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David Poland

By David Poland

First Gurus Of The Season

The charts…

It’s an interesting view at this point in the year. Two of the Top 10 have been in release. Just one from Cannes. A couple that have been quietly screening for long lead and fall preview press. And at least three that no one… really, no one… has seen.

We also got into surprise actor and actress choices, which can be weird. You say “surprise,” I say “lock.” You say, “It’s obvious.” I say, “No way!”

So for me, John Hawkes in Martha Marcy May Marlene starts the season as a frontrunner. He was nominated last year and the performance can be “gotten” in a 30 second clip. (Not fully, obviously… but you get why it’s a showstopper.) Unless The Artist somehow stumbles badly, Jean Dujardin is this year’s Roberto Benigni, but doubly so… a guy with leading man good looks and clowning genius that has made his one of the biggest stars in France. We’ll see how he does with English while in Toronto, but he could be a frontrunner to win right now.

Will it really be a surprise if Charlize Theron gets nominated for her brilliant turn in Young Adult? No. You want a long shot, think Patton Oswalt. But if the stars align, it could happen. Paramount pushed the film past the award season, hoping that it will be a fresh addition late in the game… and it could well work out perfectly for them.

The really interesting longshot on the list is Michelle Yeoh in The Lady, a Luc Besson film that goes to TIFF without US distribution in place (that we know of). And interestingly, it is a film about a female leader, not as famous as the iron lady, but perhaps more compelling for US audiences. Don’t be shocked if the film also becomes a serious candidate as we move forward.

In fact, I do expect more surprises post-TIFF this year than in years past. One or two buys that could be in serious contention with the right distributor. And Searchlight has decided to put the now-locked The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in spring 2012… unless they change their mind. The uber-Dependent has a history of using TIFF as a springboard to finalize season strategy. As you can see on the chart, the Gurus are all over their main awards horse for this year, The Descendents. But if they want two…

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11 Responses to “First Gurus Of The Season”

  1. Geoff says:

    Isn’t Gary Oldman close to a lock for a nod at this point? It’s like him and Kevin Bacon who are ridiculously overdue for just a nod. Those ads for Tinker Tailer all but scream it: “BAFTA” nominated!

    How the hell did he not get nominated for Immortal Beloved???

  2. sanj says:

    hey DP – tell me quick why Saoirse Ronan won’t get nominated for Hanna or Limitless for best picture or David Hyde Peirce for The Perfect Host or Mel Gibson for Beaver or Andy Serkis for the Apes movie ..

    did all the movies from Jan 2011 to Aug 2011 suck so much they shouldn’t get nominated .. you movie critics wait for TIFF to get all the oscar nominations and its just
    not fair for all those other movies .

    if the Apes movie waited for TIFF than 100 + movie journalists could talk about Serkis and his technology..
    it might have gotten him an oscar ..if TIFF is that important they could have waited another month to open the movie.

    DP – how surprised are you that Leo Dicaprio and George Clooney get nominated again .. also does it bug you when your favorite actors don`t get nominated..

  3. Weird thing about those “surprises.” To me, Yeoh in “The Lady” doesn’t qualify for “surprise,” because it’s dripping in bait (and, indeed, could happen).


  4. J says:

    “Will we be match or surpass that record this season? Only time will tell.”

    Ahead on the proofreading slip-ups, so far.

    One day, the whole internet will read like it’s been Babelfished.

  5. movielocke says:

    The rule change to requiring 5% of first place votes was made to prevent an animated film from being nominated every year. Which films is this rule going to unfairly hit? I could see it likely that the Artist sweeps half a dozen or more categories, major and minor, but misses BP. And that Harry Potter unexpectedly gets a BP nod (and no other noms, except maybe a semi unexpected crafts nod) because an effort by the HP producing team to get every academy member that worked on any of the films in the series to put it as their number one for old times sake.

    Will the rule change make it very hard for smaller, difficult films to earn a BP nomination while making it much easier for movie-movie crowd pleasers (Midnight in paris, moneyball, The Help, GWADT, War Horse) to earn nominations?

    I can see lots of directors, for example, and DPs, putting Tree of Life in their top three of their craft categories, and it earning easy nominations, but how many will put it number one for BP as well?

    It’s interesting, this rule change may cause voters to start arguing about the non-existant difference between favorite and best. :-p

  6. David Poland says:

    Good thing that was a group typo, J. (Or is that the Royal We?)

    Fair enough, Kris. For me, the reason I was willing to go there was that there is no distribution yet. Then again, I suspect we’ll get an EXCLUSIVE announcement from Open Road or Weinstein the day the festival starts.

  7. Banking on Weinstein.

  8. hcat says:

    I know its a bad idea to bet against Speilberg especially since there is no word yet on the quality of the film and all we’ve seen is the trailer (but since this is a space for crystal ball type predictions). But War Horse feels like an also ran to me. Perhaps its all the rich sunsets and gazing wistfully into the horizon in the trailer, but come New Years I doubt this will be as high up on the list.

    And I don’t know where Jolie is in the rankings, but given Berney’s track record with difficult or offbeat material (nomination for Whale Rider, wins for Monster and La vie en rose) I wouldn’t count her out of the actress race.

  9. Gustavo says:

    “And that Harry Potter unexpectedly gets a BP nod (and no other noms, except maybe a semi unexpected crafts nod)”

    That sounds absurd to me.

  10. yancyskancy says:

    hcat: What has Jolie acted in this year besides her voice work in KUNG FU PANDA 2?

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