Awards Season Shuffle – Where Will Actors Be Campaigned?

American HustleMoving in on these later summer days, the season is gearing  up for a loud and hopefully entertaining start with Telluride, Toronto, and New York Film Festival all coming in at just over a month’s time.  The staff and I weighed in our predictions, and I’ll probably do one more little tweak just before the first festival gets under way but it’s a little weird how the year has turned out thus far.  We’re anxiously awaiting the drop of many high-profile projects but I must say, surprising, I’m a little gitty about the year.  After coming off a banner year with so many great pictures delivering on multiple fronts, maybe not so much with Oscar but still great nonetheless, I’m sitting with glee about what this year could offer.

Some general things I’ve heard around the “circuit” that is adding to the excitement.  Word through the grapevine is that Bruce Dern will be receiving the Lead Actor push for Alexander Payne’s Nebraska.  Not an ending campaign but the Supporting route was much more clear and tailor-made for an actor of his caliber.  He could still do some damage but will now need to push out bigger contenders like Matthew McConaughey, Robert Redford, and Chiwetel Ejiofor if my suspicions pan out.

McConaughey has been the talk of both coasts, which bodes exceptionally well for Focus Features and the possibilities for Dallas Buyers Club.  The man has already kicked off the year with a strong chance at Supporting Actor for Jeff Nichols’ Mud, a performance that still feels relevant given the year thus far.  The film comes out on DVD and Blu Ray tomorrow and with the right push and attention, McConaughey can find himself in the company of actors like Jamie Foxx and double nominated.

Focus Features has also decided to give Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines the awards season treatment.  Stars Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper will both be competing in the Supporting which ups their possibilities considerably.  If big contenders begin to flounder, the film can possibly muster more out than just an Original Screenplay mention.

AmyAdams_AmericanHustleOn this week’s edition of the Awards Circuit Power Hour, we talked a lot about David O. Russell’s American Hustle and where that film can find itself one year after Argo’s historic win.  A dynamite cast is assembled, which is not surprising coming from Russell, but the question is what Sony Pictures choose to do with the women of the cast.  Early word is that four-time Academy Award nominee Amy Adams will get a shot in Lead with co-star Jennifer Lawrence going supporting.  Adams trail to Oscar hasn’t offered too many opportunities as a leading lady.  In 2007, Adams tried to find some muscle room in the light-hearted yet brilliantly acted Enchanted.  Something that proved to be unsuccessful despite a nod from the Golden Globe and Critics Choice awards.  After that, she only had Julie & Julia (2009) opposite Meryl Streep and we know where the kudos for that film went.  If she brings what looks to be this hot, sexy, crime-chick role to new levels, perhaps she will represent the new demographic of “young Best Actress winners” this year since they seem to be in a drought this season so far.

With lips firmly tightened on Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Harvey and the Weinstein Company seem to be looking at which film will hedge their bets for awards season success.  Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station is a beloved film by critics and audiences so far and the lovely Octavia Spencer seems to be heading up what could be a thin Supporting Actress race.   Toronto will kick off (or put an end to) the campaign for August: Osage County and the actors along with Justin Chadwick’s Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.  The latter has (allegedly) began some of the early rounds with stars Idris Elba and Naomie Harris making plays for their categories.

There are some that are speaking about a possible last-minute push back for Grace of Monaco which would put Lead Actress hopeful Nicole Kidman out of the running.  Not sure if this is true or will pan out.  There’s no reason for the shift unless its another Paperboy-like reception.  Word has become very quiet on James Gray’s The Immigrant as well.  I wonder if they’ll still go all in with Marion Cotillard as some thought from Cannes?  There’s also thoughts that co-star Joaquin Phoenix may fare better in supporting, a move that the studio may be willing to make.

Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, which has been picked up by Sony/Columbia still has no firm release date.  That worries me.  Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, and Bennett Miller himself would be near the top of predictions if we had a date but with what seems like a reluctant commitment on the studios part to give a 2013 push, perhaps they’ll sit on it until 2014.  It could be a simple reason of having your hands full.  The studio has Captain Phillips from Paul Greengrass, The Monuments Men from George Clooney, and American Hustle from David O. Russell.  All three will cost a ton of money with campaigns and screenings.  2014 may be a better move financially.

I wanted to make my obligatory Oscar wishes for the season now.  I’ve made these before.  Two years ago I did it September 30.  I wished for Michelle Williams to change my mind for My Week with Marilyn, Leonardo DiCaprio to not play J. Edgar Hoover-roles anymore, and for something to BLOW me away.  One of those happened and Leo has seemed to change it up so I consider those wishes semi-granted.  Last year, they came October 1 with wishes for Joaquin Phoenix to win for The Master (2012), Hitchcock to be nominated for nothing, and for Flight (2012) to prove that Denzel Washington has still got it acting-wise.  One of those worked out I guess.

I have to wait.  I may end up missing the mark and wishing for something I’d regret later.  Though the names 12 Years a Slave and Michael Fassbender would be near the top.  I’ll leave it to all of you to talk among yourselves and discuss what you want to see happen in the season.  I’ll hold off on mine a little longer.

Discuss.