2016 Awards Profile: ‘Jason Bourne’ from Paul Greengrass


Welcome to the 2016 Awards Profiles series, where we talk about high and low-profile films coming to a theater near you at some point this year.  We will analyze the potential for these films to be players for the Academy Awards, and while many of these have the potential to be recognized, many will not either by quality or being pushed back to the following year.  For the next eight weeks, we will bring you a film every weekday to talk about their potential.  If you have a suggestion, please include it in the comments below.  If you missed a film, click on the tag or category Awards Profile.

Directed By: Paul Greengrass

Written By: Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass, and Christopher Rouse, based on characters originally created by Robert Ludlum

Cast: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles, Tommy Lee Jones, Riz Ahmed, Vincent Cassel, Bill Camp, Ato Essandoh, Trevor White, Neve Gachev, and more

Film Synopsis (via IMDb): The plot is unknown at this time.

Plot Details (via Entertainment Weekly): “We find him in a dark and tortured place”, according to star Matt Damon in an EW interview

jason-bourne-first-look-trailer-00-0Why it could succeed:
You don’t often see an action movie franchise get associated with awards, but the Bourne franchise is a horse of a different color, for multiple reasons. Besides having Matt Damon in the title role and highly respected filmmaker Paul Greengrass in the director’s chair for each outing except the first (which Doug Liman did) and the spinoff The Bourne Legacy (which Tony Gilroy did), the series has just had a classy feel to it. That was brought to a head with The Born Ultimatum, which was nominated for and won three Academy Awards, taking home statues for Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. Now, after both Damon and Greengrass temporarily moving on, they’re back for Jason Bourne, which seems to be trying to really focus in on the character. If that’s true, this one could be a contender to watch out for, potentially even beyond the technical fields. Damon leads a top notch cast that also includes recent Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles, Tommy Lee Jones, Riz Ahmed, Vincent Cassel, Bill Camp, Ato Essandoh, Trevor White, Neve Gachev, and others, while he also co-wrote the flick with Greengrass and former editor Christopher Rouse. Damon does have an Oscar for writing, and Greengrass is someone who you could argue is due another citation from voters after getting into Best Director for United 93 as an ever elusive “Lone Director”, so there’s certainly a prestige factor here. That factor is something which happens to set Jason Bourne apart from just about all the other blockbusters in 2016, which is worth making note of. It’s promised nothing, but the film is in a decently good place to succeed, assuming the quality is there like we all expect it to be. After all, it did kind of set the standard for editing in a big action movie, and that’s no small feat. If Oscar voters remember that, which the powers that be at Universal Pictures will 100% try to make happen, they certainly can remember this one come the awards season.

Why it might not:
Could it be that the time for Bourne to connect with Oscar has simply passed? After all, only The Bourne Ultimatum was nominated anywhere, so maybe it was a passing fancy? Jason Bourne will need to be at least on that level to have any chance, so merely just being The Bourne Identity or even The Bourne Supremacy, quality wise, just won’t do. Interestingly enough, that might not even be what Jason Bourne needs, as an element like its editing might not appeal in the same way now that Rouse is a screenwriter, not the editor. This isn’t a knock on the current editing team on this one, but it does speak to how fickle voters can potentially be. Frankly, expecting anything beyond the tech categories is a probably wishful thinking when you look at what Academy members tend to go for. Damon and Greengrass are heavyweights and prior nominees, no doubt about that, but there are limits to that sort of affection. They’re safe bets to get nominated when they sign on to projects, but those projects are not usually the third sequel in a mostly snubbed action franchise. Damon has never gotten attention in something like this, and Greengrass was cited when he took his aesthetic and made the aforementioned United 93 instead of just popcorn entertainment. Assuming that The Bourne Ultimatum was a one off with voters, which is distinctly possible, it could be a very disappointing and quiet precursor season for Jason Bourne. We could easily see a shut out come to pass here for this contender.

GreengrassAwards Speculation:
Provided we see this be the best installment of the franchise yet, there’s a chance that Jason Bourne could do a lot better with the Academy than some might expect. It’s not a huge likelihood, but it exists. Let’s assume that this is the best Bourne outing yet. We could potentially see Universal and its people launch campaigns in Best Picture, Best Director for Greengrass, Best Actor for Damon, Best Supporting Actor for either Cassel or Jones, Best Supporting Actress for Vikander, as well as Best Adapted Screenplay for Damon, Greengrass, and Rouse. Then, we can move on to the tech fields, where legitimate chances might exist for this one in Best Production Design Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup & Hairstyling, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects. Film Editing, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing are obviously the ones to focus in on, but there’s also Cinematography, which has work being done by longtime Greengrass collaborator Barry Ackroyd. You could also make the case to watch out for Production Design, where Oscar winner Mark Bridges is responsible for the work here. It’s probably the techs or bust here for this one, but I suppose Damon and Greengrass, either separately in Actor and Director, or together with Rouse in Adapted Screenplay, are worth not completely sleeping on. The ceiling here might be one the smaller side, but it’s not a foregone conclusion that Jason Bourne will pull a goose egg. Tech citations could totally be in the cards, so stay tuned to see what the end result will be!

Jason Bourne will be distributed by Universal Pictures and released everywhere on July 29th, 2016.

Potential Nominations:

Best Picture
Best Director (Greengrass)
Best Actress (Damon)
Best Supporting Actor (Cassel or Jones)
Best Supporting Actress (Vikander)
Best Adapted Screenplay (Damon, Greengrass, and Rouse)
Best Production Design
Best Cinematography
Best Costume Design
Best Film Editing
Best Makeup & Hairstyling
Best Original Score
Best Sound Editing
Best Sound Mixing
Best Visual Effects

Share your thoughts in the comments or on the message forums!

Check out the first official set of
Year-In-Advanced Oscar Predictions
and see where Jason Bourne ranks!

What do you think?

Film Lover

Written by Joey Magidson

When he’s not obsessing over new Oscar predictions on a weekly basis, Joey is seeing between 300 and 350 movies a year. He views the best in order to properly analyze the awards race/season each year, but he also watches the worst for reasons he mostly sums up as "so you all don't have to". In his spare time, you can usually find him complaining about the Jets or the Mets. Still, he lives and dies by film. Joey's a voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.


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