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David Poland

By David Poland

22 Weeks To Oscar: The Year Of Good Being Good Enough

The biggest news coming out of Toronto, aside from films that were non-starters, was that we now have only seven films, by my count, that are in any way contenders that have not been widely available to be seen by The Press and some public. And the only one that seems to be an inevitable nominee – scary words, those – is True Grit.

That is not to say that the other unseen films are not serious contenders. Four are comedies – Due Date, How Do You Know, Love & Other Drugs, and Morning Glory – three from very serious directors and one from the director of one of last year’s commercial phenoms, The Hangover. The Fighter is from revered David O. Russell… who has never made it into the Oscar race. And another, For Colored Girls…, is from critically reviled Tyler Perry, who is a commercial sensation and is working from a play that was one of the most widely seen in the 70s and 80s.

The full column and new charts for Best Picture and the Acting categories

13 Responses to “22 Weeks To Oscar: The Year Of Good Being Good Enough”

  1. anghus says:

    everything i’m reading online makes it seem like it’s a 2 way race between True Grit and Social Network. I haven’t seen either. The only film i’ve seen so far that deserves consideration is The Town. I hope it gets a best pic nom.

  2. Keil Shults says:

    I don’t see where you’re getting this. No one has seen True Grit, they’ve only seen the trailer…which I’ll admit looks wonderful. However, The King’s Speech won rave reviews across the board in Toronto, and certainly sounds like a very Oscar-friendly package. The Social Network also has rave reviews, will likely do well at the box office, and will probably be the most relevant picture of all the nominees.

    Toy Story 3 is well-loved, but the 3 in the title won’t help, not to mention that voters will likely reward it in the Animation category. I’m sure that one of these days the Academy will want to break ground by awarding an animated film the Best Picture Oscar, but they won’t want it to be a sequel. Of course, Pixar had a series of unique films that could all be considered Best Pic material in a slow year (Ratatouille, Wall-E, and Up), and none of them proved powerful enough to take home top prize. And looking at Pixar’s upcoming slate, it’s hard to imagine that they’ll deliver a film as (or more) deserving than those aforementioned titles anytime soon.

    Inception has its devotees and the box office to back it up, but it also generated a fairly sizeable backlash once it became available to mainstream audiences and lower-profile critics. Meanwhile, The Social Network’s reviews continue proving to be stellar, even as the number of critics evaluating it climbs well into triple digits. Inception will likely take home various technical Oscars, while The Social Network has a better shot at the other categories (namely screenplay and picture).

    As for The Town…

    It certainly has lots of love, and I do think it could sneak into the Top 10. However, it winning or becoming a front-runner is out of the question. I think most of its fans are so outspoken about it right now because they’re trying to convince people that it transcends its genre trappings. I don’t think it’s because they believe it’s worthy of Best Picture. I personally liked Toy Story 3 and Inception better, and feel both of them have a better shot at top prize than The Town.

    More to say, but have to run.

  3. IOv3 says:

    The Social Network may get nominated but much like it would take a herculean effort for this group of people to put over something like TDK, does anyone really see them giving awards to a movie about facebook, written by a TV guy (a great TV guy and playwright), and David Fincher? Seriously, Fincher should have like three Oscars but that group of people seemingly like him as much as I like Turkey. While Sorkin is again a TV guy who could not even get a freaking Oscar nom for A FEW GOOD MEN! Seriously, have you watched A FEW GOOD MEN recently? That freaking movie gets better with age. Nevertheless, I can see the Social Network getting nominated for a lot of stuff but getting the Color Purple treatment.

    That aside, what Inception BACKLASH are you referring to Keil? That’s one of the trippiest ways ever to spell Kyle by the way but what BACKLASH? Seriously, directing something like The Social Network, Chris Nolan could do in his sleep, and that’s why he’s the best director walking the planet. If they snub him for Inception. That group of people are really going to be overjoyed with the prospect of giving him another Oscar nom for Bats 3! Seriously, that trophy is Nolan’s to lose. Not rewarding that guy, not rewarding that level of awesomeness, is as bad to me as any of the other high levels of stupidity that group of people have ever pulled.

  4. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Nolan is a great director and Inception is extremely well-directed, but I don’t think directing something like The Social Network is as easy as you suggest IO. Maybe on the surface it seems like “the Facebook movie” wouldn’t be a huge challenge, but I have to believe it’s much more difficult than it appears. I love Nolan and Fincher and hope both get nominated. Right now that’s looking very likely. Oh I have yet to hear of an Inception backlash.

