Directed By: Stephen Daldry
Written By: Richard Curtis
Cast: Rooney Mara, Martin Sheen, Wagner Moura, Selton Mello
Synopsis: Set in an unnamed Third World country, three kids who make a discovery in a garbage dump soon find themselves running from the cops and trying to right a terrible wrong.
Why It Could Succeed:
The Director. At this point, is anyone comfortable saying a Stephen Daldry film won’t succeed? When the renowned theatre director made his feature film-directing debut in 2000 with Billy Elliot, Daldry and the AMPAS began their love affair with a Best Director nomination for Daldry. His following two films, 2002’s The Hours and 2008’s The Reader, received not only nominations for Daldry’s direction, but also Best Picture nods. Perhaps most famously of all, his fourth film, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, received a Best Picture nomination in 2011. Given that the Academy has embraced Daldry’s entire filmography, why would they stop now?
The Scribe. Indeed, Trash’s screenwriter and Oscar-nominee, Richard Curtis, could help the film succeed. While many scoff at the films he’s penned, they’ve nevertheless been successful or, at the least, enjoyable. In addition to his Oscar nomination in 1994, he’s written Renée Zellweger to an Oscar nod for Bridget Jones’s Diary and wrote the script to the 2011 Best Picture nominee War Horse.
The Producers. Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner have a collective seven Oscar nominations for Best Picture under their belts for the films Elizabeth, Atonement, Frost/Nixon, and Les Miserables. Their other credits include Rush, Anna Karenina, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, Senna, A Serious Man, Burn After Reading, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, United 93, Pride & Prejudice, and Fargo. Needless to say, they have a nice record of producing not only good films, but films that at least in some capacity gain the attention of the Academy.
Why It Might Not Succeed:
The story. Wikipedia describes Trash (both the novel and the film) as an “adventure drama thriller.” Typically, the Academy is not too keen on two-thirds of those genres when it comes to above-the-line nominations. However, very recently, they’ve enjoyed highly artistic adventure films such as Life is Pi and Gravity. Likewise, the story sounds like a distant cousin to Slumdog Millionaire, which could either help or hurt it.
The cast. No shade to the wonderful Rooney Mara or the always-fantastic Martin Sheen, but they’re no Oscar darlings. And…they’re the only two “famous” actors in the whole movie. Given the story is about a trio of boys who fall into a series of unfortunate events, it doesn’t sound like many familiar faces are going to be on screen. While in the recent past the Academy has embraced films with unknown actors (Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire), it’s certainly far from the norm.
Daldry. Eventually the train has to stop right? There’s no way he could get five consecutive films nominated in either Best Picture or Best Director….right? It seems just too unlikely to be true. He’s got to show a crack in his armor eventually, and this could be where it happens.
Best Adapted Screenplay