Awards Profile: Pan

Welcome to the 2015 Awards Profiles series. For the next two months, every day (except for Saturday), we will bring you a run down of a future 2015 film that we see as a potential awards vehicle for next year’s Academy Awards. This is all speculative since with just about all these films, we haven’t seen a frame yet. Nonetheless, we venture on. If you miss a film, then click on the tag “2015 Awards Profile.”


Directed by: Joe Wright
Written by: Jason Fuchs
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Levi Miller, Rooney Mara and more
Synopsis: The story of an orphan who is spirited away to the magical Neverland. There, he finds both fun and dangers, and ultimately discovers his destiny — to become the hero who will be forever known as Peter Pan.

Why it could succeed:
After his auspicious debut feature Pride & Prejudice, Joe Wright has steadily become one of the industry’s most respected film directors. In the intervening years, all his follow-up films have all garnered considerable acclaim, namely Atonement, Hanna and Anna Karenina (yes, I’m ignoring the existence of The Soloist). Along the way, his films have notched up an impressive 15 nominations in total, with Atonement and Anna Karenina winning for Best Original Score and Best Costume Design respectively. When it comes to Joe Wright, voters have come to expect handsome productions with stunning costumes and cinematography. His spectacular visual style is always a marvel to behold. With his next film Pan, his fans will expect no different. Wright has once again called on a dependable team of collaborators – cinematographer Seamus McGarvey, composer Dario Marianelli, costume designer Jacqueline Durran, production designers Sarah Greenwood and Kate Spencer – all of whom received multiple nominations for their work on his films. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. With that pedigree, Warner Bros. will surely be hoping for a lot of awards love in the “tech” categories at least.

Why it may not succeed:
Despite his strong record with Oscar nominations, his previous attempt at “genre” fare (Hanna) came up empty-handed on Oscar morning. As such, it’s doubtful whether a younger-skewing family film will do the trick. There may also be a sense of Peter Pan fatigue, considering the ubiquity of the story, including the recent Peter Pan Live! TV special. Furthermore, Wright has yet to be nominated for Best Director, missing out even for Best Picture nominee Atonement. Similarly to Christopher Nolan, his films tend to struggle in the main categories. The controversy surrounding Rooney Mara’s casting as Tiger Lily will also put the film under intense scrutiny. Finally, the summer release date seems to indicate that the studio is gunning for box office success rather than a big awards push. An awards hopeful of this type would usually snatch up that Christmas day slot, right? The trailer hints at a fun adventure with a possible breakout performance from Levi Miller, but I remain skeptical of its potential to be a major Oscar player.

Oscar Potential:

Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Jackman)
Best Cinematography
Best Costume Design
Best Makeup & Hairstyling
Best Original Score
Best Production Design

What do you think?

72 points
AC Fan

Written by Shane Slater

Shane is a passionate cinephile and Tomatometer-approved film critic residing in Kingston, Jamaica. When he's not watching or writing about film, he spends much of his time wishing he lived in a big city. Shane is an avid world traveler and loves attending film festivals. He is a member of the African-American Film Critics Association.

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