Oscar Circuit: ‘Interstellar’ Says “Remember, Remember the Fifth of November”



2015 OSCAR PREDICTIONS: Fanboys will gawk at the vision of Hugo Weaving uttering those lines from “V for Vendetta” but I will use it as a backbone for this week’s Oscar Circuit, that will align with this week’s updated Oscar Predictions.

So many places to start.  From a box office standpoint, some films are pulling away with stunning results.  

Alejandro G. Inarritu’s “Birdman” opened in 46 more theaters and brought in the most per theater average from the weekend.  Audiences are excited, critics are on board, and Fox Searchlight is gearing up for a very focused campaign.  They’ll be hoping for their second Best Picture win in a row following “12 Years a Slave.”  The case for Michael Keaton winning Best Actor is also being spoken about quite a bit.

Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash” also opened up with 25 more theaters, but placing 8th on the per theater average of the weekend.  The critical praise of the film continues to grow, which could result in a surprise (or not so surprising) Best Picture nomination for Sony Pictures Classics.  The studio has so many possibilities on the table with “Foxcatcher,” “Still Alice,” “Mr. Turner,” and a slew of documentary and foreign language films, they may just naturally rack in the most nominations of any studio this year.

Christopher Nolan‘s “Interstellar” began screening last week with press under strict embargo until Monday morning.  The word is mostly positive from around the beat and by the looks of the awards landscape, we may (finally) have Christopher Nolan cited in a Best Director lineup alongside some talented filmmakers.  The interviews are in full force with Kris Tapley of HitFix reporting on the junket/Q&A from last week.  The narrative already seems to be swelling around the bigger picture and that is space exploration.  Many will praise the Oscar-nominated screenwriter and producer to shining a light on an issue that we seem to have forgotten.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Paramount Pictures play that up all season.  On November 5, two days ahead of its scheduled release, IMAX 35mm and IMAX 7omm will be shown to audiences.  Get ready for fanboys to band together and shout at AMPAS for a long overdue citation for Nolan.

We still have some contenders waiting in the wings, probably more than we’re used to at this time of the year.  Walt Disney Pictures released a featurette for their upcoming musical “Into the Woods” and they’ll be looking to score their first live-action Best Picture nomination since “Mary Poppins.”  Rob Marshall has danced on Oscar doorstep since his Best Picture win for “Chicago” with “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “Nine,” both resulting in mixed praise and a near Oscar ignoring.  The former though won three technical awards on the night while the latter only managed four nominations barely.  After the dismal product that was “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” it’s important for Marshall to return to his former glory.  At worst, we need to keep looking at this for a strong showing with the actors especially Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep.

2432_FPT3_00236R_CROPAngelina Jolie’s “Unbroken” is set to have its World Premiere in Australia on November 17.  The World War II film has been for many, the sight unseen frontrunner to rule them all.  Universal Pictures has nothing but time and money for Jolie’s film as they will only be attempting a strong push for Tate Taylor’s “Get on Up” and its star Chadwick Boseman at the Golden Globes (perhaps even a dark horse representation for Viola Davis and the Sound team) and an Original Song from Seth MacFarlane’s “A Million Ways to Die in the West.”  The first awards screening for Jolie’s film is scheduled for December 1.  With that, we wait to see young Jack O’Connell cap off a spectacular year with his powerful turns in “’71” and “Starred Up.”  As said in a previous Oscar Circuit, O’Connell would be the youngest Best Actor nominee, if nominated, since John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever.”  A hard hurdle to jump in this stacked Lead Actor race.  We also await the possibility of Miyavi (or Takamasa Ishiara) as the ruthless villain.  Comparisons to Ralph Fiennes in “Schindler’s List” are already being made.

Warner Bros. feels confident on the prospect of Clint Eastwood‘s “American Sniper” with Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller.  Rumored to be a return to form for the two-time Best Director winner, the war film may hit the sweet spot during the holiday rush and repeat the “Million Dollar Baby” trajectory.  Cooper could also ride the wave set for him the past two years after two nominations for “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle.”  The bells may start ringing for him at the Dolby for him.  Warner Bros. also has the final installment of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” but with the past two films scoring three nominations each, I don’t think we’re looking for an Oscar resurgence of the franchise.

A24 is hedging their bets on J.C. Chandor‘s “A Most Violent Year,” which just scored a Best Actor nomination for Oscar Isaac from the Gotham Awards last week.  Isaac, and co-star Jessica Chastain, could shake things up in their categories that both seem to have four “secure” performers in the midst.

“Interstellar” isn’t the only film on Paramount Pictures’ mind at the moment.  Just last Thursday, Ava DuVernay’s “Selma” test screened for audiences.  Unconfirmed reports say that the film is solid and David Oyelowo will make a compelling argument for himself in Best Actor.  No word yet on any supporting performers that include Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth, and Carmen Ejogo.  Though I’m starting to think this may be too little too late no matter how great the film is.

The Weinstein Company has been test screened “Big Eyes” at least three times over the past few months (I’m sure there’s more).  Rumors are not good for the film but that hasn’t stopped them from convincing the world that Meryl Streep should win an Oscar at the same time that Viola Davis offered her career best work in “The Help.”  Stars Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz are favorites within the Academy and could fit into a Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor category if well-received.

41 minutes of Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings” was shown in Los Angeles and New York (where our own Joey Magidson attended).  Rumors of a 200-minute run time were thwarted just this week.  Everyone has been cautious on the film’s chances in the race, and that doesn’t seem to be changing at this climate.  If anything, we can look at the film for citations in Production Design, Costumes, and Visual Effects.

Oscar Prediction pages will be updated throughout the night, and into Monday, but are reflected on the sidebar for now.  Include your thoughts on the race in the comment section.

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Clayton Davis--prolific writer and autism awareness advocate of Puerto Rican and Black descent, known for his relentless passion, dedication, and unique aptitude. Over the course of a decade, he has been criticizing both film and television extensively. To date, he has been either featured or quoted in an array of prominent outlets, including but not limited to The New York Times, CNN.com, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, FOX 5, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter. Growing up in the Bronx, Clayton’s avid interest in the movie world began the moment he first watched "Dead Poets Society” at just five years of age. While he struggled in English class all throughout grade school, he dived head first into writing, ultimately taking those insufficiencies and transforming them into ardent writings pertaining to all things film, television, and most importantly, the Academy Awards. In addition to crafting a collection of short stories that give a voice to films that haven’t made it to the silver screen, Clayton currently serves as the Founding Editor of AwardsCircuit.com. He also holds active voting membership at various esteemed organizations, such as the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Broadcast Television Journalists Association, African-American Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Online, Black Reel Awards, and International Press Academy. Furthermore, Clayton obtained his B.A. degree in American Studies and Communications.