Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Oscar Narrative: November Predictions - Foreign Language/Animated Feature/Documentary Feature

November Predictions - Best Animated Feature Film
Big Hero 6
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Lego Movie
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Other Contenders - The Book of Life, The Boxtrolls, The Penguins of Madagascar, Rocks in My Pockets, Rio 2, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Postman Pat: The Movie

Commentary - Big Hero 6 landed squarely in the Oscar race, with great reviews, and a great opening and second box office weekend. That being said, it may not be able to unseat the two early favorites, which honestly look like they will have more critical support going into the race, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The Lego Movie. Either way, three big, well-received studio flicks will make for an interesting race. But we should also not forget GKids, who may not have been able to unseat one of the big studios yet, but continues to make an incredible impact on the Oscar race. So far, we know that The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a huge critical hit, and animators in the nomination stage will eat it up. But there is still that last slot that could be tricky. The Book of Life and The Boxtrolls have landed well, but neither has been a big enough hit to have a guaranteed spot. Early contenders Mr. Peabody and Sherman and Rio 2, as well as the upcoming Penguins of Madagascar, are all outside possibilities. But I am going with the other major GKids contender Song of the Sea. They have proven before they can get one more in, and I think they will do it again.

November Predictions - Best Foreign Language Film
Force Majeure (Sweden)
Ida (Poland)
Leviathan (Russia)
Mommy (Canada)
Winter Sleep (Turkey)

Other Contenders - Wild Tales (Argentina), Two Days, One Night (Belgium), Timbuktu (Mauritania), White God (Hungary), Beloved Sisters (Germany), The Liberator (Venezuela), The Dark Valley (Austria), Living is Easy With Eyes Closed (Spain), A Few Cubic Meters of Love (Afghanistan), 1001 Grams (Norway), The Japanese Dog (Romania), The Way He Looks (Brazil), Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Israel), Invasion (Panama)

Commentary - This is always a tricky category. There are so many contenders, and not that many precursors of significance to help us sort it out. So a lot of my guesses are based on reviews out of film festivals at this point, which could significantly change as the critics weigh it (although in terms of Oscar, they can sometimes be way off). We know with the European Film Award nominations that Ida (which I recently saw) and Force Majeure are going to be the European favorites this year. I think Ida is the clear front runner at this point, as it has the most press, has already been released on DVD, and has a story line that goes back to WWII and the Holocaust, a subject voters eat up in this category. Beyond that I really don't know. From Canada Mommy hit well at the fall festivals, but could have a subject matter that is out of the scope of Academy voters, and Leviathan and Winter Sleep have had decent runs so far. But films like Wild Tales, Timbuktu, and Two Days, One Night, with Oscar winner Marion Cotillard are sure to grab some voters. And honestly, that's it. I know that I am probably only going to get 2 or 3 of these right when it comes down to the final five, and I will be waiting and not placing too much hope on my predictions, until the surprise hits us Oscar nomination morning.

November Predictions - Best Documentary Feature
I will come back to this category once the finalists are announced, because if last year is any indication, early predictions would be futile. Check back soon!!

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