The D23 expo previewed many upcoming titles for Disney, including Thor, Captain America 2, etc. Angelina Jolie showed up to help hype Malecifent. But the real catch of the day were the clips from Saving Mr. Banks, as USA Today reports:
Perhaps no footage shown was as enchanting as the scenes debuted from this December’s Saving Mr. Banks. The biopic stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney opposite Emma Thompson as English author P.L. Travers, who took over 20 years to be persuaded to give up the rights to her book, Mary Poppins. “We will finally see Walt come to life in a medium he loved and embraced,” said Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios motion picture production.
Scenes included the dour Travers’ horrified reaction at Poppins being made into a musical. (“Mary Poppins does not sing,” she tells Disney firmly.) Although Hanks and Thompson were not present, B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman (who play Mary Poppins composers) took the stage with famed composer Richard Sherman to sing a confetti-strewn version of Let’s Go Fly a Kite. “What’s so interesting and fun about the movie is dramatizing that process,” said Novak. “The songs that feel so easy to us now came with such difficulty.”
David Poland then tweeted:
After seeing more footage, still feel Saving Mr Banks is an Oscar frontrunner. Just can’t get too Disneyfied in marketing. #d23
— David Poland (@DavidPoland) August 10, 2013
With all due respect to Mr. Poland, and Jeff Wells (who read the script and is basing his own enthusiasm on that) a film must be seen in its entirety to make a claim like that. Beyond that, even when everything goes right there is still no telling what strange things can come out of the woodwork to derail a film’s reception and momentum. Either way, it looks as promising as it has from the beginning.
But Oscar contenders do not become frontrunners because their previews look great (War Horse) or because their script is fantastic (Charlie Wilson’s War). They happen because the final movie is a winner. There are no shortcuts.