It has become a Cannes tradition. The Weinstein Company previews their Fall releases and of course what Harvey deems Oscar worthy. Two years a ago he announced NINE and MY WEEK WITH MARILYN. Last year the Weinsteins created a frenzy by showing 10 minutes of DJANGO UNCHAINED.. He also showed sneaks of Paul Thomas Anderson’s THE MASTER and David O. Russell’s SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (ugh).
This years announcements have all of the makings of an Oscar nomination:
Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly. Kelly’s crisis of marriage and identity, during a political dispute between Monaco’s Prince Rainier III and France’s Charles De Gaulle, and a looming French invasion of Monaco in the early 1960s. A five minute teaser was shown and the reviews were mixed. Movie Critic Pete Howell says,
“Kidman does a convincing Kelly, but she doesn’t exactly disappear into the role. It seems she’s striving for a convincing evocation of Kelly rather than a mirror image, much as Michelle Williams did for Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn.”
This will all be about Kidman’s performance much like MY WEEK WITH MARILYN or THE IRON LADY. Both not particualy great movies, but the the performances make the film.
AINT THEM BODIES SAINTS
Directed by David Lowery and Rooney Mara as Ruth Guthrie. The tale of an outlaw who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met.
It was one of the best films to come from Sundance this year and received the U.S. Dramatic Cinematography Award. This might be more of an Indie Spirit Awards movie, but it is still on the Oscar radar.
Written and Directed by Ryan Coogler. The true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.
Originally titled FRUITVALE, it got a lot of attention at Sundance. I won the top audience award as well as some jury prizes. and is shaping up to be this years PRECIOUS or BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD. It is a small movie, but Weinstein the Oscar whisperer believes that it can win him some more awards.
If you are really bored and want to watch the 2 minute standing ovation it got at Cannes, here it is. (How did this camera get into the screening?)
You can read about the tragedy that inspired FUITVALE STATION HERE: http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/fruitvale-station-true-story-video/
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
Directed by John Wells. With Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Abigail Breslin and Ewan McGregor. A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Midwest house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.
People seem to be divided on how this movie will play. Early reviews have been mixed, but Streep could get her 18th Academy Award nomination.
TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM
Directed by Morgan Neville. This documentary that profiles backup singers who live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we’ve had no idea these singers are or what lives they lead, until now. Look for TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM on the list of Best Documentary features.
MANDELA: A LONG WALK TO FREEDOM
Directed by Justin Chadwick and 10 years in the making.
A chronicle of Nelson Mandela’s life journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa.
It has tested well so far in the US.
Some who have seen the trailer are concerned that it looks like a hip-hop action flick, not awards playing drama.
ONLY GOD FORGIVES
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn starring Ryan Gosling. Their first movie since DRIVE.
Set in Bangkok. Gosling plays a Yank who runs a boxing club as a front for the family narcotics business. His scary, vengeful mom is Kristin Scott Thomas, who pushes him to hunt down his brother’s killer.
A 3 minute was played for the Cannes crowd and was the only clip that garnered applause. Here is the clip that they were shown:
Not all of these will win awards, but with Weinsteins record, many will.