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Awards Profile: Exodus

ChristianBale_ExodusDirector: Ridley Scott

Cast: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, John Turturro and Ben Mendelsohn

Synopsis: An account of Moses’ hand in leading the Israelite slaves out of Egypt

Why It Might Succeed:

Biblical epics are making a comeback this year. Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” hits theaters in a little over a week, but the bigger awards play will be Ridley Scott’s telling of Moses titled “Exodus.” One of the most legendary tales is getting an update with a strong cast and a well-known director at the helm. Its December release date also puts it in the same time frame that “American Hustle” had this year.

Ridley Scott tackled a similar style of epic back in 2000, and in case you forgot, that little film was called “Gladiator” and went on to win best picture. This is the type of filmmaking that the Academy loves to honor; big, sweeping productions that could not be done in any other medium. With an experienced team from cinematography Dariusz Wolski to production designer Arthur Max, Scott has surrounded himself with a high quality group of collaborators.

We can also be pretty certain that this will be quite different than Cecil B. DeMille’s “Ten Commandments” from 1956. The two films may cover the same subject matter, but with a script from Steven Zaillian expect a more brutal depiction. In turn, that could potentially make the inspirational qualities of the story even stronger. A similar formula was part of “12 Years a Slave” winning last year.

MV5BNjI4NzMyODA3M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTkxNTc4MDE@._V1_SY350_CR15,0,630,350_Why It Might Not Succeed:

Ridley Scott hasn’t been on his game for last few years. His last four films were “Body of Lies,” “Robin Hood,” “Prometheus” and “The Counselor” and every single one of them was a disappointment. Scott may be going back to the “Gladiator” well with “Exodus,” but “Prometheus” wasn’t a return to “Alien,” and that was in the same universe. His name still carries the cache, but if “Exodus” doesn’t live up to the hype, Scott’s recent decline may have finally overcome his reputation.

On top of that, despite the cast being filled with big names, they are some confusing picks. Christian Bale as Moses. Okay. Joel Edgerton as Ramses? Huh? Sigourney Weaver, Aaron Paul also seem somewhat out of place. The names are impressive, but they don’t come naturally to mind when you think of the story of Moses. Now of course, the performances are what matter and they could blow us away, but right now no one in the cast seems like a home run.

Lastly, “Exodus” will have to emerge from the shadow of Cecil B. DeMille’s original. However different the two films are, you won’t be able to stop the comparisons. “The Ten Commandments” was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture. Despite being more than fifty years old, it’s still a film that is impressive in scope and execution. If “Exodus” can’t live up to or surpass “The Ten Commandments” don’t be surprised if the Academy forgets it in the major categories.

Oscar Hopes

Best Picture
Best Director
Best Actor
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography
Best Production Design
Best Costume Design
Best Score
Best Visual Effects

What do you think?

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Written by Michael Balderston

NoVA native who has returned to the Washington D.C. area after two years in L.A. My biggest annoyance since leaving L.A. is not having immediate access to indie films on their first weekend, but I'm making due. When I'm not tracking the year's Oscar players or exploring film history, I'm rooting for my Philadelphia sports teams.

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Anthony Moseley

Definitely on my watchlist, but I’m hesitant about it as I’m sure everyone else is.

Though I disagree that Body of Lies was a disappointment (sure the critical opinion wasn’t very high, but I thought it was good), and I honestly don’t understand all the hate for Prometheus.

jessied44

If nothing else, the 10 plagues could be visually interesting. The frogs, lice, and flies alone will be worth the price of admission.

Dan Hogan

I really liked Body of Lies. It’s one of my favorite Leo performances. Prometheus was really fascinating to me, but the problems and unanswered questions really did take their toll on the movie. I think this movie looks interesting, but the whitewashed cast and Scott at the helm are disconcerting for me. I smell another Robin Hood. Not worthless, but a shadow of what it could have been.

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