Written By: Jason Reitman and Erin Cressida Wilson, based on the novel by Chad Kultgen
Cast: Adam Sandler, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jennifer Garner, Emma Thompsons, Judy Greer, Kaitlyn Dever, Ansel Elgort, Dean Norris, Dennis Haysbert, J.K. Simmons, and many more…
Synopsis (via Coming Soon): “Men, Women & Children” follows the story of a group of high school teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives. The film attempts to stare down social issues such as video game culture, anorexia, infidelity, fame hunting, and the proliferation of illicit material on the internet. As each character and each relationship is tested, we are shown the variety of roads people choose – some tragic, some hopeful – as it becomes clear that no one is immune to this enormous social change that has come through our phones, our tablets, and our computers. Based on on Chad Kultgen’s novel of the same name.
Why it could succeed:
I think that it’s undeniable that Jason Reitman is one of the best young filmmakers working today…at the very least, I find him to be the one of the best, so the combination of him and one of my favorite author’s novels makes for a project that I couldn’t be anticipating more. Reitman is at his best when there’s a fine line being walked between comedy and drama as well as when satire is on his mind, so this is a movie right in his wheelhouse, especially considering the type of brutal satire that Chad Kultgen brilliantly traffics in. We know he can direct the hell out of actors, so who isn’t excited to see what he can get out of Adam Sandler, for example? We know Sandler has talent when he puts in the effort, so seeing him, along with a great ensemble that includes Rosemarie DeWitt, Jennifer Garner, Emma Thompsons, Judy Greer, Kaitlyn Dever, Ansel Elgort, Dean Norris, Dennis Haysbert, longtime Reitman vet J.K. Simmons, and a whole bunch of younger up and coming actors makes me thing that this could be the actor’s film of 2014. SAG voters could have a field day here, at the very least. Provided that this is more in the Up in the Air vein than Young Adult vein (in terms of Oscar appeal), I think the chances for success here are rather high. It’s a slightly risky film in some ways, but I believe that it could be a major player.
Why it might not:
Frankly, it’s possible that the Academy feels that his moment has passed and he really needs to bring his game to a new level in order to be recognized again. They’ve really went for Juno and Up in the Air (and some say that he almost got a screenplay nod for Thank You For Smoking), but they’ve resisted him since then, feeling that neither Young Adult nor Labor Day was nom worthy, perhaps rightly so too in the latter case (even though I like the flick). Depending on the tone as well, this could either be a little too dark or a little too comedic for some voters to take seriously as an Oscar contender, but I personally trust Reitman to nail the tone. The other big consideration is the potential graphic nature of the work. Kultgen’s novel is fairly sexually explicit (though far less so than his other books, just as an FYI…in all seriousness though, go read everything he’s written so far. He’s supremely talented), so depending on how much of that Reitman and his co-scribe Erin Cressida Wilson keep, things might veer to a slightly more uncomfortable place than the ones that Academy members prefer to be in. I know that I’m higher on this project than many others as an awards vehicle, but even I’m not immune to its potential stumbling blocks.
If everything in this film breaks right for Reitman, then Men, Women, & Children could be one of the most nominated titles by the Academy this time around. The big categories are obviously going to be in play, with Best Picture, Best Director (for Reitman), and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Reitman and his co-writer Wilson) the main ones that Reitman himself has some control over. There could also very well be the potential for David O. Russell style acting citations, depending on category placement, of course. Having read the novel, I feel like if there are any leads, they’d be Sandler and DeWitt, so that’s where Best Actor and Best Actress consideration could lie, though if they’re good enough, I could also see them being campaigned Supporting without any huge cries of category fraud. As for Best Supporting Actor, that one could go in a bunch of directions, but I think the likely one would be Elgort, though I’d key in more on best Supporting Actress, where the likes of Dever, Garner, Greer, and Thompson could all potentially make their mark. Below the line possibilities are all there too, especially if we get a memorable score or song from the flick. Likely though, the one to key in on here is Best Film Editing. That would be the tech category that this film could mostly make a play in, particularly if it’s a Best Picture nominee too. We shall see, but this is one movie I have high hopes for. In my own very early predictions, I have it with a half dozen nominations. I might be a little overly bullish on the film, but perhaps I’m just ahead of the curve. We shall see later on this year…
Men, Women, & Children will be distributed by Paramount Pictures at some point late in 2014, likely during the midst of awards season.
Supporting Actor (Elgort, Norris, or Simmons…plus Sandler too)
Supporting Actress (Dever, Garner, Greer, or Thompson…plus DeWitt as well)
Adapted Screenplay (Reitman and Wilson)
–Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!