Waiting for a heavyweight in the animated Oscar race
"Brave"'s come-from-behind victory proved that the lure of the familiar can be a key factor in this race, but can that voter complacency really extend to "Monsters University?" The only sequel to take the award to date has been "Toy Story 3" -- but there can be no doubt that its two predecessors would also have won the Oscar had it been there for the taking in 1995 and 1999, respectively. Is the Academy will to hand the gold to a sequel to the film they passed over?
Meanwhile, "Despicable Me 2" and, later this year, "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2" are looking to take the question even further: in a field this seemingly weak, will the animators' branch be forced to include sequels to films they didn't even nominate? We don't yet know if the 2013 animation slate will be large enough to force a five-wide nominee field, but if it does, that's that distinct possibility. ("Despicable Me," it's worth remembering, would surely have been nominated in a field of five back in 2010, but despite a healthy precursor showing, it was rightly kept out of the final three by Sylvain Chomet's arthouse underdog "The Illusionist.")
If the Academy does indeed decide (for the first time since "Happy Feet" took the 2006 Oscar) that the year's spring and summer releases aren't up to snuff, it could finally be Disney's year in the category. Kris recently discussed the possibility of the buried Mickey Mouse short "Get a Horse!" being a force in the Best Animated Short race, but we could be in for a package deal: the short will released in theaters in November alongside the studio's elaborate feature fairytale "Frozen," which might emerge as the one to beat.
"Frozen," the Mouse House's long-mooted adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story "The Snow Queen," has rather a lot riding on it, and the first trailer will be eagerly scrutinized when it land next week. Like 2010's Rapunzel riff "Tangled," it'll be looking to match the studio's classic storytelling sensibility to the demands of a 21st-century kiddie audience -- it's no coincidence that both films opted for snappy, past-participle title changes in an attempt to sound more contemporary (and, sadly, disguise the female focus of their narratives).
The inordinately expensive "Tangled" succeeded to a degree, grossing $200 million in the US -- though it missed out on an Oscar nod. (Like "Despicable Me 2," it was a victim of 2010's three-wide field.) Other late-year options include Relativity Media's Thanksgiving comedy "Free Birds," while GKIDS's delightful "Ernest and Celestine" -- a critical hit at Cannes last year that has yet to set a release date -- should be a welcome specialty option in the mix. But if "Frozen" doesn't deliver, we could be in for a less-than-animated race.
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, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
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
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
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
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.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 | 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
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
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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