Friday, June 15, 2007

Best picture nominees already? Let's guess

I'm leaving for South Africa tomorrow for a two-week stay (and thus most likely putting this blog on hiatus, except for perhaps a guest reviewer's take on "Silver Surfer"), so you'll have to forgive me if I've got the future on my mind.

Even though it's the height of the summer silly season (in all the best and worst ways) I couldn't help but start thinking this morning about what's gonna come during awards season (which, with "Goya's Ghosts" coming to some folks in July, I reckon starts soon.) Besides, even if I haven't seen any of these movies yet, I love guessing, which just builds up the anticipation

So, without further delay, here are eight movies, with trailers where I could find them, that look like they have all the stuff Oscar voters love (and, to boot, a lot of them look like really good flicks too.)

1. No Country for Old Men
The Coen brothers' decision to take on Cormac McCarthy got a shot in the arm from an unlikely source when Oprah decided to christen the buckets-of-blood author for inclusion in her book club. The cast for this one is just stellar, with Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Stephen Root and many more, and it's already been delayed so it can pick up more late-year buzz.

2. American Gangster
Finally, Denzel Washington will get an Oscar he deserves (I'm not hating on the man, just the movie "Training Day," which was rubbish.) If I have to pick a frontrunner at this early stage, this would have to be it. Ridley Scott tells the true story of Frank Lucas (Washington) who became the heroin kingpin of Harlem before turning himself into the police, mainly Russell Crowe. With a script by Stephen Zaillain, this is a lock.

3. Goya's Ghosts
If you can buy the idea that Natalie Portman could be the muse for a master painter (and why not?), than this should work well. Stellan Skarsgard is Goya, and Javier Bardem is the monk who torments him when he brands Goya's lady love (Portman) as a heretic. With Milos Forman directing, look for a lot of fun.

4. Brothers Bloom
Rian Johnson's Brick was easily one of my favorite movies of 2005, and this heist flick should be even better. Mark Ruffalo and Adrian Brody are the titular con artists, and Rachel Weisz and Rinko Kikuchi also along for the ride.

5. Becoming Jane
If I'm not mistaken, there will be 400 movies about Jane Austen coming out before the end of the year, but this one should be the best. Besides, what's more fun than speculating about the love life of famous folks? This flick fleshes out the details of an affair Austen (Anne Hathaway) is rumored to have had with young Irishman Tom LeFroy (James McAvoy.)

6. Atonement
McAvoy again in an adaptation of one of the best books of the past few years, by Ian McEwan. Director Joe Wright made the best "Pride & Prejudice" yet (sorry to all Colin Firth devotees), so he should fare well with this juicy story about love, betrayal and, of course, atonement. The plot is much more complicated than this, but in a nutshell, a 13-year-old girl accuses the lover (McAvoy) of her older sister (Keira Knightley) of a crime he didn't commit, changing all their lives forever.

7. Eastern Promises
Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts and David Cronenberg all together again? I'm in. As best as I can tell, Watts plays a midwife who finds out about a child-prostitution operation. Mortensen is a very bad man who is connected to one of London's leading crime families, until he encounters Watts' character and vows to protect her. If you need to know any more to get excited about this, the script comes from Stephen Knight, who penned the superb thriller "Dirty Pretty Things" for Stephen Frears.

8. Charlie Wilson's War
Boomers do still run the world, so this should be the closest thing to a lock after "American Gangster." Director Mike Nichols works with an Aaron Sorkin script about a Texas congressman's shady dealings to assist the Afghan rebels in their war with the Soviets. Somehow methinks it might have to do with a lot more than that. And, oh yeah, I forgot to mention: The congressman is played by Tom Hanks, so just bank on it.

And there you have it. I'm off for a while. Have a perfectly pleasant two weeks, and definitely go see "Ratatouille." Peace out.


jeremy said...

Have a great time in South Africa!
In the meantime--here's my SIFF (and regular) movie viewing for the weekend:
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Sex and Death 101
The Bubble
Crazy Love

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks, Jeremy ...Crazy Love sounds like a lot of fun, so I'll definitely have to check that out one out if it ever reached my little corner of the world

Lorcy said...

hope Zodiac gets some nominations, Screenplay and maybe Downey Junior as best supporting would be great!

Reel Fanatic said...

I would definitely like to see Zodiac get some love, lorcy, and both Downey and Gyllenhaal would be worthy nominees

Divinity said...

Bon Voyage!
Maybe I've been working in high schools too long but Charlie Bartlett looks like it will amuse me. Robert Downey Jr as a principal... swoon.

Marina said...

I like the list though I'd venture to add "The Golden Age" to the list. I think the trailer looks quite good.

Mercurie said...

Right now my bets are on American Gangster and No Country for Old Men. It looks to me like the Cohen Brothers and Ridley Scott may be in top form with those movies.

Crystal Green's Blog said...

Another contender? LA VIE EN ROSE, if only for Marion Cotillard's performance. I hate when there's too much advance hype about a role, but luckily, when I caught this one at CineVegas, I'd been privy to no hype. Thank goodness. She's truly awesome, and I really enjoyed the movie, too. Somehow, in spite of all its depressing moments, I felt great when I left the theater....

Neel Mehta said...

American Gangster: the title sounds like a Best Picture nominee, but I wonder if its Oscar chances will be hurt by The Departed winning last year.

Like you, I'm more excited about No Country for Old Men. For regular updates on that film, try visiting The Movie Mark, whose author is the world's biggest Josh Brolin fan.

Bob said...

Glad to see that there's so much love for "Zodiac." Incredible movie. Personally I would LOVE to see my favorite movie of the year get nominations, "Hot Fuzz"! But of course it won't because the Academy would never go for such a "non-prestigious" sort of film. Maybe Golden Globes though. And I could see maybe "Knocked Up" getting a screenplay nomination. That would be sweet.

M said...

What about Knocked Up?! If little miss sunshine can get such attention....this movie should as well! If only it were an indie!