Directed By: Ridley Scott
Written By: Cormac McCarthy
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Dean Norris
Synopsis: A lawyer finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking.
It’s so unusual how it seems the internet gets their hands on things even before the studios even do. Cormac McCarthy, the author of “No Country for Old Men” and “The Road,” both of which were adapted into films directed by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen and John Hillcoat respectively. The Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men (2007) obviously went on to win four Oscars including Best Picture. The Counselor is McCarthy’s first original screenplay that was sold in January 2012 to Nick Wechsler, Paula Mae Schwartz, and Steve Schwartz who were producers on The Road (2010). Nearly two weeks after the selling of the script, three-time Academy Award nominee Ridley Scott was announced to be directing the project.
As mentioned in the first Oscar Circuit of the new film year, Ridley Scott is perhaps the most overdue directors working today by Oscar standards. He’s been the lone director on two occasions, Thelma & Louise (1991) and Black Hawk Down (2001) and was the director on the Oscar-winning epic Gladiator (2000), which won Best Picture but Scott would end up losing to double nominee Steven Soderbergh for Traffic (2000).
Though Scott’s resume hasn’t been as consistent as of late with missteps like A Good Year (2006), Body of Lies (2008), and Robin Hood (2010) however, he has proved himself to be a formidable producer on films like the underrated The Grey (2012) by Joe Carnahan and the transcendental The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) by Andrew Dominik. Scott has even had his hand in television as a producer on CBS’ hit-show “The Good Wife” with Julianna Marguilles. I believe there’s a lot of respect for Scott in the industry by both actors and directors. Working consistently for over forty years, I believe Ridley Scott has one more home run left in him. There’s also likely some sentiment for him that remains after his brother Tony Scott committed suicide in August 2012. Production was shut down for a week during the tragedy.
The stellar cast that includes Michael Fassbender, unquestionably snubbed for his breathtaking performance in Steve McQueen’s Shame (2011), I believe there’s a quiet need to recognize him for his next notable effort. Since David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Brad Pitt has a career resurrection with brilliant performances and mentions like Bennett Miller’s Moneyball (2011). Also having a role in Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave later this year with co-star Fassbender, one of these roles will likely help the other. Early readings of the script and buzz surrounding the film suggest the women will be the ones to watch most notably Cameron Diaz. Diaz, who has two or three Oscar snubs under her belt, depending on who you ask (There’s Something About Mary, Being John Malkovich, and Vanilla Sky), could finally have her big break out with Oscar. Angelina Jolie had originally signed on for the role before being replaced by Diaz.
Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz are back together on-screen since their first outing in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), which resulted in Cruz winning Best Supporting Actress. Cruz has been a surprising favorite among the Academy over the years. When she was first nominated for Pedro Almodovar’s Volver (2006), I have to admit, I had little faith she would ever return to the ceremony. I thought she would follow in the footsteps of her BFF Salma Hayek in that regard. Two years later she would win the Oscar as the sexy yet crazy wife of Javier Bardem in Allen’s hit film but she managed one more nod in her arsenal in the uneven film by Rob Marshall, Nine (2010). As an unsuspecting Academy favorite, she could pull in her fourth nomination to possibly be shared with co-star Diaz.
Javier Bardem has had an expected but still very impressive showing with AMPAS over the years. First nominated for Julian Schnabel’s Before Night Falls (2000), Bardem’s resume has remained consistent and vibrant over the years. After winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for No Country for Old Men (2007), Bardem still managed to overcome many obstacles including Golden Globe and SAG omissions to be cited for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Biutiful (2010). Even he’s passed over by AMPAS, Bardem is still beloved by many. The Sea Inside (2004) and most recently Skyfall (2012) are prime examples. Said to be possibly playing the villain role, if Bardem is good enough, capture a second Oscar before the season’s over especially if the film pops in a big way.
One technical aspect of the film that excites me is Dariusz Wolski, long-time cinematographer who has worked on films like Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), and Crimson Tide (1995), all of which has yet to bring him both Oscar and American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) nominations. I think as one of our unsung DP’s, Wolski could be given a true opportunity for this high-end drama. Also, two-time Oscar Winning Film Editor Pietro Scalia, who took home the gold for Black Hawk Down (2001) and JFK (1991), is a good sign for the film’s pacing and overall quality. Scalia was also nominated for Good Will Hunting (1997) and Gladiator (2000) and has won three ACE (American Cinema Editors) Awards.
Consequently the film’s success rests on the overall reception of the film. If the critics are on its side with praise and awards, a narrative could and should start to form that this is the year of Ridley Scott. The film is being distributed by 20th Century Fox and is scheduled to be released on November 15, 2013.
Best Motion Picture
Best Director – Ridley Scott
Best Actor – Michael Fassbender
Best Supporting Actor – Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt
Best Supporting Actress – Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz
Best Original Screenplay – Cormac McCarthy
Best Production Design
Best Film Editing
Best Sound Mixing
Best Sound Editing
Best Original Score – no attachment yet
Tags: Awards Profile, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Cormac McCarthy, Javier Bardem, Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Ridley Scott, The Counselor