Oscar Circuit: Confidence Going Into Phase 1 of Awards Season

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boyhood_stillWe are one week away from the kick off for Phase 1 of awards season.  Lots of studios and contenders and gearing up for a lengthy 2-month wine and dine to get their films cited by the right groups.  SAG ballots are about to go out, and we have some movement in the latest Oscar Predictions to take notice.

Angelina Jolie’s “Unbroken” is set to have its World Premiere in Australia next week and the buzz should start building for the film and all of its possible nominations.  One that we will be keeping an ear out for is co-star Miyavi in Supporting Actor.  Universal Pictures feels very confident on where the film as a whole may take them.  It’s hard being the “presumed frontrunner” for so long.  Even though we haven’t had the film in the top spot all year, many pundits and Oscar prognosticators have.

Walt Disney Pictures and “Into the Woods” will have its first official Academy screening on November 22.  It will be a simul-screening in both Los Angeles and New York, followed by a Q & A with director Rob Marshall and the entire cast.  Any press that attends will be under strict embargo so don’t look to the Twitter-sphere for reactions, unless you follow Academy members (which might be more useful to you).

IFC Films has the fire to push “Boyhood” and its writer/director Richard Linklater through the awards circuit with passion.  With a new Original Song contender announced from the film, they may be feeling confident to take on some of the bigger pictures like “Birdman” and “The Imitation Game.”  We could be in for a sweep if things go their way.  Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke are looking mighty strong in the Supporting categories to take on the season as well.

A24 Films must be feeling confident as well with “A Most Violent Year” from J.C. Chandor premiering to high praise from AFI Film Fest.  Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain are contending for spots and the film as a whole may make a big dent during the season.  It could be a strong technical embrace for the likes of DP Bradford Young and maybe Score too.

Sony Pictures Classics has their hands full but they have to be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with “Foxcatcher” about to open, and now “Still Alice.”  Julianne Moore looks unstoppable at the moment, and the Academy screening I attended last Friday had very audible crying and applause.  Small theater but all the same, I think it makes a big impact.  I’d say start looking at Kristen Stewart as the “Sally Hawkins”-ride in this year as well.

Focus Features is off to a great start for Eddie Redmayne, who will be honored at Palm Springs.  “The Theory of Everything” opened in five theaters this past weekend and had the highest per screen average of the weekend.  Huge for the film.  I think we need to look at co-star Charlie Cox for a possible last-minute sneak in as well.  His role is pretty fantastic and he may get a lot of love during the season especially from BAFTA.  Felicity Jones still remains the spoiler to Julianne Moore’s parade.

Also from the weekend, Christopher Nolan’sInterstellar” opened to an impressive $50 million.  Paramount is gearing up for an in-depth campaign and the overdue narrative will be used a lot for Nolan, who has yet to receive a Best Director nomination.  Though the film was received mostly positive, there are some who didn’t get on board.  One year after “Gravity” snagged seven Oscars, I wonder how many “Interstellar” will take in the end.  There’s also the question surrounding the “McConaissance” and how much of it still exists.  Will Matthew McConaughey be able to break up a very tight Best Actor race?  Or will Paramount really put their focus behind David Oyelowo in “Selma,” who looks incredible as Martin Luther King.

Check out the newest Oscar Predictions and make sure to include your own 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.