Oscar Talk 2013: What to Watch For

The 85th Annual Academy Awards is now done with, so is it too soon to start looking at the upcoming year and making some predictions? Yeah, it probably is too soon, but here are a few films that I think will receive a lot of attention come awards season:

August: Osage County

Based on the award-winning play, John Wells will bring the play to the screen with quite a cast: Meryl Streep, Ewan McGregor, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Abigail Breslin. While John Wells isn’t a name you see around film, he’s an award-winning name in the television world with 6 Primetime Emmy awards with ER and The West Wing. I think this is going to be a serious contender come awards season next year.

Captain Phillips

Set to be released in October of 2013, Paul Greengrass (United 93, The Bourne Ultimatum) will release a drama based on a true story about the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. Starring Tom Hanks and Catherine Keener, this is going to be one to keep a close eye on. While Hanks has recently stepped away from the Oscar spotlight, he’s still one of the finest actors of our time.

Gravity

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Alfonso Cuaron? There has been a lot of talk around this science fiction project using a vision from Cuaron that will really ‘wow’ everyone. As if I needed more reason to be excited for this release. This will be Cuaron’s first feature since Children of Men (2006), so a lot of anticipation is building. Oh, I forgot to mention it also stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

Labor Day

There’s a pattern here. Jason Reitman adapts a novel himself, then allows Diablo Cody to pen a screenplay. Reitman directs them all. Since Young Adult was from a Cody screenplay, it’s Reitman’s turn. Adapting the Joyce Maynard novel, this film is about a mother and a son who offer an escaped convict a ride. Starring Josh Brolin, Kate Winslet, and Tobey Maguire, this seems to be a little outside of Reitman’s comfort zone but nonetheless, he’s become an Oscar regular and this film should be on everyone’s radar this year.

Foxcatcher

Bennett Miller is relatively new to feature films, but has directed Capote and Moneyball, two films that received plenty of Oscar exposure. His next film is a drama about John du Pont, a man who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and killed Olympic wrestler David Schultz. Starring Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Sienna Miller, it’s not your typical Oscar cast but it’s definitely one that could be by the end of the year.

Inside Llewyn Davis

inside-llewyn-davis

If there is any directing duo that screams Oscars, it’s the Coen brothers. Ethan and Joel’s latest film revolves around a singer-songwriter who navigates New York’s folk music scene during the 1960s. Starring Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, and Oscar Isaac, never bet against the Coen brothers.

Nebraska

Alexander Payne has made Sideways and The Descendants, two excellent and small-scaled dramas about family and friends. His latest film is about an alcoholic father traveling with his estranged son from Montana to Nebraska. I am very excited for this film and you should be too.

The Monuments Men

George Clooney has won two Oscars, one for producing Argo and the other for acting in Syriana. He’s been nominated 8 times for writing, acting, and directing. He’s the real deal and the Academy loves him, so be smart and pay attention to his new film. Here’s the plot synopsis: In a race against time, a crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renown works of art stolen by Nazis before Hitler destroys them. Starring George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, and Daniel Craig. I think we have ourselves a front-runner.

Saving Mr. Banks

John Lee Hancock isn’t a stranger to extracting emotion from the audience. With The Rookie, The Alamo, and The Blind Side on his resume, his next film revolves around P.L. Travers trying to sell her novel, Mary Poppins, to Walt Disney Pictures. Starring Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, and Paul Giamatti. This sounds like it’s going to be a heart-felt, crowd-pleasing film that will catch the Oscars’ eyes.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese is once again teaming up with his partner-in-crime, Leonardo DiCaprio, for his next film. The plot: A New York stock broker refuses to cooperate in a large securities fraud case involving corruption on Wall Street, corporate banking world and mob infiltration. But seriously, Scorsese and DiCaprio. You know what to expect here.

Diana

naomi-watts-diana

I’m torn about this one, but I had to include it for two reasons. First and foremost, Naomi Watts is going to play Princess Diana in this biopic. If there was ever a chance for the wonderful Naomi Watts to win an Oscar, this might be her ultimate chance. Secondly, Oliver Hirschbiegel is behind this project. Downfall is still one of the best films ever about Adolf Hitler, but then again, The Invasion wasn’t very good. So this seems like a hit-or-miss, but I’m really hoping that it will become a hit.

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