Couples Therapy: Oscar’s commitment issues with real-life romance

Contemporary relationship movies don’t normally come equipped with enough Deeper Meaning to propel them into Oscar territory. Especially, god forbid, if they dare to have any humor or recognizable practical attitude. Almost as if any pair of partners we might meet on the street aren’t eligible for an Oscar because real life situations are too familiar and not screwed up enough to generate sufficient drama. Surprisingly few movies featuring relatively normal people looking for love ever come close to Academy standards — Sideways, Juno, (500) Days of Summer. I’m not counting Up in the Air, because George Clooney’s fascination with his own navel in that film doesn’t qualify as a relationship.

This season, looks like we have three such movies percolating to the surface. So far I’m not dreading any of them because the excessive hard-sell contender drum-beating hasn’t reached annoying volume yet. So before our open-minded optimism begins to sprout furry patches of mold from the sickly sweetness, how about some blind speculation regarding the Oscar prospects of this season’s batch of Real People Love Stories Not Involving Jailbait, Rape or Nazis. Which of these four star-power tales of true romance do you think has the best chance to entrance the Academy?

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