Written By: David Ayer
Cast: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Jason Isaacs, Brad William Henke, and more…
Synopsis (via Coming Soon): April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.
Why it could succeed:
As someone who’s a huge fan of David Ayer‘s End of Watch, it’s kind of thrilling to me that a large portion of the Oscar prognostication community sees Fury as a top tier awards contender this year. It’s certainly baity on paper…a World War II set drama with potential high emotional stakes. Ayer proved he could do that sort of thing on a smaller scale by depicting the brotherhood between police officers in End of Watch, so I know that part should be handled well. This has a lot of possibilities, no doubt about it. Ayer has Brad Pitt in a starring role and an able supporting cast that includes Jon Bernthal, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, and Michael Pena (reuniting with the filmmaker), so there’s a strong stable of actors on hand too. Provided that Fury doesn’t get swallowed up by any of the other war movies coming out in 2014, it has a solid shot to be something that the Academy gets on board with. It might be a little on the macho side to really contend for a win, but I could certainly see a healthy does of nominations coming its way, both above and below the line.
Why it might not:
Honestly, a lot will depend on the type of Ayer flick that we get. Is this another End of Watch or more like last weekend’s Sabotage? This could be somewhat more disposable entertainment than we’re hoping for, which would knock it more or less completely out of contention. The presence of Pitt certainly helps, but that didn’t stop a would be contender like Killing Them Softly from failing a few years back. Likewise, while one might hope that this could be Pena’s ticket to a nomination (or Lerman’s if you’d prefer), the supporting cast knows what it’s like to be snubbed, so that could potentially happen again. I happen to think that Fury has a chance to be amazing, but I’m not blind to the fact that it could turn out to be a failure too. A lot will be riding on Ayer’s shoulders. If he’s delivered the goods, that’ll be at least half the battle. So little of this project has been seen (honestly, that synopsis that I posted at the top of the piece seems like new-ish news all on its own), it’s really impossible to know what the future holds for this one. My heart tells me yes, but my head tells me to keep a safe distance.
If everything breaks right in the film for Ayer, then Fury could very well be one of the most highly nominated titles by the Academy. The big categories are obviously going to be in play, with Best Picture, Best Director (for Ayer), and Best Original Screenplay (for Ayer as well) the main ones that Ayer himself has some control over and can help his own cause with. Acting wise, a lot of folks seem very high on Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively, and while both are certainly contenders, neither seem like safe bets. Especially with Supporting Actor, Lerman will have competition from costars like Jon Bernthal, Shia LaBeouf, and Michael Pena. Below the line possibilities are all there too, considering that this is a period war film. They could likely come through even if the movie isn’t a huge critical smash or major contender. We shall see, I certainly have this movie high on my list of ones to hope for. In my own early predictions, I have it with about four nominations. I might be a little high or low, depending on who you ask, but perhaps I’m on to something as well. We shall see later on this year…
Fury will be distributed by Columbia/Sony Pictures on November 14th, 2014…right in the heart of the awards season.
Supporting Actor (Bernthal, LaBeouf, Lerman, or Pena)
Original Screenplay (Ayer)
–Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!