| October 18, 2020
And here we go… pretending that everything is normal as we take the small handful of movies that would be considered the lower tier of Oscar candidates, and even then, only a small part of that tier, and handing out Oscars like Sour Patch Kids (the here’s-a-sweet-for-your-oddball-screening candy of choice) because what the hell, we need to get some ad revenue now that the reduced-revenue Emmy season is over, so let’s push really hard on what we know is good, but not likely.
You know the titles… Foxless-Searchlight’s (comment on the corporate status, not the staff… ha ha… am I in trouble?) Nomadland and Those-Who-Made-Parasite-Happen Neon’s Ammonite were the only serious contenders going into Venice and Toronto… and the only ones that are really coming out of the festivals, though only one is really equipped to survive the next six-plus months until Oscar will supposedly happen. That would be Nomadland… but only as a “bottom half” nominee with a likely Frances McDormand nod that she won’t win. Ammonite has two great actresses performing sex, but Neon released a better version on this theme last year, in French, with American-unknown actresses.
The other titles that have become hot buzz titles out of the fests are stage-play-turned-stage-movie One Night in Miami, the tragedy porn of Penguin Bloom, and the wildly overrated, although well-acted Pieces of a Woman, which is fake Cassavetes but with only one true Cassavetes performance. from Shia LeBeouf.
There is also The Father, an Anthony Hopkins vehicle with the always-great Olivia Colman. A Best Actor player, first and last.
And there are holdover dreams from before September, like First Cow and Da Five Bloods and Tenet than make me laugh really hard. Not because the films are not worthy of consideration, but because they are just plain not happening.
Netflix, after passing on the festivals, started things up this month anyway, They bought Pieces of a Woman and will try to shove Vanessa Kirby into Best Actress. They tried to launch Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, but were thwarted by the passing of Chadwick Boseman. And they launched The Trial of The Chicago Seven this week with a streamingrelease date of October 16 just ahead. (They will also put the film in theaters as a four-wall outside of New York and LA, in a strategic move best described as virtue signaling.
The line-up at Netflix is: Mank, Hillbilly Elegy, The Trial of the Chicago Seven, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (in that order), plus guest stars Da 5 Bloods, Pieces of a Woman, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, The 40-Year-Old Version and White Tiger.
It will be interesting to see whether Fincher, Sorkin, Denzel, and Gary Oldman are all on Season 3 of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman next month.
And A24 will release the new Sofia Coppola, On The Rocks, via AppleTV+ on October 23, with an adorable theatrical starting October 2.
This leaves us where we usually are before the start of the fall festivals… with a dozen or fewer films that have been seen, of which one or two, at the outside, have a realistic shot at being in the game at the end.
Fall festivals deliver another five-to-eight likely titles. And we wait to see what fills in with October and November screenings and some December lock.
But this is not your normal year.
We don’t know if there will be an October or November for movies and certainly for movie theaters. And we certainly don’t know whether there will be a December, January or February, as the dead of winter blows cold through America.
And if we stop where we are, I understand why Oscar guessers are giving Netflix half the Best Picture slots. Because this is not even half an Oscar season yet.
So what else is coming?
This is where the chicken and the egg get confusing.
Disney holds the most large-budget studio films that could be Oscar contenders, which are sitting in dry dock with almost guaranteed financial losses coming if had been released – on any format – in time to be Oscar contenders. This changed as I was writing, as the studio pushed West Side Story to 2021, as they already had The Last Duel. So WB’s Dune is the only relevant title.
No Disney. No Paramount. No Sony. No Warner Bros. Maybe no Universal (News of the World is still scheduled for late December.) No theatrical.
There are maybe a half-dozen warm arty titles that could be loaded into the Oscar Gatling gun pretty quickly. C’mon C’mon, The French Dispatch, Next Goal Wins, Promising Young Woman, Stillwater. But if they have commercial potential, it would be a waste if there is no Oscar competition based exclusively on 2020 and Jan/Feb 2021.
Things are not looking good for there to be a 2020 Oscar. Sorry. Just the way it is.
But the 2020/2021 Oscars should be a blast!!!
| October 18, 2020
| October 1, 2020
| September 30, 2020
Wallace Shawn: "The country had been brutal for a very long time, from the beginning actually. And now the rhetoric began to mirror reality. Now that I’m seventy-six, when I remember the way I used to feel—when I think about how important it once seemed to me to tell people the truth about the crimes in which we all were implicated—well, that all seems quaint and sad. It turns out that by the time the American public learned the sorts of things I’d felt they needed to learn, by the time they came to look in the mirror, what they saw there didn’t look so bad to them. And so, yes, an awful lot of people don’t get upset when they hear Trump talk. On the contrary, they seem to feel a great sense of relief. Trump has liberated a lot of people from the last vestiges of the Sermon on the Mount. A lot of people turn out to have been sick and tired of pretending to be good."
October 28, 2020
| October 27, 2020
| December 13, 2019
| December 4, 2019
| December 4, 2019