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by Peter Knegt
July 6, 2012 12:44 PM
22 Comments
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For Your Consideration: Indiewire's Mid-Year Oscar Analysis

"Beasts of the Southern Wild"
It's been roughly four months since Indiewire's coverage of the mammoth 2010-2011 awards season came to an end. Our "For Your Consideration" column has lain dormant ever since, its most recent edition an advance stab at what might become of the next awards season. But with the Venice Film Festival and Toronto Film Festival just two months away, "next" is soon to be now. Thus, we welcome you to a special mid-year edition of our "For Your Consideration" column, which will run regularly beginning in September.

This focus of this particular column is not a preview of what's to come, but what we already know from the year's first six months whether via festival screenings or theatrical releases. Last year at this time, we called all of the following:

  • Christopher Plummer receives a best supporting actor nomination, and maybe wins.
  • Vanessa Redgrave receives a best supporting actress nomination, and maybe wins.
  • "Rango" is nominated for best animated feature.
  • "The Tree of Life" is nominated for best cinematography.
  • "Midnight in Paris" is nominated for best original screenplay, and maybe best picture.
  • Also potentially factoring in from Cannes are Michael Hazanavicius's "The Artist," Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive," Lars von Trier's "Melancholia" and Lynne Ramsay's "We Need To Talk About Kevin," while from Sundance we have Drake Doremus' "Like Crazy," Sean Durkin's "Martha Marcy May Marlene," Dee Rees's "Pariah," and Jeff Nichols' "Take Shelter."


So we were wrong about Redgrave. But who wasn't? Most folks were predicting her to at least be nominated all the way through December. Her work in Ralph Fiennes' "Corionalus" -- which debuted at the 2011 Berlinale -- puts eventual winner Octavia Spencer's performance in "The Help" to shame. But in all likelihood, too few people ended up seeing "Corionalus" and she managed to lose out to the (deserved) likes of "Bridesmaids" actress Melissa McCarthy, a film we'd also seen by this time last year.  McCarthy was noted as a "decent shot" in the best supporting actress category in last year's column, and at the time even that felt ambitious. But let that be a lesson that critically acclaimed summer box office hits should never be counted out (it seems to me another M.McM -- Matthew McConaughey -- could end up this year's Melissa McCarthy for his fantastic work in "Magic Mike").

Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConaughey in "Magic Mike."
And clearly we could have been a bit more optimistic about "The Tree of Life," "Midnight in Paris" and -- most especially -- "The Artist." In large part due to a lack of worthy competition from the year's second half, these three films each score best picture and best director nominations, and the latter won both (in addition to best actor). While it was clearly well received when it debuted at Cannes last May, very few folks would have felt confident suggesting it would win best picture. After all, it was a French-produced silent film with no recognizable actors.

So with last year's prognosticatory shortcomings in mind, let's turn the conversation to 2012, a year that so far genuinely makes the first half of 2011 look like an Oscar goldmine. Cannes and Sundance -- which often offer quite a few Oscar-nominated films (though last year's Cannes batch was unrivaled in how many Oscar noms they churned out), both appeared to be considerably not-so-Oscar-friendly this year. Though -- as last year made clear -- films can unexpectedly recieve boosts later in the year.

As far as the best picture category goes, each festival offered two genuine possibilities: "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "The Sessions" (formerly known as "The Surrogate") from Sundance, and "Moonrise Kingdom" and "Amour" from Cannes.  Michael Haneke's "Amour" is by far the longest shot of the four, and the idea of two Palme d'Or winners getting noms back-to-back is unprecendented. But people adore "Amour," and its definitely a strong possibility for a few other categories (screenplay, foreign language film and perhaps a lone director slot). 

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22 Comments

  • Ap | July 9, 2012 10:36 AMReply

    No screenplay nod for Safety Not Guaranteed?

  • paul | July 8, 2012 3:22 AMReply

    i'm sorry snow white and the huntsman and mirror mirror will be up for nothing. both those movies were horrible. if and that is a big if mirror mirror gets looked at for best costumes that is because eiko ishioka passed away this year. i think moonrise kingdom might take bp though.

