2016 Awards Profile: ‘Money Monster’ by Jodie Foster

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.

Director: Jodie Foster

Writer: Jamie Linden and Alan DiFiore & Jim Kouf

Cast: Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Jack O’Connell, Giancarlo Esposito

Synopsis (partial via IMDb): Financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty are put in an explosive situation when an irate investor takes over their studio.

Why It Might Succeed: In a world bitter about Wall Street, evidenced by The Big Short‘s success, Money Monster is coming at the right time to stick a gun in its face this time. The film is already out with a gripping, if too revealing, trailer where it demonstrates its real time concept and high stakes drama with a Dog Day Afternoon-esque focus. It asks you to come for answers, but of course, the biggest draw is its selection of stars (though I’m hoping the Bruce Springsteen track gains the film interest like it has for me).

Not only do we have Oscar winners George Clooney and Julia Roberts leading the pack, but two-time Oscar winner Jodie Foster behind the camera. Her last film was the largely shrugged upon The Beaver, but the promising tightness of the script from writers Jamie Linden, Alan DiFiore and Jim Kouf hint that it could be her best work yet. Jack O’Connell takes his first significant role since Unbroken and continues to steal the show and hopefully build momentum to his first nomination. It premieres at Cannes the day before too which should help with prestige if France likes it.

Why It Might Fail: George Clooney and Julia Roberts would be a dynamite pair… if it was 2006. That said, they both had a great 2013 as Clooney supported Gravity, won his second Oscar for Argo and Roberts had her comeback Oscar nom with August: Osage County but followup projects have yet to deliver on those promises. The Big Short was popular due to its swaggering apathy. Money Monster, from its trailer, looks to be preachy. Thank you movie stars for your sympathy.

This all depends on how the film turns out. Viewers might be turned on by the trailer by the gripping premise, or turned off by the personalities and how it pretty much gives the entire plot away. The release date is the real kicker. Coming in May, you really need to be beloved to be remembered by January. Like Grand Budapest/Mad Max beloved with a barrel full of best-of-year techs. Being distributed by TriStar Pictures is another death sentence as they have not had a success since District 9.

Awards Speculation: Pending crossing $100M and maintaining 80+ rating on any critics aggregators, the odds are stacked against Money Monster. Even if it finds its fans, these types of stars attract contrarians who won’t get under the characterisations. Successful films released in early October need a special amount of rallying to be remembered fondly, such as The Martian. However, if the screenplay is good enough, and it did appear in the Blacklist most liked scripts as recent as 2014, then the film could find itself to a lone nomination in Best Original Screenplay.

The Academy likes to nominate this Wall Street topic, such as Margin Call, The Wolf of Wall Street and of course The Big Short‘s win. Its next best bet is Jack O’Connell. If he can inject a sense of unique humanity into this wild yet cliched anti-hero then he could break through in Best Supporting Actor, especially if the year is weak. The production design from the trailer looks pretty detailed too so that’s worth mentioning though it most likely won’t compete against period dramas. I’m rooting for it to be good but I haven’t got my hopes up.

Oscar Potential:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director – Jodie Foster
  • Best Actor – George Clooney
  • Best Actress – Julia Roberts
  • Best Supporting Actor – Jack O’Connell
  • Best Original Screenplay
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Production Design

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 Money Monster ranks!