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: “Long Shot”

DISTRIBUTOR: Lionsgate

DIRECTOR: Jonathan Levine
PRODUCERS: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, James Weaver, Beth Kono, and Charlize Theron
WRITER(S): Liz Hannah and Dan Sterling
CAST: Seth Rogen, Charlize Theron, O’Shea Jackson Jr., June Diane Raphael, Randall Park, Andy Serkis, Alexander Skarsgard, and Bob Odenkirk
SYNOPSIS: When Fred Flarsky reunites with his first crush, one of the most influential women in the world, Charlotte Field, he charms her. As she prepares to make a run for the Presidency, Charlotte hires Fred as her speechwriter and sparks fly. (IMDB)

SCHEDULED RELEASE: May 3, 2019

POTENTIAL HIGHLIGHTS:

Charlize Theron’s involvement gives the film some prestige. The Oscar-winning actress has proven her capabilities as a dramatic performer. But after “A Million Ways to Die in the West” faltered, she’s still giving the comedy genre another try. Not to mention, she’s poised to have a pretty prolific year. Along with “Long Shot,” Theron has the currently untitled Roger Ailes biopic on the horizon where she plays Megyn Kelly.

However, if Theron somehow doesn’t happen, one of the supporting actors could. Nowadays, if the Academy embraces comedic performances, it’s in the supporting categories. As a result, someone like O’Shea Jackson Jr. or June Diane Raphael could contend if they have a sizeable role.

While this may seem like a light comedic romp, there could also be some heft behind it. It provides political resonance by depicting a woman running for President. Plus, it’s co-written by Liz Hannah who made her screenwriting debut with the journalist drama “The Post” back in 2017. So, this movie could be another case of misleading marketing like last year’s “Blockers.”

POTENTIAL CHALLENGES:

Despite the talent involved, it’s still a comedy. That’s the biggest hurdle for “Long Shot” to overcome. In addition, it’s a summer action comedy which seems like a triple whammy. As previously mentioned, they’ll nominate an actor for a comedic role once in a while. For instance, Robert Downey, Jr. got nominated for “Tropic Thunder” and Melissa McCarthy for “Bridesmaids” as well. However, they’re still ambivalent towards comedies.

Comedies sometimes fare well in the Screenplay categories. Yet they still tend to suffer from genre bias. In fact, director Jonathan Levine’s previous feature “50/50” was in the running for Best Original Screenplay back in 2011. Its script even had a mix of comedy and dramatic heft. But it ultimately got left out.

Truthfully, the fact that it’s a comedy is its only hurdle. Even if it ends up being a comedy-drama, the “comedy” part is still difficult to overcome. Also, while Seth Rogen may be a beloved comedian, he doesn’t have a previous track record with the Academy. He has tried to go serious with “Steve Jobs” back in 2015. But this project may be within his typical wheelhouse.

POTENTIAL AWARDS CATEGORIES IN PLAY:
  • Actor in a Leading Role (Seth Rogen)
  • Actress in a Leading Role (Charlize Theron)
  • Actor in a Supporting Role (O’Shea Jackson)
  • Actress in a Supporting Role (June Diane Raphael)
  • Original Screenplay (Liz Hannah, John Sterling)
POTENTIAL KEY NOTICES FROM OTHER GROUPS:
  • Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy (Golden Globes): The HFPA previously nominated Theron in this category for “Tully” and “Young Adult.”
  • Best Comedy (Critics’ Choice): In this category, the BFCA embraces mainstream comedies that may not have a shot with Oscar.
  • Best Original Screenplay (WGA): The Writers Guild tends to be quite friendly to comedic scripts.

Do you think “Long Shot” could be an Oscar player? Could it overcome comedy bias? Please share your thoughts!

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