WEEKS TO OSCAR
Here we go.
The window got one
week wider from last year's 30 Weeks To Oscar. Soon
52 Weeks To
are listed on my complete list of movies that will run. I'm sure there
will be one or two more added as time goes by, but 2005 doesn't seem
to be a year of movie surprises to come. The "Eastwood slot"
has been filled by Steven Spielberg, who will shoot, edit and
deliver his Oscar frontrunner in less than six months.
Going through the
contenders, the most striking thing is how incestuous it all is. Spielberg's
Munich is the unquestioned leader, but close behind are Memoirs
of a Geisha, a project Spielberg was attached to for years, All
The Kings Men, adapted and directed by Spielberg protégé
(and Oscar winner for writing Schindler's List) Steve Zaillian,
and Jarhead, from the director of DreamWorks' first Oscar winner,
Walk The Line
has to be nervous about the Oscar success of last year's Ray.
is in contention working for Mendes, while the Best Actor winner from
the year before, Sean Penn, is in contention for a film from
is in contention for a film by the filmmaker whose actress, Keisha
Castle-Hughes, she beat two years ago. But of the 15 Best Actress
nominees from the last three Oscars, only Theron, Diane Keaton
and Kate Winslet are considered to be at all in contention this
year. (The number is 8 for the guys.)
It is also rather
striking that the field is already so narrow. There is always a film
that jumps up from the crowd unexpectedly. But Universal and Columbia
seem to have the dominant titles this year, with Paramount, Warner Bros,
Focus and New Line right on their heels. Fox is the latest to find a
last minute contender in The Family Stone, which will join
Walk The Line on its list of contenders being promoted by first-time
Oscar manager David Lux while Flo Grace sets up shop at
Columbia and the Miramax Girls work all over town as partners in The
Dart Company. There's even a film without distribution coming out of
Cannes that is still in contention
or so it seems right now.
This would be a
very good year to be an Original Screenwriter, though there is no way
of knowing whether Munich will end up being pushed into the Adapted
category, which would make Original an even better place to be.
The Actress categories
are as weak as ever. My list has 14 candidates for lead and 13 for supporting
but I am doing some reaching. Lead has a slightly more veteran cast
of characters, but still, Diane Keaton and Charlize Theron
are the only top contenders who have been there before and Dench,
Paltrow, Allen and Zellweger all seem unlike to step up again this year.
In Supporting, Shirley MacLaine and Jesssica Lange are
the only two real vets, with recent former nominees Toni Collette
and Patricia Clarkson in play as well.
And on my list of
23 potential Best Director nominees
There are a number
of ensembles to sort out this year. Memoirs of a Geisha, Munich,
All The Kings Men, Jarhead and The Family Stone
everyone other than Joaquin Phoenix in Walk The Line,
the supporting men of The Producers
let's not even get
started on Crash. What kind of great story will it be if it comes
down to Middle East politics against Nazis on Broadway?!?!
If it's the Year
Of. anything, it seems like The Year of The Accent
Palestinian, Chinese, Native American, British and Southern American
just for starters. It's enough to make them hire Meryl Streep
to host this year.
Plus, you've got
Woody Allen playing it straight, Jim Sheridan venturing into
Black America, the Chinese playing the Japanese, Jude Law and
Kate Winslet as southerners, Colin Farrell discovering
America, Gyllenhaal & Ledger going gay and George Clooney
going fat and black and white.
And of course, penguins.
Oh, are we going to hear it about those penguins!
An so, we're off