Awards Profile: Tomorrowland


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: Brad Bird
Writers: Brad Bird, Damon Lindelof, Jeff Jensen (story)
Cast: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Raffey Cassidy, Thomas Robinson, Kathryn Hahn, Tim McGraw, Keegan-Michael Key and Judy Greer.
Synopsis: Courtesy of Wikipedia, “Frank (George Clooney) and Casey (Britt Robertson) travel to a place somewhere in time and space only known as Tomorrowland where their actions directly affect the world and themselves.”

Why It Could Succeed:

Great director delivering a visually dynamic project.  Sound familiar?  With recent projects such as Avatar, InceptionHugo, Life of Pi, Gravity, and Birdman succeeding in flying colors at the Oscars in recent years, there is certainly a path Tomorrowland can walk to the Kodak.  Additionally, Brad Bird lack of non-animate feature film success with the AMPAS should read a pretty irrelevant, since only half of the last 10 Best Director winners have had a previous Best Director nomination.  Oh, and Brad Bird has two Oscars…so he’s in the club.

Additionally, visually stunning films often succeed in below-the-line categories, even if they’re not embraced by the sexier categories.  The trailer alone seem to put forth a solid argument for Best Visual Effects and Best Production Design, while blockbusters can usually pull along a Sound Mixing and Sound Editing nomination.  But a closer examination yield more interesting storylines.  The composer, Michael Giacchino, is an Oscar-winner.  The editor, Walter Murch, has three Oscars.  And the cinematographer, Claudio Miranda, was the last person non named “Chivo” to win a Best Cinematography Oscar.  Looks promising for tech races.

Why It Might Not:

It’s a gamble.  Tomorrowland could be awesome or a visual mess.  If the critics aren’t 100% behind this, we can expect very few nominations.  Not unlike Godzilla last year, though, even a critically adored blockbuster can have a tough time wiggling in visual effects and the sound categories.

Disney.  In case you were under a rock yesterday, we pretty much discovered what Disney’s big focus is in 2015.  I’d be pretty shocked if Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t Disney’s Oscar pony (for good or ill).  And even if Disney wasn’t going to be pushing Star Wars 7 in every category (nearly every category in competition with Tomorrowland), Disney hardly knows how to run an Oscar campaign.  While I certainly enjoyed seeing Meryl Streep every day on Awards Circuit during Oscar season, Disney’s last two big Oscar players (Into the Woods and Saving Mr. Banks) have fumbled at the goal line.

Adventure film.  While the Oscars have recently embraced adventure films like Avatar and Gravity, more often than not…they don’t care.  Genre bias is strong with the Academy.


Awards Speculation

With Disney unquestionably having their resources focused elsewhere, I can’t imagine Tomorrowland will be a threat to win anywhere.  The amazing talent in the below-the-line races might help the film snag some love, however, in the terms of nominations.  With Oscar winners scoring, shooting, and editing the film, I think it would be a safe bet in those races.  Likewise, one can usually rely on a summer tentpole to land in Visual Effects and the Sound categories.

Potential Nominations:
Best Original Screenplay – Brad Bird, Damon Lindelof, Jeff Jensen (story)
Best Film Editing – Walter Murch & Craig Wood
Best Original Score – Michael Giacchino
Best Production Design
Best Cinematography – Claudio Miranda
Best Sound Editing
Best Sound Mixing
Best Visual Effects