  5. Keil Shults says:

    By Inception backlash, I simply meant that when the initial reviews came out it was being touted as this Kubrickian masterpiece, but over time the reviews became more mixed, with some naturally finding it to have been highly overrated by those initial critics. A minor backlash, but one all the same. And lately it seems that few are discussing the film at all as they excitedly champion various Fall/Winter releases. As for how I spell my name, I can assure you I had little to do with it. but yes, it is pronounced as Kyle. My mother’s (German) maiden name was Keilman.

  6. hcat says:

    If it does come down to TSN and True Grit as the two front runners, don’t you think it’s likely that Fincher (or possibly Nolan) will win best director given that the Coens won just a scant three years ago?

    As for Sorkin, he created three series, and the one that was a success was practically an Spin-Off of his American President script. He has had success of all types but isn’t he primarly seen as a playwright?

  7. hcat says:

    And as a humble suggestion: since Columbia hasn’t taken a best picture trophy since the Reagan administration if TSN does win they should superimpose Eisenberg holding the torch in the logo for the next year.

  8. hcat says:

    And a further useless observation (and only idle speculation that TSN might win), four of the last six Columbia wins were all about real life events and people. It would go TE Lawrence, Thomas More, Ghandi, Pu-Yi to Zuckerman??

    There has got to be “it was the movies that got small” arguement in there somewhere.

  9. Keil Shults says:

    For the record, I didn’t mean to suggest that Fincher has a better shot at director (or is more deserving) than Nolan. I haven’t seen SN yet, so I haven’t directly observed Fincher’s work on it, but Nolan’s valiant efforts helming both TDK and Inception are certainly worth recognition. One of the many things I kept asking myself after viewing Inception was, “How the hell did he pull this off?” I still can’t imagine how hard it must have been to orchestrate a film like Inception, and I’m certain he’ll be among the 5 Director nominees. I could certainly see TSN winning Best Pic and Inception nabbing Best Director, but I think TSN has a much better shot at Adapted Screenplay than Inception has at Original Screenplay.

  10. IOv3 says:

    Keil, it’s still an awesome way to spell Kyle. Seriously, I would have to put it in the top three of alternate name spellings. It’s that tremendous.

    Nevertheless, if you want to learn how they did what they did in Inception. Check out the current Cinefex. It literally blew my mind how they pulled off the zero g stuff. Absolutely the most insight anyone will get about Inception because Nolan sure as spit will not talk about it on the BD/DVD!

  11. Telemachos says:

    I’m sure Nolan will get a BD nomination (well-deserved, too). But I’m almost just as sure he won’t win… not for a movie that (for better or worse) is seen as a killer/awesome trippy heist movie with great VFX but with rather prosaic characters.

    Fincher has at least broken the ice when it comes to getting nominated — which I think is helpful since in the past he was also seen (like Nolan) as a director concerned with more technical aspects of filmmaking than characterization. (Not saying this perception is accurate, but it certainly existed).

  12. Keil Shults says:

    When I really think about it (and I’m ashamed to admit that I often do), it seems almost certain that either Nolan or Fincher will win the Best Director Oscar this year. King’s Speech and True Grit could prove to be so phenomenal that the voters can’t help but vote for them, but Hooper is a relative newcomer and the Coens are past winners. Nolan and Fincher, however, are respected filmmakers with quite a few good films under their belts, yet neither have a Director Oscar thus far. The same could be said for Aronofsky, but BS is too bizarre and polarizing. Toy Story 3 is animated and we know what that means in the directing category (plus, they’d prefer to honor Lasseter, I’m guessing). Boyle (127H) won recently, Another Year isn’t popular enough (despite the Leigh love out there), and Zwick and Brooks are past their prime (and neither of their films seem likely to surpass the current front-runners). Of course, there’s always the chance that the voters will choose to finally recognize Hollywood’s most beloved director: David O. Russell. :-)

  13. Al E Ase says:

    HA :)

    Who knows Keil (I second IO)? It’s very early days yet. I think that as the table stands now, you’re probably partly right on what ‘the story’ will be. But these things change and this year’s real STORY will most probably be defined much later on in the race. What happens if True Grit plays somehow above everyone’s sky high expectations? Or if Brooks and Zwick knock their dramedies with heart out of the park?

    Having said that I think Fincher’s days of being overlooked are definitely over and Nolan is currently Hollywood’s poster boy for visionary (and commercially viable) artist/craftsman so perhaps the story will stay very much the same. And although Inception was a mind boggling undertaking, I imagine that Social Network is just as rigorously technical as Fincher’s previous films, which is to say extremely.

    As David said, it seems the latter part of the year has redeemed the former with an embarrassment of riches.

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