25 potential Oscar contenders for 2014
Who will be left standing by...August?
Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Stars: Naomi Watts, Naveen Andrews, Cas Anvar, Douglas Hodge, Geraldine James
Release Date: TBD
Festival Speculation: Venice, Telluride, Toronto
Why: The Academy has an ongoing fascination with Britain's Royal Family – as we saw recently with “The Queen” and “The King's Speech” – so there's little reason to think that couldn't extend to this biographical portrait of the last two years in the life of the monarchy's most glamorous, tragic and universally beloved (ex-)member. Okay, so German director Oliver Hirschbiegel is a question mark: acclaimed for the Oscar-nominated Hitler biopic “Downfall,” he came badly unstuck with his flop Hollywood debut “The Invasion.” Still, his low-profile 2009 follow-up, political biopic “Five Minutes of Heaven” won him a Sundance directing award, so maybe he's simply more assured on factual territory. And with Naomi Watts back on the Academy's radar after her nomination for “The Impossible,” she could well benefit from the voters' undimmed fascination with famous people playing famous people. No US distributor yet, but with the film opening first in Argentina one day after the Venice Film Festival kicks off on August 28, this could be our Lido opener.
- Guy Lodge