With the Oscars now just a memory, the time has come for the final edition of this column (for this season). From the Toronto International Film Festival's unofficial awards season kickoff in September to last weekend's generally underwhelming ceremony, it's been six long months of speculation and anticipation and I'm ready to move on (as I'm sure many of you are as well).
There is one final column before letting awards talk rest in peace until September. It's been an annual tradition at Indiewire (and elsewhere) to take an ignorant stab at the following year well before there's any substantial evidence in its regard (Sundance aside, that is -- where this year it seems "Before Midnight" and to a lesser degree "Fruitvale" are the safest bets for Oscar).
Surprisingly, it's not always a total crapshoot. Last year, I did manage to properly predict 5 of the 9 best picture nominations (7 if you count the alternates), and managed to get nine of the 20 acting nominees. Which probably says more about how extraordinarily predictable this all is than any sort of skill, but still, before this column lies dormant until the fall... let's give it another shot. No one's taking this too seriously. (Right?)
There's certainly plenty to choose from, as 2013 looks to be a diverse and potentially quite fulfilling year for cinema. And one that could make for a pretty starry Oscar race.
One of the men behind this year's
best picture winner "Argo" -- Mr. George Clooney -- could be back in a
big way with three films that all look like they could go over in big ways. He's a producer on this year's Oscar bait of all Oscar baits: Tracy Letts adapting his own Pulitzer Prize-winning play "August: Osage County." The film -- which has the backing of Harvey Weinstein no less -- is about a dysfunctional Oklahoma family and offers juicy roles to a remarkable cast including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor and Benedict Cumberbatch (who is like every movie in 2013). The only major question mark is its director, John Wells, who has all sorts of Emmys for shows like "ER" but has only made one previous film, the good-but-not-great "The Company Men." But if there's one thing to call a year in advance: It's that Meryl -- playing a drug-addicted woman with cancer -- is getting Oscar nomination #18.
Clooney's even more involved in another star-studded potential frontrunner, "The Monuments Men," which Clooney directs, stars in, co-produces and co-writes. Starting production in Berlin any second now (it's why Clooney -- and his co-star Jean Dujardin -- had beards at the Oscars), the film is a World War II drama (Oscar check!) about a group of folks in charge of saving art from the Nazis in the last days of the war. Sounds like an "Argo"-esque caper, and also happens to feature "Argo" (and "The Artist" -- what an Oscar good luck charm) co-star John Goodman (give him a nomination already), alongside Clooney, Dujardin, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Bill Murray and Daniel Craig.
And then there's "Gravity." Alfonso Cuaron's long-awaited 3D space adventure stars Clooney and Sandra Bullock as two astronauts stuck in a space after a meteorite shower. Insiders suggest the film could be an extraordinarily impressive feat in both 3D technology and storytelling (if "Monument's Men" is this year's "Argo," this could be this year's "Life of Pi").