  • Joe | July 8, 2012 12:30 AMReply

    Has anyone in The Playlist seen Paperboy? Does Nicole Kidman actually have a shot?

  • Josh | July 7, 2012 10:45 AMReply

    What about Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy??? She should be a lock for best actress, she was incredible!

  • Adrien | July 7, 2012 9:19 AMReply

    Next stop for 2012: The Dark Knight Rises, Les Misérables, Django Unchained, The Master and The Hobbit will be strong possibilities, also Wreck-It Ralph and Rise of the Guardians may be strong contenders Animated Feature. Moreover, I'd love to see Arcade Fire's "Abraham's Daughter" to get a nomination for best original song.

    This is going to be a good year.

  • penny | July 7, 2012 6:08 AMReply

    You forget about Anne Hathaway for " Les Miserables." She was looks absolutely brilliant in that teaser trailer.

  • jimbo | July 6, 2012 10:51 PMReply

    like the cannes committee, surprised you're leaving off lore. the reviews were startlingly good out of sydney and it'll surely be a push for music box. Laurence Anyways? really?

  • Jon J | July 6, 2012 3:17 PMReply

    Best Actor - hands down - is Omar Sy for The Intouchables
    Best Picture should include Polisse

  • Fernando | July 6, 2012 3:11 PMReply

    Not even a chance for Your Sister's Sister (Rosemarie Dewitt) or Friends With Kids (Jon Hamm)? Wishful thinking I guess.

  • Pat | July 6, 2012 3:09 PMReply

    Judi Dench is arguably a lead in 'Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'. I think Maggie Smith is a pretty safe bet in supporting, though, and the film could land in adapted screenplay.

    Also, is a film ineligible for Oscars if it played on VOD before a theatrical run? Might Take This Waltz be (unfortunately) out?

  • chris | July 7, 2012 11:35 AM

    'Take This Waltz' had a one week LA qualifying run before the VOD release. ;)

  • Blankets | July 6, 2012 2:36 PMReply

    There is no way 'Moonrise' gets in for Original Score. There is simply too much other non-original music used in the movie, as well as some original contributions from Mark Mothersbaugh outside of the great stuff from Desplat. The Academy shouldn't touch it with a ten-foot poll considering the distance they kept from 'There Will Be Blood' and others. Then again they awarded the likes of 'Babel' and 'The Artist' for reusing non-originals...

  • shelly | July 6, 2012 2:11 PMReply

    Channing Tatum "Magic Mike" - now you have lost all credibility

  • Dan Humphrey | July 7, 2012 12:59 PM

    Dargis at the NY Times called him "terrific", which makes for a pretty strong endorsement.

  • Peter Knegt | July 6, 2012 2:15 PM

    Ha, but only as a very dark horse. It's extraordinarily unlikely, but these kind of performances do occasionally make the conversation (John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever," for example).

  • Shelly | July 6, 2012 2:15 PM

    Matthew McConaughey will for sure be nominated though.

  • shelly | July 6, 2012 2:08 PMReply

    None of the Sundance movies you mentioned from last year got Oscar noms

  • Peter Knegt | July 6, 2012 2:13 PM

    True - though I never said they did.

  • Ali | July 6, 2012 1:58 PMReply

    Quvenzhané Wallis is 8 years old and will be 9 on the day of the nominations. So, she wouldn't be the youngest nominee ever. She'd be the youngest Best Actress nominee ever and if she won, she'd be the youngest winner ever.

  • Peter Knegt | July 6, 2012 2:14 PM

    This has been corrected, thanks Ali... She'd be the youngest female nominee ever, and the second youngest overall after Justin Henry.

  • Rich T | July 6, 2012 1:18 PMReply

    Strong case for BEASTS. I hadn't thought of it, but it does make sense that it could garner a BP nomination. That said, I have a feeling that MOONRISE KINGDOM is a stone cold lock for a BP nomination. Just seems like the near universal praise and box office success lines up with the idea that it's Wes Anderson's 'time.'

  • Dan Humphrey | July 7, 2012 1:02 PM

    I agree on MK. The positive feelings for it just seem to grow stronger and stronger. I like it more now than I did the night I first saw it, and that seems a fairly common feeling among people I talk to: "It really grows on you."