Awards Profile: Concussion

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.”

Directed by: Peter Landesman
Written by: Peter Landesman
Cast:Will Smith, Albert Brooks, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and more
Synopsis: A look at how American football players suffer from major head injuries and life-long debilitating problems as a result of repeated concussions and efforts by the National Football League to deny it.

Why it could succeed:
Remember that period of time when it seemed like everything Will Smith touched turned to gold (box office-wise at least)? Well, it’s been a while since those days but this 2-time Oscar nominee is on the comeback trail and hopes that this based-on-a-true-story drama will be his ticket back to the awards conversation. He definitely has an esteemed cast of actors surrounding him, including fellow Oscar nominees Albert Brooks and Alec Baldwin, as well as rising star Gugu Mbatha-Raw. The subject matter is also quite interesting and topical, so the film will definitely be on pundits’ radar. The talent behind the camera – composer James Newton Howard and editor William Goldenberg – should also add some class to the proceedings too. Finally, a Christmas Day release date usually indicates confidence in a film’s awards potential/quality/box office appeal.

Why it may not succeed:
Peter Landesman has yet to prove himself to be an awards-worthy director though, as his debut feature Parkland landed with a thud when it premiered at the 2013 Venice Film Festival. As for Will Smith, his taste in projects has still been suspect of late, so it’s hard to know whether the characters are well-written. I also get the sense that this could be a film that gets lost in the shuffle with the always competitive Christmas slate. But of course, there’s always the possibility that it could surprise us. We’ll just have to wait and see. Until then, I’ll be waiting anxiously for the first trailer.

Oscar Potential:

Best Picture
Best Actor (Will Smith)
Best Supporting Actor (Alec Baldwin)
Best Supporting Actor (Albert Brooks)
Best Supporting Actress (Gugu Mbatha-Raw)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Original Score