First image from Betty Anne Waters, a movie that seems to have Oscar written all over it. From Collider.
Ryan’s picks first:
This far out from peak season, it’s easy to overlook titles blipping distantly on the OscaRadar¬Æ. I’ll fill in a few missing titles from the list posted earlier today. Oscar prospects unknown, but projects that have piqued my interest.
Black Swan ‚Äì Directed by Darren Aronofsky. With Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder. Cinematography, Matthew Libatique (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain). ‚ÄúA thriller that deconstructs the relationship between a veteran ballet dancer and her rival.‚Äù (Fox Searchlight)
What’s Wrong with Virginia ‚Äì Written and Directed by Dustin Lance Black. With Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Emma Roberts, Harrison Gilbertson, Amy Madigan. Cinematography, Eric Alan Edwards (My Own Private Idaho) ‚ÄúA sheriff sees his state senate bid slide out onto the ice when his daughter begins to date the son of a charming but psychologically disturbed woman with whom the sheriff has engaged in a two-decades-long affair.‚Äù
Never Let Me Go ‚Äì Directed by Mark Romanek. Based on the acclaimed novel by Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day). With Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield, Sally Hawkins, Charlotte Rampling. ‚ÄúAn alternate history story of a woman who, as she reflects on her private school years in the English countryside, reunites with her two friends to face the dark secrets tied to their communal past.‚Äù (Fox Searchlight)
Miral ‚Äì Directed by Julian Schnabel. With Willem Dafoe, Freida Pinto. Cinematography, Eric Gautier (Into the Wild, The Motorcycle Diaries). ‚ÄúA chronicle of Hind Husseini’s effort to establish an orphanage in Jerusalem after the 1948 partition of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel.‚Äù (Path√©)
It’s Kind of a Funny Story ‚Äì Directed by Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck. (The husband and wife team behind Half Nelson) With Keir Gilchrist, Lauren Graham, Zach Galifianakis. ‚ÄúA clinically depressed teenager gets a new start after he checks himself into an adult psychiatric ward. Based on the young-adult novel by Ned Vizzini.‚Äù (Focus Features)
Life During Wartime ‚Äì Directed by Todd Solondz. Alison Janney, Charlotte Rampling, Ciar√°n Hinds, Shirley Henderson. Cinematography, Edward Lachman (Far from Heaven, I‚Äôm Not There). ‚ÄúFriends, family, and lovers struggle to find love, forgiveness, and meaning in a war-torn world riddled with comedy and pathos.‚Äù
The Rum Diary ‚Äì Directed by Bruce Robinson. With Johnny Depp, Amber Heard, Giovanni Ribisi, Aaron Eckhart, Richard Jenkins. Semi-autobiographical novel by Hunter S. Thompson. ‚ÄúPaul Kemp is a freelance journalist who finds himself at a critical turning point in his life while writing for a run-down newspaper in the Caribbean‚Ä¶ amidst a group of lost souls all bent on self-destruction.‚Äù (Warner Bros)
The Special Relationship ‚Äì Directed by Richard Loncraine. Screenplay, Peter Morgan. With Michael Sheen as Tony Blair, Dennis Quaid as Bill Clinton, Hope Davis as Hillary Clinton. Cinematography, Barry Ackroyd. Music, Alexandre Desplat. ‚ÄúA dramatization that traces former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair’s relationships with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.‚Äù
Rabbit Hole ‚Äì Directed by John Cameron Mitchell. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Lindsay-Abaire. With Nicole Kidman (in the role that won a Tony for Cynthia Nixon), Aaron Eckhart, Sandra Oh, Dianne Wiest. ‚ÄúLife for a happy couple is turned upside down after their young son dies in an accident. Based on a play by David Lindsay-Abaire.‚Äù
The Town – Directed by Ben Affleck. With Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Rebbeca Hall, Chris Cooper and Blake Lively. Cinematography, Robert Elswit (Oscar: There Will Be Blood, Michael Clayton, Good Night, and Good Luck). From the novel Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan. ‚ÄúAs he plans his next job, a longtime thief tries to balance his feelings for a bank manager connected to one of his earlier heists, as well as the FBI agent looking to bring him and his crew down.‚Äù (Warner Bros.)
