The time of year when Hollywood bestows top honors on its most dazzling of films is fast approaching. Yes, awards season is here, and as a host of new entries jockey for publicity those who actually end up doing the voting are sitting up and taking notice. Most people are aware of the end-of-the-year marketing onslaught pushing “year’s best” films. What many people don’t know is that awards front-runners often emerge well before December.
Winter awards ceremonies, such as the Golden Globes and various guild awards, pave the way for the final Oscar showdown. But it’s the film festivals that always prove to be the earliest barometer that clues people in as to which movies have the quality and momentum to earn a shot at some gold. As early as September, people flock to the Toronto International Film Festival in order to see which films are making a splash and generating buzz. Rumblings that emerge from even a single, influential film festival such as those in Toronto and Venice, can often be a fairly accurate predictor of what ends up being nominated for major awards down the line.
So which five movies are on track to break away and cross the finish line at the Kodak Theater come February? Here are some educated predictions from Hollywood insiders.
Ben Affleck’s third directorial outing has earned enough rave reviews and is enough of a crowd pleaser to likely snag a spot on the nominee’s list. Folks across the board seem to love this solidly constructed historical thriller about a CIA agent trying to smuggle Americans out of Tehran under the guise of making a movie. And this audience/critic goodwill should carry a lot of weight with the Academy.
Director Paul Thomas Anderson always seems to make an impression when he releases a new film, and “The Master” is no different. The movie, about the relationship between a religious leader and a wayward veteran, earned rave reviews on the festival circuit. It also benefits from having the full might of the Weinstein Company‘s awards-marketing machine behind it. Simply put: “The Master” is Oscar pedigree. Look for acting nods for its two stars — Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix — as well.
Aside from the overall importance of the story, “Lincoln” is well regarded due to the fact two Oscar heavyweights are involved. Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis have come together to tell the story of a towering American historical figure — and there’s no reality where that fact doesn’t earn the film a place at the Oscar table.
The Silver Linings Playbook
David O’ Russel’s offbeat drama is even more of a critical and festival darling than “The Master,” and that’s saying something. “The Silver Lining’s Playbook” has so much juice and momentum that the idea of it being a “best picture” nominee is a foregone conclusion. Expect nominations for acting, writing and direction to follow as well.
Life of Pi
If the Academy is halfway interested in giving points for style as well as substance, then expect “Life of Pi” to end up on the nominee’s list. Yan Martel’s novel about a boy adrift on a raft with only a tiger to keep him company was once thought impossible to adapt into a film. In the end it was Ang Lee who proved the naysayers wrong.
Hollywood loves a good musical — emphasis on good. And word on the new screen adaptation of this popular Broadway show is positive enough that the movie should stand a decent shot of earning a nomination. Anne Hathaway is expected to be a formidable “best actress” front runner, too.
These are just a few predictions based on the current cinematic landscape. Of course, when it comes to awards, surprises often occur. To this end it’s possible some of these early front-runners fall by the wayside and other films, such as “Hyde Park on Hudson” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” take their place.
Author Byline: Jenny Winters is a professional blogger for StubTrader, a leading website to buy tickets online. She enjoys writing about entertainment news and how to get deals on Taylor Swift tickets.