Written By: Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf, and Jamie Linden
Cast: George Clooney, Jack O’Connell, Julia Roberts, Dominic West, Caitriona Balfe, Giancarlo Esposito, and more…
Synopsis (via IMDb): Lee Gates is a TV personality whose insider tips have made him the money guru of Wall Street. When Kyle loses all of his family’s money on a bad tip, he holds Lee and his entire show hostage on air threatening to kill Lee if he does not get the stock up 24 and a half points before the bell. Ratings soar as the entire country tunes in to this media frenzy to find out just how much a man’s life is worth. Meanwhile, the hostage situation sheds light on a possible scandal involving the company in question. With elements of Dog Day Afternoon and Network, Money Monster is a very timely piece in these economic times.
Why it could succeed:
I might be one of the few to really love Jodie Foster‘s prior big screen directorial outing The Beaver, but that really showed me that she’s capable of a terrific film (for others, it’s been her recent television work with Orange is the New Black). She’s already an Oscar darling in terms of acting, while also now a veteran filmmaker in her own right. Foster saw something in the Black Listed script by Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf, and Jamie Linden, so you know she’s engaged. She brings a top notch cast to the table here as well, including George Clooney, Jack O’Connell, and Julia Roberts. Foster behind the camera and that trio is a great starting point, particularly in terms of giving both Clooney and O’Connell incredibly baity roles. The former gets to potentially be a smarmy villain of sorts, crossed with Jim Cramer of Mad Money fame, while the latter gets to play the last angry man, as it were. Supposedly, Money Monster features elements of both Dog Day Afternoon and Network, so if it can harness even half the power of either of them, this will be a memorable film, one that the Academy will find hard to ignore. I don’t think that’s the likeliest scenario, but there’s definitely a chance that the movie winds up becoming an Oscar player. The odds aren’t great, but this early, you can’t write anything off just yet. With a bit of luck, Foster could make this into a player of note.
Why it might not:
On the other hand, Foster hasn’t ever captured the Academy’s attention yet as a director, so it could just be that they don’t consider her to be a prestige filmmaker, despite a deference to her as an actress. There’s also nothing really to suggest that the screenwriters have suddenly made something heads and tails above what they’ve previously done, despite its presence on The Black List. Aside from Linden (who had a hand in the underrated high school reunion flick 10 Years), I’d argue that the trio haven’t really even turned in anything of overt quality, so this would make for a pretty big jump if Money Monster is to be a critical success. Clooney tends to get his nominations in big chunks, so this turn could be a hard one for him to get recognized for, even if it looks like it could go either Lead or Supporting. The same goes for O’Connell, who might have to wait a while longer for his first Oscar nomination. Roberts doesn’t have a character that factors into the early plot synopsis, so that makes it hard to immediately see her as a huge contender. Frankly, this is a player with a high probability of getting shut out. Especially if voters feel like this is a subject they would have rather seen become a movie a few years ago, Money Monster could be left out in the cinematic cold. If I were to bet on an outcome, this would be the one my money (no pun intended) would be on.
Assuming everything goes right (or better), Money Monster could show up in a number of places come nomination time. Obviously, the big ones of Best Picture, Best Director (for Foster), and Best Original Screenplay (for DiFiore, Kouf, and Linden) are going to be discussed, while the acting categories will have to sort themselves out. I suspect Roberts is going to be put in Best Supporting Actress, regardless of her chances, but Clooney and O’Connell might mix and match. One will go for Best Actor while the other will go for Best Supporting Actor…I just don’t know which. O’Connell is less likely to score than Clooney either way I think, so it could come down to wherever the latter has his best shot at a nod. Regardless, those noms are hardly sure things. If Money Monster is a bigger player than I think, then keep in mind the technical categories of Best Production Design, Best Cinematography (the film is shot by the talented Matthew Libatique), and Best Film Editing could be worth thinking about as well, though I don’t anticipate tech fields being friendly to this one. We shall see though…anything is possible folks!
Money Monster will be distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment at some point in 2015, likely during the middle of awards season. *Do keep this in mind…it could potentially get bumped to 2016. I have no evidence to support this, but it’s a hunch.*
Actor (Clooney or O’Connell)
Supporting Actor (Clooney or O’Connell)
Supporting Actress (Roberts)
Original Screenplay (DiFiore, Kouf, and Linden)
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
–Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!