The Way Back ‚Äì Directed by Peter Weir. With Colin Farrell, Saoirse Ronan, Mark Strong, Ed Harris. Cinematography, Russell Boyd (Oscar: Master and Commander. The Year of Living Dangerously, Gallipoli, Picnic at Hanging Rock). ‚ÄúA fact-based story centered on soldiers who escaped from a Siberian gulag in 1940.‚Äù
Sympathy for Delicious – Directed by Mark Ruffalo. With Mark Ruffalo, Orlando Bloom, Juliette Lewis, Laura Linney. “A newly paralyzed DJ gets more than he bargained for when he seeks out the world of faith healing.”
And AD reader Dan put together this list of names to keep in mind for the upcoming year. There really is no predicting these sorts of things but there is no harm in speculation. I have put a * near the ones I think have Oscar potential (I hate that word — what I mean is that, depending on whose directing and starring, one gets an idea of how it might go — taking into account track records and subject matter). A lot of them are dressed up as Oscar contenders that might not end up being good in the “right” way. One never knows, of course.¬† Some of them I think could go either way. Some of them I just don’t know enough about. I have a put a + next to the ones I most interested personally (which may or may not have value for you). One thing that’s important to remember is that the studio, publicist or strategist behind the contender is often as important as the contender. I look at some of these and I think, yeah, never going to happen. But we might as well keep an open mind.
Out of hundreds of movies that will be released in 2010, I have narrowed and cut the fat and list some movies that may be considered Oscar potential. Here they are in alphabetical order.
*The American– Sept- Anton Corbijn (Control) directs George Clooney in the hitman drama set in Europe.
+*Another Year– Mike Leigh is back directing Imelda Staunton and Jim Broadbent. Leigh’s films are usually good and well reviewed.
*Barney’s Version– Richard D. Curtis ( CSI ) directs Paul Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver, Scott Speedman, Rosamund Pike, Bruce Greenwood. Expect fireworks from Giamatti’s character.
The Beaver – Jodi Foster directs herself and Mel Gibson in one of the supposed hottest scripts when it was being shopped, in a premise so goofy it just might work.
*Betty Anne Waters – Remarkable true story starring Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver, Melissa Leo, Peter Gallagher, Juliette Lewis. Actor Tony Goldwyn’s 2nd work behind the camera after The Last Kiss.
+*Biutiful- Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ( Babel ) directs Javier Bardem in this Spanish drama.
Blue Valentine– Starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Willams in this marriage drama. Overall word from Sundance was mixed on the film (depressing) but Gosling received good words.
*The Company Men– John Wells (ER) directs Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, Ben Affleck, Cris Cooper, Maria Bello and Rosemarie DeWitt in the corporate downsizing drama.
+*The Conspiritor – Robert Redford directs this true story about Mary Surratt, the only woman to be involved in the conspiracy to kill President Lincoln. Starring James McAvoy, Robin Wright Penn, Evan Rachel Wood, Kevin Kline, Tom Wilkinson, Danny Huston, Toby Kebbell and Justin Long.
Cyrus– Sept- Starring Marisa Tomei, John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, Catherine Keener.
+*Down and Dirty Pictures– Directed by Kenneth Bowser ( Easy Rider and Raging Bulls ) About the rise of independent film in th e 1990’s starring Vincent D’ Onofrio, Sally Hakins, Toby Jones, Elias Koteas, Hugh Dancy, Andy Serkis, Bobby Cannavale and Matthew Perry.
*Eat, Pray, Love – Ryan Murphy ( Running With Scissors ) directs Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup, James Franco in this relationship drama.
