Welcome to the 2018 Awards Profile series, where we talk about films coming to a theater near you at some point this year (at least at this time of writing). We will analyze the potential for these films to be players for the Academy Awards, and while many of these have the potential to be recognized, many will not, either by quality or being pushed back to the following year. For the next few weeks, we will bring you a film every Monday through Friday to talk about their awards hopes and analyze the film’s chances for success. If you have a suggestion, please include it in the comments below. If you missed a film, click on the tag or category Awards Profile.
FILM: “Old Man and the Gun”
PRODUCERS: Toby Halbrooks, Bill Holderman, James M. Johnston, Anthony Mastromauro, Dawn Ostroff, Robert Redford, Jeremy Steckler, James D. Stern
DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Searchlight
DIRECTOR: David Lowery
WRITERS: David Lowery (based on an article by David Grann)
CAST: Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Elisabeth Moss, Danny Glover
SYNOPSIS: An elderly bank robber, who had managed to escape from prison over a dozen times in his life before moving to a retirement community, looks to spice things up with another heist.
WHY IT MIGHT SUCCEED:
The film is based on the true story of Forrest Tucker, as chronicled in the article written by David Grann. Tucker emerges from San Quentin at age 70 and promptly begins pulling more heists. There is a world in where this resembles “Going in Style,” or other recent films about a cast of old-timers getting into trouble. However, much more likely is writer/director David Lowery is giving Robert Redford another movie star level role to sink his teeth into. Having been a major name in film since the 60s, Redford’s involvement gives the film a great deal more buzz, in terms of awards.
Oscar winner Sissy Spacek seems ripe for an Oscar comeback. Spacek won the Oscar for Best Actress in 1980 for “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” where she played Loretta Lynn. In total, she has received six nominations over her career. Yet, the last of them was in 2001 for “In the Bedroom” in the lead actress race. Her role as Jewel, a woman who loves Forrest despite his choice of profession, looks Oscar ready. The supporting actress category, for better or worse, loves the trope of supportive or beleaguered girlfriend. If anyone is going to take off from this film, Spacek could be the best bet.
Writer/Director David Lowery shows great promise as a filmmaker. “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” earned strong reviews and featured some strong cinematography. His latest film, “A Ghost Story,” proved to be more ambitious. For that, the film corralled many admirers. This sets Lowery up well to break into the Academy. In particular, this film appears to fit much more closely with the Academy’s taste.
WHY IT MIGHT NOT SUCCEED:
So many people involved are not Oscar tested. As stated before, writer/director David Lowery hasn’t seen Oscar take notice of his previous films. This particularly hinders him in the directing field. Adapted Screenplay looks more likely for him to break through. Despite being one of the biggest stars with insane longevity, Robert Redford has a much sketchier Oscar track record. To date, he holds only one Oscar nomination for acting, which was for “The Sting” in 1973. He fared much better in directing, winning for “Ordinary People” in 1980 and receiving another nomination for “Quiz Show” in 1994. However, as we found out recently with “All is Lost,” Redford is far from a lock for a comeback nomination.
One of the few people involved that has found success is Casey Affleck. He recently won lead actor for his role in “Manchester by the Sea,” directed by Kenneth Lonergan. He did this despite the mounting sexual assault allegations against him. However, this past year saw a seismic shift in the conversation around sexual assault, thanks to the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Times Up and #MeToo movements. Affleck recently bowed out of presenting at the Oscars due to the controversy. There is still a chance his performance could be good. However, there would be a lot of resistance to rewarding Affleck in the current climate.
POTENTIAL OSCAR CATEGORIES IN PLAY:
- Actor – Robert Redford
- Supporting Actress – Sissy Spacek
- Adapted Screenplay – David Lowery