Joseph Gallagher assays a selection of films that have been predicted to do well this coming awards season
Argo, malady from Ben Affleck, recipe chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans out of revolutionary Iran by means of a fake movie. The Academy loves actors who direct – Mel Gibson swept the Oscars with Braveheart and Kevin Costner did the same a few years earlier with Dances with Wolves. Roger Ebert opinioned that “Argo will win best picture”, and it is quite likely that this could be the outcome when those golden gongs are given out. Just ask yourself the following question: what could be more pleasing to voters than a movie that not only appeals to audiences and critics alike, but also suggests that Hollywood can, in fact, save the world?
Paul Thomas Anderson, a director who has proven himself to be one of the most exiting talents to have come along in recent years, gives us The Master. There Will Be Blood was one of the best movies of last decade and its status, along with the status of Anderson’s work in general, has risen ever since. It is also exiting to see Joaquin Phoenix’s return to acting as he squares off with the likes of Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams. The story, based loosely on scientology, follows a naval veteran (Phoenix) who returns to a post-war world and is tantalised by a charismatic leader (Hoffman) who ushers his decent into The Cause. Although the movie is one of this year’s most critically acclaimed, it may be not be of the type of bait for which voters usually opt.
Lincoln has had awards buzz ever since it entered the pre-production stage. The movie appears to be as much a recipe for triumph as Abraham Lincoln was himself. The writer behind it all is Tony Kushner, a Pulitzer Prize winner, the director helming it is Steven Spielberg, a three-time Academy Award winner, the man taking the podium as the man himself is none other than Daniel Day-Lewis, a two-time Academy Award winner, the supporting cast features Sally Field, an Academy Award winner, and of course Tommy Lee Jones, who just happens to be, you’ve guessed it, an Academy Award winner. Need I say more?
Silver Linings Playbook comes from David O’ Russell and its success at the Toronto International Film Festival can be compared to The Master’s success at the Venice Film Festival. Where The Master may lack audience-friendly appeal, Silver Linings Playbook makes up for in spades. Despite dealing with the theme of mental health, it is still a dramedy that features instantly recognisable faces: Bradley Cooper; Jennifer Lawrence; Robert De Niro, and Chris Tucker. Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech, both of which won big at Toronto, went onto sweep their respective awards seasons, so one wonders if Silver Linings Playbook will do the same.
The above are just some of the movies that have had screenings recently. We are still awaiting such movies as Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Although it is too early to predict, one can certainly assume that these movies will feature prominently in this coming awards season.