+*Fair Game– Doug Liman ( Mr and Mrs Smith, Swingers ) directs Naomi Watts, Sean Penn in this political true story about Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson.
+*The Fighter– David O’Russell ( Three Kings ) directs this true story about boxer Mickey Ward starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale as his trainer ( in another miraculous weight loss for charatcer ) Amy Adams and Melissa Leo.
*Get Low– Directed by Aaron Schneider and the buzz of Toronto of Robert Duvall’s performance, also starring Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek and Lucas Black.
Greenberg– Noah Baumbach ( The Squid and The Whale ) diretcs Ben Stiler in what looks like a career starring role. Also starring Rhys Ifans.
*Hemingway and Fuentes – Andy Garcia will direct and also play the Cuban fisherman that inspired Ernest Hemingway to write The Old Man and The Sea. Anthony Hopkins to play the infamous writer.
*+Hereafter- Clint Eastwood goes for mystery thriller territory with Matt Damon and Bryce Dallas Howard starring.
+*How Do You Know – James L Brooks ( As Good As It Gets ) directs this comedy with Reese Witherspoon, Jack Nicholson, Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd.
+*Howl – About the early years of beat poet Alan Ginsberg starring James Franco. Also starring Jon Hamm, Jeff Daniels, Mary Louise Parker, David Strathairn, Bob Balaban and Treat Williams.
+*Inception– Christopher Nolan’s much anticipated thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cottilard, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine.
*Ironclad – The first time you will see Paul Giamatti as a 12th century warrior/king with Brian Cox, Kate Mera, Derek Jacobi and Jason Flemyng.
*The Kids Are Alright– Annette Bening won raves for her performance in this film about two lesbians who’s sperm donor comes to visit the kids for the first time also starring Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson..
+*The King’s Speech – Tom Hooper directs Colin Firth what looks to be another baity role as King George VI and his attempts as overcoming his stammer in his speech. With Geofrrey Rush as his speech therapist which looks like a baity role in support as well. Also starring Guy Pearce, Helena Bonham Carter, Timothy Spall and Michael Gambon.
*Leaves Of Grass – Tim Blake Nelson directs Edward Norton getting to chew scenery playing twin brothers. Also starring Richard Dreyfuss, Susan Sarandon and Keri Russell.
*Love and Other Drugs– Edward Zwick ( Legends Of The Fall, Blood Diamond ) directs this true story with Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway.
+*London Boulevard– Directed by first time Oscar winning screenwriter William Monghan ( The Departed ) taken loosely from the 50’s classic Sunset Boulevard starring Keira Knightley, Colin Firth and Ray Winstone.
+Micmacs – Directed by Jen-Pierre Jeunet ( Alien Resurrection, A Very Long Engaement, Amelie ) directs this film about some people that come up with a plan to destroy two weapon manufactureres. Did well at Toronto.
*Mother and Child – Directed by Rodrigo Garcia ( In Treatment ) Starring Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington and David Morse.
*My Own Love Song– If this isn’t Oscar bait I don’t know what is. Check out the trailer on youtube. Renee Zellweger may be in her career defying role. Forest Whitaker looks very good in support as well.
*Nowhere Boy – This did well at Sundance too. Story about John Lennon’s youth growing up under the guidance of his aunt played by Kristin Scott Thomas.
+*127 Hours – Another very baity premise, the first picture for Danny Boyle to direct after Slumdog, about the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston who had to amputate his own limb after being trapped under a rock and amazingly make it down the mountain alive. James Franco is set to star as Ralston..
+*Robin Hood – May 14- Ridley Scott teams up with Russell Crowe for a 5th time in this version of the man who stole from the rich to give to the poor. Also starring Cate Blanchett, Mark Storng, Max Von Sydow, William Hurt, Danny Huston, Matthew Mcfadyen and Kevin Durand.
