Awards Profile: Snowden

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Welcome to the 2015 Awards Profiles series.  For the next two months, every day (except for Saturday), we will bring you a run down of a future 2015 film that we see as a potential awards vehicle for next year’s Academy Awards.  This is all speculative since with just about all these films, we haven’t seen a frame yet.  Nonetheless, we venture on.  If you miss a film, then click on the tag “2015 Awards Profile.”

Director: Oliver Stone
Writers: Kieran Fitzgerald and Oliver Stone
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Scott Eastwood, Melissa Leo, Timothy Olyphant, Zachary Quinto, Nicolas Cage and Tom Wilkinson.
Synopsis: Curtesy of Wikipedia, “Edward Snowden, an American computer professional, leaked classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) to the mainstream media starting in June 2013.”

Why It Could Succeed: Biopic party.  While not every biopic walks away from Oscar night with 11 Oscars, the right combination of factors can yield a successful campaign.  Just last year, we had dueling British Geniuses Biopics in The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything.  In 2013 we had The Wolf of Wall Street, Dallas Buyers Club, and 12 Years a Slave.  2012 gave us Lincoln, etc.  Then again, there’s always The Fifth Estate

A Welcome Back Party.  Everyone love a redemption story.  Three-time Oscar-winner Oliver Stone hasn’t snuffed Oscar since 1995, and with good reason.  He’s back in tight political ground (his forte).  I think this film will live and die on how Stone portrays Edward Snowden and if American’s (and the Academy’s) view of this enigma are aligned with Stone’s.

Finally, we have the two stars of the film, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley.  Both are at the point in their career where they are getting films which can garner them Academy attention.  Woodley has unquestionably been close before, and if she doesn’t discuss her thoughts on feminism during the run-up to Oscar, she might make some headway.  Gordon-Levitt hasn’t exactly been close to a nomination in the past, but it’s about that time in his career.  Further, like Emma Stone last year, poplar actors can eventually make a case with the right project to finally get that “first nomination.”

Why It Might Not: As referenced earlier, a biopic is not always a de facto nominee.  Often, biopics are too paint-by-numbers can boring.  Much will depend on the actual quality of the film (surprise!).  Frankly, I get the sense that this film may just not be good enough.  Stone has been swinging and missing since 1995, and I’m not sure there’s much in the Snowden story that we haven’t already seen.

Gordon-Levitt and Woodley aren’t exactly known commodities on the campaign trail.  Woodley is want to say some uncouth things and Gordon-Levitt might be tasked with promoting not only Snowden, but his tight-rope walking adaptation of Man on Wire.

Politics.  While CitizenFour won Best Documentary Feature at this year’s Oscars, I never got a good sense of how the Academy felt re: the politics of the film.  Politics can unquestionably play a big role in how a film is not only received, but rewarded (American Sniper anyone?).  If Stone makes Snowden out to be some sort of villain, how will critics, Hollywood, and the media respond?  If Stone makes Snowden out to be some sort of hero, how will critics, Hollywood, and the media respond?

Awards Speculation: Huge question mark.  This could be up for everything or nothing whatsoever.

Potential Nominations:
Best Picture
Best Director – Oliver Stone
Best Actor – Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Best Supporting Actress – Shailene Woodley
Best Supporting Actor – Zachary Quinto
Best Adapted Screenplay – Kieran Fitzgerald and Oliver Stone
Best Film Editing
Best Cinematography – Anthony Dod Mantle
Best Sound Editing
Best Sound Mixing

CHECK OUT THE OFFICIAL OSCAR PREDICTIONS:

PICTURE | DIRECTOR | LEAD ACTOR | LEAD ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE |PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND MIXING | SOUND EDITING | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE |ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | FOREIGN LANGUAGE | LIVE ACTION SHORT |ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT