We are about to enter May, the very beginning of the summer blockbuster season. Both the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals have premiered and produced several films that could be in contention with the Academy Awards (the Oscars) by the end of the year. It’s always difficult to assess these early festival films. Some have the quality to go the distance but financing and availability often aren’t on their side. In 2013, Tribeca produced two Oscar nominees: Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight and Belgium’s The Broken Circle Breakdown.
This year, of all the buzz and awards that have been given out, it looks like Zero Motivation by writer/director Talya Lavie looks to be a possibility for Israel for a foreign language submission. Ira Sachs’ Love is Strange is a beautiful little movie with outstanding performances by both Alfred Molina and John Lithgow. If I were making an awards push however, I’d focus on an Original Screenplay campaign. Though both actors are worthy, and I’d argue that you can begin to find some room in a Supporting Actor lineup for Lithgow, the writing categories can find the little films more often than not. I think there’s also room for other films and performances if they’re released this year. Some of those possibilities include Jon Faverau’s Chef, Rory Culkin’s stunning performance in Gabriel, and the eclectic and different nature of documentaries like Mala Mala.
From Sundance, the list is a bit longer. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has the passion and the critics on his side. With twelve years of anticipation building, the film may be just what the doctor ordered. Same goes for actors Eltar Coltrane and Patricia Arquette, if Oscar is looking for something different and fresh. Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, which won the top audience award will have the backing of Sony Pictures Classics this year. As the film gets ready for a screening at Cannes, a veteran actor like J.K. Simmons may finally have his time in the spotlight after memorable turns in Juno and Burn After Reading.
Cannes is gearing up to be underway with Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher making its big debut. Judging by my recent Oscar Predictions update, I have a lot of faith in the film and its stars Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo. Also hoping to make a play in France is Tommy Lee Jones with The Homesman, which could secure two-time Oscar-winner Hilary Swank in a Best Actress race. There’s also David Cronenberg‘s Maps to the Stars which looks like a total mystery of quality and story. Here’s hoping that Julianne Moore is the standout.
Of what has been opened this year so far, I think we have one solid contender for a Best Picture nomination and that would be Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. There are enough critics that love it (surprisingly, I don’t join them in their love) and it could be that early year contender that makes the lineup. One thing’s for sure, I, along with many internet movie lovers, will be championing a long overdue third nomination for Ralph Fiennes. Completely utilizing all his comedic timing and charm, Fiennes delivers one of his best performances in years. There are some rumors that he could get the Supporting Actor push but it’s WAY too early to be give into category fraud talk. Other acting contenders include Scarlett Johansson as the reserved and enigmatic character in Under the Skin, a performance that has its admirers since Toronto last year. Though receiving decent enough reviews, the buzz surrounding The Railway Man has been quiet for contenders Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. Unsure if that will do anything.
The Animated Feature race is loaded with two hot contenders with The Lego Movie and Rio 2, the former of which could be a winner in a year that is without Pixar. In the technical categories Darren Aronofsky’s Noah may be able to “Lone Ranger” itself into a Visual Effects race or even a sound category. Marvel Studios will have a lot to work with when it comes time to push Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Sound and Visual categories may come calling.
When it comes to television, the race is heating up. This year, we have individual category pages for the Emmy Awards. As of today, you can view the Emmy Predictions for Best Drama Series, Comedy Series, Lead Actor in a Drama, and Lead Actor in a Comedy. The rest will be coming periodically throughout the next few weeks. Of course you can comment on each race via the comment section.
“Breaking Bad” looks good for the Drama race with “True Detective” and “Game of Thrones” possibly posing threats. With “Mad Men” beginning to say goodbye, AMC will be looking to pounce next year. On the Comedy front, the big question is if “Modern Family” will go five in a row after two mediocre seasons? What will replace the ABC sitcom on top? “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” won the Golden Globe award but seems too “cool” for a first year win. “The Big Bang Theory,” “Veep,” and “Orange is the New Black” will have the chops to unseat the show.
Acting wise, Drama is the race to watch. Will Bryan Cranston get an award for the road, or will newly Oscar-crowned Matthew McConaughey steal it away? There’s also Jeff Daniels in “The Newsroom” that’s saying goodbye this year as well. Comedy will have Jim Parsons likely going up against Michael J. Fox and Louie C.K.. We’ll keep you posted on the race as it develops.
Check out all the newly updated prediction pages and include your own thoughts down below.