*The Rum Diary– Bruce Robinson directs Johnny Depp in this role as Paul Kemp, the alcoholic writer. From a Hunter S. Thompson short story. Also starring Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard, Richard Jenkins and Giovanni Ribisi.
The Runaways – Starring Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie about the rise and fall of the all girl rock band The Runaways. Michael Shannon as manager Kim Fowley.
+*Secretariat– Randall Wallace (We Were Soldiers) directs this very popular story on the triple crown winner. This is a more popular sports story than Seabiscuit and that film received a best picture nod, imagine what this one can do. There are A LOT of horse racing fans and this is the number one popular horse racing story of all time. Starring Diane Lane as owner Penny Chenery, John Malkovich as trainer Lucien Laurin, Scott Glenn as the owner.
+*The Social Network – Oct. 15- David Fincher ( Benjamin Button, Fight Club, The Zodiac ) directs the first film about the rise of the social networking site Facebook. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Rashinda Jones, Joseph Mazzola, Andrew Garfield, Max Minghella.
*Somwhere– Sofia Coppola is back directing Stephen Dorff in a supposed career best role and something completely different from him with Elle Fanning as his daughter.
+*The Tempest – Julie Taymor ( Titus, Across The Universe ) directs this play from Shakespeare starring Helen Mirren, Djimon Hounsou, Alan Cumming. Alfred Molina, Chris Cooper, Russell Brand, Felicity Jones.
+*The Town– Directed and starring Ben Affleck with Jon Hamm, Rebbeca Hall, Jeremy Renner, Chris Cooper and Blake Lively.
+*The Tree Of Life– Super secretive director Terrence Malick ( Badlands, The Thin Red Line ) directs Sean Penn and Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain in this little known coming of age movie.
Tron: Legacy – Dec 25- Sequel to the 1982 sci-fi cult classic, starring Garrett Hedland, Jeff Bridges, Michael Sheen, Olivia Wilde, John Hurt and Bruce Boxleitner.
+*True Grit – Dec. 25- The Coen brothers are going to tackle the Charles Portis novel more closely than 1969 film did. Starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross.
*Winters Bone– Grand Jury Prize winner at Sundance starring Jennifer Lawrence as Ree Dolly, a girl who trudges through the Ozark mountains hunting for her drug addicted father.
+*You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger – Woody Allen goes back to the UK to direct this back story of difficulties with family life starring Naomi Watts, Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Frieda Pinto, Christian McKay.
Possible Best actor candidates
Casey Affleck- The Killer Inside Me- Controversial film but accolades @ Sundance about Affleck’s portrayal as the psycho sheriff.
Javier Bardem– Biutiful
Jim Broadbent- Another Year. Mike Leigh’s actors get awarded from time to time.
George Clooney– The American
Vincent D’ Onofrio– Down and Dirty Pictures- He’ll get to play the role of a lifetime as mega producer Harvey Weinstein.
Matt Damon– Hereafter- More baity of the 4 projects he is releasing in 2010.
Johnny Depp– The Rum Diary- Some are saying this might be the one. He’ll definitely gets to chew scenery as the alcoholic writer.
Leonardo DiCaprio– Shutter Island/Inception. Personally I’d like to see it for Shutter. I personally think Shutter is his overall best performance.
Stephen Dorff- Somewhere- Said to be his most well rounded performance of his career.
Michael Douglas– Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps- Could he get a nod a second time for the same character ?
Robert Duvall– Get Low- Much praise last fall at the Toronto Film Fest. Some say he might have won this year had the film got a 2009 release.
Jesse Eisnenberg– The Social Network- Is this the role that will take him to a higher acting echelon ?
Colin Firth– The King’s Speech- An awesome role to chew scenery playing KIng VI who has a stutter he must overcome.
James Franco– Howl/127 Hours- Question is what role ? I would bet as the mountain climber. Think Cast Away stuck on a mountain.
