New Studios on the Awards Block Hope to Score Oscar Love This Year

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What goes up must come down, as proven with the collapse of studio executive Harvey Weinstein.  With dozens of allegations coming in by the day, and his brother Bob struggling to keep The Weinstein Company afloat, we now take a moment to look at the new up and comers in the entertainment industry, namely in the Oscar game.

With A24 and Open Road winning the last two Best Picture Oscars (“Moonlight” and “Spotlight”), the genesis of bold, extravagant tales, may be upon us.  This year, Entertainment Studios hopes to break into the awards game with two under-the-radar films: John Curran’s “Chappaquiddick” and Scott Cooper’s “Hostiles.”

Hostiles” walked into the Telluride Film Festival, without distribution, and looking for a home to embrace its western sensibilities.  Stars Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike have been praised, and in time following its TIFF debut, the studio founded by Byron Allen purchased the distribution rights.  With a Best Actor race that seems on the surface, just trying to fill itself up with four men that will lose to “Darkest Hour” star Gary Oldman, the four-time nominee and one-time winner of “The Fighter,” may be able to squeeze himself into a lineup.

In the case of Curran’s dissection of Ted Kennedy and his actions following a fatal car accident in 1969, “Chappaquiddick” may be able to produce a nomination for its star Jason Clarke.  Already impressive in Dee Rees’ upcoming “Mudbound,” one performance can certainly help the other.  With Netflix reportedly going to push all of the actors in the supporting categories, Clarke seems to have a path towards his first Academy Award nomination if enough critics and voters can see the film.

Other newbies include NEON founded by Tom Quinn and Fantastic Fest co-founder Tim League.  The 10-month old distribution company has its hands on Craig Gillespie’s magnificently crafted “I, Tonya.” The dramatic take on the life of Tonya Harding has brought an unquestionable amount of Oscar buzz surrounding not just the film but its stars Margot Robbie and Emmy winner Allison Janney.  Can they maneuver a very well-detailed and oiled-machine like awards season, bringing the two the first nominations and even wins?  There’s even talk that there’s going to be a push for their first release “Colossal” and its star Anne Hathaway.  Can they juggle multiple fruits?  Though some will say the recent controversy surrounding Alamo Drafthouse and Ain’t It Cool News founder Harry Knowles may have negative outcomes, time will tell on that equation as League has reportedly already severed all ties with Knowles.

If you follow the Oscar game then you know the name Megan Ellison as the industry titan has had her hands on past Oscar nominees like “Her,” “American Hustle,” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” resulting in herself receiving nominations as a producer.  As she ventures off into distributing her own films under Annapurna Pictures, her pride and passion will be poured into Kathryn Bigelow‘s “Detroit” finding awards love.  Though it wasn’t the box smash she would have hoped for, the film was well-received by critics with standout notices going to members of the cast and its direction.  With the launch of the awards site, and as it was first reported by Awards Circuit, they hope to find room for Algee Smith in a Best Actor lineup, with co-stars John Boyega and Will Poulter scraping their way in Supporting.  The film based on true events is also a strong contender in the Original Song race with the number “It Ain’t Fair.”

Though around since March 2014, Robert Simonds and Bill McGlashan‘s STX Entertainment is hoping to have a breakout year.  Admittedly fumbling the ball with past films like “The Gift” and “The Edge of Seventeen,” this year they have the writing and rumored outstanding directing talent of Aaron Sorkin on their side with “Molly’s Game.”   Not to mention a dynamite twice-nominated star in Jessica Chastain just awaiting her time on the Dolby Theatre stage.  After debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival, the film will be looking for a couple f “above-the-line” spots.  There’s also a shot for Idris Elba to come along for the ride if the film hits right, still stinging from his snub in 2015 for “Beasts of No Nation” during the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.

Finishing up their second fiscal year, Bleecker Street is walking into the season with “The Man Who Invented Christmas” from Bharat Nalluri and “Breathe” from Andy Serkis.  In the case of the latter, the studio is bullish on the chances its stars Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy, both of which are riding waves of awards love from the year prior (though in a different medium for Foy).   Last year the company founded by former Co-CEO of Focus Features Andrew Karpen were able to find Oscar love for Viggo Mortensen and the script for the film “Captain Fantastic,” while the year prior, Bryan Cranston was hot on the heels of eventual winner Leonardo DiCaprio for his work in “Trumbo.”  This year could follow a similar suit.

We move into mid-October, still looking for a frontrunner in several categories.  With over a thousand new Academy members, everyone is going to try to woo them and secure the votes needed for their nominations.

Oscar Predictions have been updated.  Share your own in the comments below.

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MOTION PICTURE | DIRECTOR |
LEAD ACTOR | LEAD ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | 
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE |
PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND MIXING | SOUND EDITING | VISUAL EFFECTS |
ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG |
FOREIGN LANGUAGE |

  • Matt St.Clair

    I’d love it if Neon geared up at least a Globes push for Aubrey Plaza in Ingrid Goes West. I still think she gives the best performance by a lead actress so far this year.