’t seem to agree. The final film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy thrilled audiences and dragged in millions at the box office but like the previous two Batman movies, seems unlikely to break the Academy bias against superhero movies.
The template for pushing “The Dark Knight Rises” is likely “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” which rode the nostalgia of the two preceding LOTR films to what amounted to an award for the trilogy. Unfortunately for “The Dark Knight Rises” neither of the first two Batman movies earned a Best Picture nomination indicating that there is not the same level of respect from the academy for Nolan’s Batman as there was for Jackson’s ‘Rings.’
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
Speaking of Jackson and his ‘Rings’ the ‘Lord of the Rings’ prequel “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ will receive an Academy push this season. Once again Jackson has returned to the magical shire with all of his amazing technological tricks in tact and a stellar cast in tow, including ‘Rings’ headliner Ian McKellan back in the role of the wizard Gandalf.
While McKellen should stir Academy nostalgia for the previous trilogy there is thus far a surprising lack of buzz for ‘The Hobbit’ outside the felicitous fanboys. That could change as the film inches closer to it’s mid-November release date but for the moment ‘The Hobbit’ lags behind smaller films such as “Argo” in terms of Awards buzz.
The wild card of Warner Bros. Academy slate is the Wachowski siblings, Tom Tykwer team up “Cloud Atlas.” This highly unusual head trip through time and space starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry has thus far via trailers and commercials come off as either a potential masterpiece or a potential disaster depending on who you ask.
Before they can even begin to discuss awards potential however, the folks at WB will have to work out who will be up for what award. The Director’s Guild of America is currently negotiating the directors’ credit and seemingly refusing to allow the Wachowski’s and Tykwer to share credit for the film, as they would like. Then there is the matter of how the actors will be nominated. The press release from WB had detailed nominee lists for each film on their slate, except “Cloud Atlas.”