10 (Way Too Early) 2015 Oscar Contenders
Even though the 2014 Academy Awards (otherwise known as the Oscars) were announced just a couple weeks ago, why not start prognosticating about next year’s awards? For one reason or another, the following ten films could be early contenders for the 2014 film season (note: the awards won’t be announced until 2015).
I took into account a few things, including release date, director, starpower, source material, and recent trends. I’ll give a little explantation for each film and take a stab at an applicable doppelgänger.
[Note: some of these movies could switch release dates into 2015]
In alphabetical order, here you go:
Why: There has been a little bit of outcry based on the casting (Quvenzhane Wallis and Jamie Foxx) for the film adaptation of the popular musical, but Annie still has a good shot of making waves. I wouldn’t consider it a huge contender at this stage, but it definitely isn’t a “pretender” either. Will Gluck (Easy A) is doing a contemporary version of the film, and it could easily take some of the production and music categories.
Doppelgänger: Les Misérables because of the stage musical aspect.
Why: Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has a combination of things going for it. Even more than Gravity, it has a long (and I mean long) production leading up to its release. For those that don’t know, the film has been in the making for 12 years and will tell the story of a boy growing up. If they can pull the movie off, it could be the due Linklater is owed for his great Before trilogy. The Academy is all about retribution (well, in some cases), so Boyhood could fit this mold, too.
Doppelgänger: Tree of Life, although comparing anything to Boyhood may be impossible. And I expect Boyhood to be less polarizing than its comparison.
Why: Bennett Miller is 2-for-2 when it comes to feature film directing (Capote and Moneyball). So why stop there? Foxcatcher tells the true story of a mentally-ill man that killed his Olympian brother. Sounds heavy and full of great performances, making Miller number three on the list of why this film will (probably) succeed.
Doppelgänger: 12 Monkeys as I’d expect Steve Carell’s performance to be among the year’s best (like Pitt in 12 Monkeys).
Why: One reason: David Fincher. Well, actually, I guess there are two reasons because the source material is well-received. For those that don’t know, Gone Girl is based on Gillian Flynn’s novel which was a New York Times bestseller for eight weeks. This doesn’t mean it’ll be a shoo-in, but Fincher + Affleck + popular novel has to equal something, right?
Doppelgänger: Zodiac expect, of course, this one isn’t based on a true story.
Why: Benedict Cumberbatch feels like a household name that has won every award in the book. However, the reality is he’s great in Sherlock and is still waiting to be an Oscar-winner. With a juicy role as famed mathematician and cryptanalyst (who was persecuted for being gay) Alan Turing, he’ll likely be up for the top acting award, if nothing else.
Doppelgänger: Capote for some pretty obvious reasons.
Why: Any Paul Thomas Anderson film is immediately in the running. With a prime release date in mid-December, it’ll be fresh on the minds of voters. The Master, Anderson’s last film, wasn’t as revered as I thought it’d be, but I’d peg Inherent Vice as my frontrunner at this point. Unlike his other films, though, this one is a little more comedic.
Doppelgänger: The Master, for yeah, obvious reasons stated above and Joaquin Phoenix’s name.
Why: While I think Inherent Vice is the frontrunner, I think Interstellar is the one I’m personally pulling for. Not only has Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises) been grossly overlooked in the directing category, he’s also been even more grossly overlooked in the writing department. Interstellar, which boasts a much better release date than his blockbusters, has originality behind it, so I’d expect Nolan’s next original film to have a huge shot at awards. Plus, Matthew McConaughey.
Doppelgänger: Memento, or Inception. No explanation needed.
Why: While Annie is more of a long shot, the real up-and-coming musical is Disney’s Into the Woods. The cast is more impressive (Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, and Anna Kendrick) and it has Rob Marshall (Chicago) directing it. Keep your eye on this one!
Doppelgänger: Chicago, thanks to Marshall.
Why: Not only has Angelina Jolie been on the brink of breaking out as a director, but she is tackling a sure-fire win in Unbroken. It’ll tell the real-life story of an ex-Olympian P.O.W. Louis Zamperini (to be played by Jack O’Connell). If the phrases “true story” and “W.W.II drama” aren’t enough, how does “written by the Coen brothers” sound?
Doppelgänger: Chariots of Fire because of the Olympics and true story parts.
Why: I can see Jean-Marc Vallee pulling a David O. Russell this year. Vallee was the man behind last year’s Dallas Buyers Club, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Wild made Vallee a back-to-back presence. This time, though, expect to see him in the running for Best Director. Wild, for those that don’t know, tells the story of Cheryl Strayed (author of ‘Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail’). Leading ladies aren’t exactly a hot commodity (and yes, this is wrong), so expect star Reese Witherspoon to be in the running, too.
Doppelgänger: Into the Wild except more successful (and less bleak).
Here are a few of the honorable mentions I considered: Birdman, Can a Song Save Your Life?, Exodus, Fury, Get On Up, The Giver, The Search, and Serena.
What are your thoughts? Chime in below in the comments!
Follow me on Twitter @jmacle