Oscar Watch: The Walk

Opening today in limited IMAX release is Robert Zemeckis’s The Walk, which recounts the true life tale of French high wire artist Philippe Petit’s adventures walking across the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center over 40 years ago. The pic had its premiere last week at the New York Film Festival and it certainly has its admirers (to the tune of a solid 84% on Rotten Tomatoes). Could it be a factor in the Oscar race?

The answer: doubtful. While reviews have been mostly positive, they haven’t been over the moon and many critics have said the film is only really worth it for a thrilling last forty minutes or so. As the lead, Joseph Gordon Levitt has gotten fine notices but appears to be a long shot in the Best Actor race. It’s worth noting that Gordon Levitt was once seen as a potential double threat for a nod in 2015 until his title performance in Oliver Stone’s Snowden was pushed to 2016. Supporting players Ben Kingsley and James Badge Dale appear unlikely to be factors.

Even with reviewers praising the directorial effort of Zemeckis (who won in 1994 for Forrest Gump), his nomination seems improbable. If the movie itself becomes a runaway hit, it could sneak into Best Picture but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Two areas where The Walk could garner notice is in Visual Effects and Cinematography, yet those races are bound to be crowded as well.

Bottom line: at this time, I wouldn’t list The Walk as much of a threat for Academy attention, but it could always be subject to change.

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