Contender Countdown: Oscar likes to party all the time
If you were an Academy or guild member Wednesday night, you may have had a tough time determining your social schedule. There were at least four major events you could have attended tied to this year's awards season. Yes, the circuit is in full effect and it's just the second week of November.
In Hollywood, AFI Fest held a screening of "Her" with a Q&A featuring director Spike Jonze and hosted the Los Angeles premiere of Ben Stiller's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." The latter found Stiller joined by co-stars Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn, Adam Scott and Kathryn Hahn, among other notable guests. "Mitty" is clearly not the awards season player Fox or many in the media hoped it might be, but it's not for lack of trying.
Across town, Beverly Hills featured a special screening of "Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom" at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The premiere was only a few days ago, but this awards season-focused event featured special guests Sidney Poitier and Zindzi Mandela, daughter of both Nelson and Winnie.
Most impressive, however, was the special "Inside Llewyn Davis" private concert in Santa Monica. HitFix's Kris Tapley has nicely recapped the night. Any competing consultant thinking "Davis" isn't in line for a Best Picture nomination might change their minds after counting the over 200 Academy members in attendance. And hey, it's not every day Barbra Streisand shows up at one of these shindigs, y'know?
It's been a whirlwind few weeks with every night featuring one event after another and a multitude of nominating committees all over town. On Saturday, things will get more intriguing at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Governors Ball. The evening's most famous honoree is Angelina Jolie, but every studio with a contender is trying to make sure their top talent has a good seat to mingle with all those voters. Ironically, there may be more big stars at the Governors Awards than the Oscars this May.
Obviously, this is nothing new. The Academy's recent rule change allowing for more AMPAS Q&As has made things a tad busier, but with so many films still in the mix it's added a heightened sense of urgency to the season. And judging by this week's almost all over the place Gurus of Gold results*, it's clear a lot is at stake if you're not "Gravity," "12 Years a Slave," "Captain Phillips" or "Saving Mr. Banks." If there are going to be 10 nominees (and my gut still says nine), there is a lot at stake financially in locking down those other six slots
*Note: I did not intend to vote for "Before Midnight" in my Gurus selections. That is supposed to be "Blue Jasmine," as noted below.
With all that in mind, take a look over this week's Best Picture players.
Nov. 14, 2013
It's a marathon. You'll see.
2. "12 Years A Slave"
Box office so far should make Searchlight, McQueen and financiers very happy.
3. "Captain Phillips"
Always knew it would be a hit, but $100 million US? That's amazing.
4. "Saving Mr. Banks"
Feel-good player, but won't win.
5. "Lee Daniels' The Butler"
Y'all know there are a lot of Academy members in this one who have a ton of Academy friends, right?
6. "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Never doubt the appeal of the Coens and the power of producer Scott Rudin during the season.
Not sure they thought it was a player before Cannes, but Paramount has run this campaign beautifully since then. Now? Needs box office.
9. "Blue Jasmine"
Is it the movie or Blanchett's performance that Oscar will love? Sony Classics still believes it's both.
10. "Dallas Buyers Club"
It's a classy, indie tearjerker. Focus still believes (as they should).
What do you think about the current state of the Best Picture race? Share your thoughts below.
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
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