Paul Giamatti– Barney’s Version- This role is said to be like Miles from Sideways on steroids ( as in persona )
Mel Gibson– The Beaver- Well thought of script, with a Harvey like premise. Could this be his first acting Oscar nod ? The pics from the set are genuinely funny.
Ryan Gosling– Blue Valentine- His film got mixed reviews but not his performance.
Jake Gyllenhaal– Love and Other Drugs- A role that might just be Jake’s best performance.
Anthony Hopkins– Hemingway and Fuentes- It’s been over a decade since Sir Anthony has been Oscar nominated, could this be the one he returns to the ceremony ?
James McAvoy- The Conspirator- He is the male lead in the film that will provide much theatrics.
Jack Nicholson– What Do You Know- Category placement confusion. Reece is the lead in the film. ???
Edward Norton- Leaves Of Grass- Now talk about being able to really put on a show, He gets to play two twins that are exact opposites. One a drug dealer the other a professor.
Sean Penn– Fair Game- Put on a little weight and some gray for the role as the controversial Joseph Wilson.
Joe Pesci– Love Ranch- What’s the deal ? Will this film ever get released ?
Brad Pitt- The Tree Of Life- Category placement confusion.
Ray Stevenson- The Irishman- Playing a bad ass American-Irish mob leader in the 1970’s.
Jim Sturgess– The Way Back- He is the male lead in the film and he’s still waiting for a breakout role and this might be the one.
Mark Wahlberg– The Fighter- May be his best leading role.
Annette Bening– The Kid’s Are Alright- Won raves for this performance at Sundance.
Jodie Foster – The Beaver
Romola Garia– Glorious 39
Anne Hathaway– Love and Other Drugs- She plays are sick person who is dying.
Sally Hawkins– It’s A Wonderful Afterlife
Bryce Dallas Howard– Hereafter- Her first true leading role.
Nicole Kidman– Rabbit Proof- She’ll get to show some heavy emotions maybe the most in her career.
Keira Knightley- London Boulevard- She get’s to play the modern day UK version of Gloria Swanson.
Diane Lane – Secretariat- Playing the popular horse owner.
Helen Mirren – Love Ranch/Tempest- She’s always solid but if I had to bet it’d be for Tempest.
Carey Mulligan– Never Let Go- She is the supposed lead so we’ll see what her category placement will be.
Natalie Portman– Black Swan- Possible career best role.
Julia Roberts– Eat, Pray, Love- It’s her film, could it be the one to put her back in the discussion ?
Amy Ryan– Jack Goes Boating- Got good words from Sundance as in the best part of the film.
Susan Sarandon– The Greatest
Imelda Staunton– Another Year- Mike Leigh film.
Hilary Swank– Betty Anne Waters- Might be her best role and that’s saying something considering she has won two Oscar’s. The true story is incredible.
Kristen Stewart– The Runaways- Received kudos for her Joan Jett portrayal at Sundance ( from Jett herself too )
Christian Bale– The Fighter- I think it’s his first Oscar nod. Lost a ton of weight for the role ( again ) as Ward’s trainer Dickie Eckland.
Josh Brolin– Wall Street 2/True Grit- Gets to play some more baddie’s.
Vincent Cassell– Black Swan
Chris Cooper– The Company Men
Andy Garcia– Hemingway and Fuentes- Playing Hemingway’s sword fisherman muse for the Old Man and The Sea.
Andrew Garfield– Never Let Go
Brendan Gleeson– Perrier’s Bounty
Jackie Earle Haley– Shutter Island- His short time on screen almost steals the film.
Jon Hamm– The Town
Ed Harris– The Way Back
Dustin Hoffman– Barney’s Version
Samuel L. Jackson– Mother and Child
Ben Kingsley– Shutter Island
Kevin Kline– The Conspirator
Frank Langella– Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Joseph Gordon-Levitt- Inception
John Malkovich– Secretariat- Plays the legendary trainer Lucien Laurin to the popular triple crown winner .
