Awards Profile 2019: Guy Ritchie’s ‘Aladdin’ from Walt Disney Pictures

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Welcome to the 2019 Awards Profile series, where we talk about films coming to a theater near you in the coming year (at least at this time of writing). The series analyzes the films and their awards season potential, most notably for the Academy Awards, based on the talents attached, filmmakers involved, and story and source material.  Monday through Friday until mid-May, AwardsCircuit will bring you a new and exciting project and discuss its chances for success. If you have a suggestion for a movie we should cover, include it in the comments section below. If you miss a film covered, click on the tag or category for “Awards Profile.”

FILM: “Aladdin”

DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
DIRECTOR: Guy Ritchie
PRODUCERS: Ivan Atkinson, Kevin De La Noy, Jonathan Eirich, Max Keene, Dan Lin, Karl McMillan, Mark Mostyn, Marc Platt
WRITERS: John August, Guy Ritchie
CAST: Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Marwan Kenzari, Billy Magnussen, Nasim Pedrad, Navid Negahban, Alan Tudyk
SYNOPSIS: A kindhearted Arabian street urchin and a power-hungry Grand Vizier vie for a magic lamp that has the power to make the deepest wishes come true.

SCHEDULED RELEASE: May 24, 2019

POTENTIAL HIGHLIGHTS

Disney has the market cornered when it comes to magical nostalgia. Their recent spate of live-action remakes of their own beloved animated films have brought the studio significant, steady bank in recent years. Their newest remake, “Aladdin,” could follow the same path. With director Guy Ritchie at the helm and Disney’s special effects departments, a big name like Will Smith set as a supporting star, and a collection of songs millennials grew up singing, people will be flocking to the theaters. For loyal Disney fans, this film will likely be a favorite simply for the song and dance numbers and the very idea of their favorite film with a new, live-action twist. But unlike previous live-action remakes like “Cinderella,” “Aladdin’s” buzz seems more negative than positive.

POTENTIAL CHALLENGES

From the get-go, the live-action “Aladdin” has had some hard knocks, due to Ritchie’s awkwardly ignorant remarks about difficulties in finding a lead actor, backlash about Naomi Scott, set to play Jasmine, being of British and Indian descent instead of Middle Eastern, and general disappointment about the “Aladdin” cast. But Smith, who’s set to play fan favorite Genie, is both the greatest asset and greatest thorn in “Aladdin’s” side. Robin Williams’ Genie (the biggest personality of the animated “Aladdin” film) is a hard act to follow, and it’s also a dubious task to paint only one guy blue, stick him in a magical but human land, and have it look believable.

EW’s official first look at “Aladdin,” complete with sanctioned first look photos, showed Smith before his CGI blue skin was added (see above). It’s an understatement to say people weren’t feeling it. To combat some of the negative press, Disney later released some trailers with the blue skin fully added (see below), but it still looks like the Genie won’t be blue full-time, and there are quite a few memes still mocking Smith’s take (and the CGI look). We’ll just have to wait and see if audiences will love Smith as the Genie, blue or not.

On a final note, the one trump card Disney does have is their name recognition. Overall, their box office returns will soar simply because it’s Disney’s “Aladdin,” no matter the form, and people will flock to theaters to see it. However, the aforementioned issues could affect their awards season take; if the film bombs with critics, we may only see a few courtesy nominations for its music, costuming, and perhaps special effects.

POTENTIAL AWARD CATEGORIES IN PLAY:

  • Motion Picture (Ivan Atkinson, Kevin De La Noy, Jonathan Eirich, Max Keene, Dan Lin, Karl McMillan, Mark Mostyn, Marc Platt)
  • Director (Guy Ritchie)
  • Actor in a Leading Role (Mena Massoud)
  • Actor in a Supporting Role (Will Smith, Alan Tudyk, Marwan Kenzari)
  • Actress in a Supporting Role (Naomi Scott, Nasim Pedrad)
  • Adapted Screenplay (John August, Guy Ritchie)
  • Production Design (Gemma Jackson)
  • Cinematography (Alan Stewart)
  • Costume Design (Michael Wilkinson)
  • Film Editing (James Herbert)
  • Makeup and Hairstyling (To be announced)
  • Sound Mixing (To be announced)
  • Sound Editing (To be announced)
  • Visual Effects (To be announced)
  • Music (Alan Menken)

POTENTIAL KEY NOTICES FROM OTHER GROUPS

  • Best Original Score (Oscars): Alan Menken is a giant among composers, and one of the scorers behind some of Disney’s most successful animated films ever. There’s no way Menken won’t be nominated in at least one music or sound category for his work on the new “Aladdin.”

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