For some reason a number of people are feeling iffy on the Oscar chances of George Clooney's "The Ides of March." The air of doubt started with a wave of reserved reactions at the Venice Film Festival, which was simply not the right venue to premiere the film. Thing picked up slightly at Toronto, but not much. And still, the kind of snotty critical reaction in some quarters is enough for many to pull their punches on the film's date with the Kodak.
Well, I say, "Nonsense." Ever since I saw the movie a few weeks ago I've been fairly certain it will be a big player with the Academy. I'd take it to the bank, even. It's a tight piece of work, easily digestible, featuring a stellar ensemble and coming from Hollywood's golden boy. AMPAS will eat it up. A SAG ensemble nomination is likely on the way. PGA, DGA, it all fits. But hey, you want to doubt it, don't let me stop you. And don't let Harvey Weinstein stop you, either.
Vulture's Jenni Avins managed to corner Weinstein at Vanity Fair's New Establishment cocktail party Tuesday night and probe him for his thoughts on the race. With little more than that prompt, he immediately launched into a boatload of praise for Clooney's movie. And, indeed, he anticipates the Academy responding in a big way, too.
"I'll tell you the movie that I love the most. I love George Clooney's movie, The Ides of March. I love politics, and this movie is the best political movie — it's gotta be right up there with the best of the best. Seriously, it is the toughest, most incisive, no-bullshit movie I've seen this year. And [Ryan] Gosling hits it out of the ballpark. And the entire cast is great. Clooney just nailed it. It's an appropriate movie for these times. So Oscar prediction? That that gets nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor."
I'm with him on Gosling. I really am. There has to be some space cleared out for him in the lead actor race. It just fits. And he deserves it. He's having a fantastic year and he's very much a part of the new guard that the Academy would be wise to foster. And as I said to Anne in a recent podcast, I think Clooney is actually the most likely supporting actor candidate, rather than Philip Seymour Hoffman.
In any case, I'm sensing an overall upswing on reaction to the film. More and more critics are getting a look, and hey, maybe bowing at Venice to tepid reaction was ultimately a good thing. Maybe it lowered expectations. But people are beginning to react and react positively.
We'll have a slightly better gauge of things when the film screens for the Academy this weekend.
Speaking of "The Ides of March," here is our list of the top 10 films about politics, in case you missed it earlier this week.
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