Ewen McGregor– The Ghost Writer
Alfred Molina– Tempest
Bill Murray– Get Low- Also got raves at Tornoto.
Bill Nighy– Glorious 39
Jack Nicholson– What Do You Know- Category confusion at this point.
Guy Pearce– Animal Kingdom- Got good word for his performance at Sundance.
Giovanni Ribisi– The Rum Diary
John C. Reilly– Cyrus- Said to steal the show.
Sam Rockwell– Betty Anne Waters- Will play the brother of Betty who was unjustly convicted to prison.
Mark Ruffalo– The Kid’s Are Alright
Geoffrey Rush– The King’s Speech
Forest Whitaker– My Own Love Song- If you see the trailer online, he looks good in it as well.
Ray Winstone– London Boulevard
Amy Adams– The Fighter
Jessica Alba– The Killer Inside Me- Got raves at Sundance for her daring role which she couldn’t even watch.
Maria Bello– The Company Men
Annette Bening– Mother and Child/Hemingway and Fuentes
Helena Bonham Carter- The King’s Speech
Emily Blunt– The Adjustment Bureau
Jessica Chastain– The Tree Of Life
Marion Cotillard– Inception
Julie Christie– Glorious 39
Viola Davis– Eat, Pray, Love
Dakota Fanning– The Runaways
Elle Fanning– Somehwere
Rebbeca Hall- The Town
Amanda Heard– The Rum Diary
Barbara Hershey– Black Swan
Catherine Keeener– Cyrus
Keira Knightley– Never Let Go
Mila Kunis– Black Swan
Melissa Leo– The Fighter
Kate Mera– 127 Hours
Julianne Moore– The Kid’s Are Alright
Carey Mulligan– Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Ellen Page– Inception
Frida Pinto– You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger
Saorise Ronan– The Way Back
Amanda Seyfried– Chloe
Sissy Spacek– Get Low
Kristen Scott Thomas– Nowhere Boy
Michelle Williams– Shutter Island
Evan Rachel Wood- The Conspirator
Ben Affleck– The Town
Woody Allen– You Wil Meet A Tall Dark Stranger
Darren Aronofsky– Black Swan
Kenneth Bowser– Down and Dirty Pictures
Danny Boyle– 127 Hours
James L. Brooks– You Know What
Ethan and Joel Coen– True Grit
Sofia Coppola- Somewhere
Clint Eastwood– Hereafter
David Fincher– The Social Network
Jodie Foster– The Beaver
Tony Goldwyn– Betty Anne Waters
Tom Hooper– The King’s Speech
Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu– Biutiful
Mike Leigh– Another Year
Doug Liman– Fair Game
Terrence Malick– The Tree Of Life
William Monahan– London Boulevard
Ryan Murphy– Eat, Pray, Love
Christopher Nolan– Inception
David O’ Russell– The Fighter
Robert Redford– The Conspirator
Bruce Robinson– The Rum Diary
Marin Scorsese– Shutter Island
Ridley Scott– Robin Hood
Aaron Schneider– Get Low
Oliver Stone– Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Bela Tarr– The Turin Horse
Julie Taymour– The Tempest
Randall Wallace– Secretariat
Michael Winterbottom– The Killer Inside Me
Peter Weir– The Way Back
Edward Zwick- Love and Other Drugs
And I didn’t mention blockbusters like Clash Of The Titans, Jonah Hex, The Prince Of Persia, The A-Team, The Deathly Hallows, The Eagle and The Ninth, Shrek, The Green Hornet, Salt, The Expendables, Iron Man Two, etc. because they won’t get best picture nominations.
I’m not so sure about Deathly Hallows. I actually think it will be headed for a Best Pic nod – they have to honor the Harry Potter movies and with ten slots, it is definitely possible. Iran Man Two is a possibility as well.