It's been roughly four months since Indiewire's coverage of the mammoth 2012-2013 awards season came to an end. Our For Your Consideration column has laid dormant ever since, its most recent edition an year-in-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 as "sure bets":
- John Hawkes receives a best actor nomination (for "The Sessions").
- Judi Dench receives a best supporting actress nomination (for "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel").
- "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is nominated for best adapted screenplay.
- "Brave" is nominated for best animated feature (though likely doesn't win).
- "Moonrise Kingdom" is nominated for best original screenplay.
- "Mirror Mirror" is nominated for best costume design.
- "The Avengers" is nominated for best sound editing, best sound mixing and best visual effects.
So we were wrong about Hawkes and Dench. But they were pretty close calls, particularly the former. Most folks were predicting him to at least be nominated all the way through to the day of the announcement. But we were right about the rest, and we did even better in our list potential nominees we weren't confident enough to say would make it for sure, which included for best picture; Michael Haneke and Benh Zeitlin for best director; and Quvenzhané Wallis, Helen Hunt and Emmanuelle Riva in the acting categories (we also had almost all the foreign and doc nominees listed).
This is noted not so much for bragging rights (surely many other Oscars prognosticators would have made the same calls at the time), but to make clear that half way through any given year usually offers quite a few clues as to where Oscar might be heading... So let's turn the conversation to 2013.
Cannes and Sundance -- which often offer quite a few Oscar-nominated films (last year each gave us a best picture nominee in "Amour" and "Beasts," respectively), both gave us some early options. As far as the best picture category goes, each festival offered two genuine possibilities: Ryan Coogler's "Fruitvale Station" and Richard Linklater's "Before Midnight" from Sundance, and Joel & Ethan Coen's "Inside Llewyn Davis" and JC Chandor's "All Is Lost" from Cannes.
Since the best picture lineup expanded beyond 5 in 2009, the number of
films that screened before the cut has varied widely: A whopping 6 of 10
in 2009, 4 of 10 in 2010, 3 of 9 in 2011, and just 2 from the 9
nominees from last year. "Davis" seems like the surest bet of the four to be an example of that this year. It gave the directors some of their very best reviews (and the Grand Prix at Cannes), and given three of their last four films have nabbed best picture nominations it seems unreasonable to bet against it. As for the other three (not to mention James Gray's "The Immigrant," Asghar Farhadi's "The Past" and Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," all longer shots from Cannes that shouldn't be ruled out) -- it just depends on how the rest of the year goes down.