Sunday, March 13, 2016

Richard Linklater and Jeff Nichols Hit SXSW with 2017 Oscar Potentials

Two new films with awards potential appeared at SXSW this week. First is Richard Linklater in his first post-Boyhood project, Everybody Wants Some. Linklater returns to his comedy roots here, with a film that is being hailed as a perfect partner with his 90's classic Dazed and Confused. So far the reviews have been great, and the film looks like a perfect blend of comedy and humanity. I know that we shouldn't look at everything through an Oscar lens, but after Boyhood's Oscar success, Linklater's work will now be inevitably always now be apart of that conversation. Let's first say that Linklater's comedies never struck a chord with Oscar voters, compared to his Oscar nominations for the Before series and Boyhood. But now that he is fully on the radar, I wonder if now the Academy will look at his comedies in a different light. As we know, comedies don't play well with Oscar voters, but they do sometimes nominate them for major categories. Being an early release doesn't help either, but if Everybody Wants Some is as good as it looks, here's to hoping it has a great 2016.

The other major release probably has no shot at Oscar potential, but will at least spark the interest of true film lovers. Jeff Nichols is on a role with Take Shelter and Mud, two brilliant indies that deserved more attention they they unfortunately got. This time he turns his view to science fiction, in a film that has premiered to great reviews. Nichols looks to return to his Take Shelter roots, of a tightly wound thriller that keeps you guessing to the end. Indie Spirit voters will once again eat this up, and after the success of Ex Machina, I'm hoping that a smart, indie sci-fi thriller can once again grab some attention.

Both of these films will open soon, and we will find out their fate soon enough. But as the 2015 Oscar season fades from memory, the 2016 Oscar race is upon us. Even if these films don't make a mark, at least a new conversation, a new narrative has started to tell its story.

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