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Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner Emerges as First Oscar Contender of 2014

While it’s true that Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is also an early contender for film awards, Mike Leigh’s lavish epic about Britain’s greatest painter is very likely a film to keep an eye on for end of the year voting — if it can last that long. Though it’s hardly a crowd-pleaser in any respect — if you put Argo on one side of the world you could put Mr. Turner on the other — there was a time when Academy members cared more about high achievements in filmmaking and to that end, Mr. Turner has it in spades. But it’s early. It’s only Cannes and there is a lot more on the horizon.

At the very least, we’re looking at solid nods for Dick Pope’s exquisite cinematography, the production design and costumes. At the very least, Timothy Spall as a major contender for Best Actor. I would add Picture, Director and Screenplay (5 of 7 of Mike Leigh’s previous Oscar nods have been for his screenplays) but it’s simply too early to get my hopes up that this strange old-school masterpiece can dazzle our ADD awards voting community.

The Cannes Film Fest will also showcase Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher as a top shelf contender.