The nation of Ireland has a brief and unremarkable history in the International Feature Film competition at the Academy Awards. Beginning in 2007, they’ve submitted 8 features for consideration in the foreign race. Only one (2015’s Viva) made the shortlist and it did not make the final five.
In 2022, the Irish could finally get lucky with The Quiet Girl. The directorial debut from Colm Bairéad received raves after its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year. That acclaim has continued as it has played other European fests. The drama set in the early 80s stars Carrie Crowley, Andrew Bennett, Catherine Clinch, and Michael Patric.
There’s a bunch of viable hopefuls in IFF this year. Decision to Leave and All Quiet on the Western Front seem to be the favorites and there’s easily 10-12 others looking to fill three slots.
Ireland may not have the track record, but there’s a first time for everything and The Quiet Girl is capable of making a little noise with the right campaign. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
Ukraine has submitted 14 pictures for consideration in the International Feature Film competition at the Oscars since 1997. None have ended up making the final five in the race. Maryna Er Gorbach’s Klondike hopes to change that dynamic.
The war drama is set in 2014 and centers on the nation’s conflict with Russia. Obviously that subject matter is more prevalent than ever. Today’s headlines could contribute to Klondike being a high profile selection to join the quintet of IFF nominees.
It’s important to note that its inclusion wouldn’t just be a nod to current events. Gorbach’s fourth overall feature debuted at Sundance where she won the prize in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition. At the Berlin Film Festival, it came in second for the audience award. The Rotten Tomatoes meter is 95%. I’ve had Klondike ranked 8th for the past couple of weeks in my possibilities, but it could rise if voters turn their focus to it a couple of months from now. Perhaps the 15th time will be the charm. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
Alcarras is the sophomore directorial from Carla Simon and the Spanish family drama topped The Beasts and Lullaby to become the nation’s submission for Best International Feature Film at the Oscars. It debuted earlier this year at the Berlin Film Festival where it won the Golden Bear (the fest’s highest honor). Simon’s 2017 debut Summer of 1993 was also Spain’s selection for the Academy to consider, but it didn’t end up making the final five.
Could Alcarras? With an 88% Rotten Tomatoes rating and the hardware from Germany, it’s possible. Yet it faces hurdles. While the bulk of reviews are recommendations, some of them aren’t raves. Pics such as All Quiet on the Western Front, Decision to Leave, and Close are likely nominees for IFF so there’s not many slots to go around.
Spain has seen two movies in the 21st century contend for the foreign derby: 2004’s The Sea Inside (which won) and 2019’s Pain and Glory. It’s feasible that Alcarras could be the third though I have it on the outside looking in currently. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
After premiering at the Berlin Film Festival to solid reviews, crime drama The Outfit hits approximately 1200 screens on March 18th. Graham Moore, Oscar winner for penning the screenplay for The Imitation Game, makes his directorial debut. The cast is led by Mark Rylance with Zoey Deutch, Dylan O’Brien, Johnny Flynn, and Simon Russell Beale in the supporting cast.
While critical reaction is pleasing (92% on Rotten Tomatoes), the lack of star power and fairly low theater count makes me skeptical that this breaks through to domestic crowds.
I don’t believe this will average even $1,000 per location. If it fits in the $800-$900 range, it may manage to clear $1 million. I’m not even confident about that, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.
Graham Moore is an Oscar winner in Adapted Screenplay for 2014’s The Imitation Game. One year later, Mark Rylance scored an upset Supporting Actor victory for Bridge of Spies. Moore makes his directorial debut for the 1950s set crime pic The Outfit in which Rylance stars as a tailor serving dangerous types. The supporting cast includes Zoey Deutch, Dylan O’Brien, and Johnny Flynn.
The pic debuted at the Berlin Film Festival last weekend and is slated for theaters next month. Reviews from Germany are positive if not gushing and it holds a 91% score on Rotten Tomatoes. So is The Outfit suited for awards attention?
Probably not. However, Rylance is drawing some raves and there’s kudos for tech aspects such as production design. And I suppose any movie about a tailor (The Outfit‘s running time takes place in one setting) could be a hopeful for costume design. It’s also worth noting that Alexandre Desplat (who’s received 11 nominations and won 2) did the score.
I find it unlikely that voters will recall The Outfit later this year, but perhaps Focus Features will set their sights on a campaign. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
French director Celine Sciamma’s 2019 historical romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire turned plenty of heads upon its release. Its accolades included the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and a nod for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes.
Her follow-up is the family drama Petite Maman, which premiered this spring in Berlin and was released overseas in the summer. Reviews for the feature are mostly glowing and it stands at 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.
If France selects Maman for representation in International Feature Film, it could achieve something that Portrait did not – a nomination in that category. Two years ago, the French chose to go with Les Miserables instead and it did make the final cut (losing to juggernaut Parasite).
A nod is certainly feasible, though this race has plenty of major contenders including A Hero, Flee, The Worst Person in the World, and The Hand of God. Whether there’s room for Sciamma’s latest is certainly a question mark at the moment. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2022 will continue…
Michael Caine, the legendary 88-year-old Brit, has had a unique Oscar history. He’s 2 for 2 with victories when nominated for Supporting Actor (1986’s Hannah and Her Sisters, 1999’s The Cider House Rules). Yet Caine is 0 for 4 when up for Best Actor (1966’s Alfie, 1972’s Sleuth, 1983’s Educating Rita, 2002’s The Quiet American).
This weekend, his dramedy Best Sellers is out via streaming services. It casts him as a cantankerous author adapting to the industry in the 21st century. Lina Roessler directs with a supporting cast including Aubrey Plaza, Scott Speedman, and Cary Elwes.
While Caine is receiving solid notices for his performance, the picture itself is garnering mixed takes. The Rotten Tomatoes meter stands at 61%. Due to this, it’s a safe bet that the star won’t be contending for a 7th nod with the Academy. I suppose the Golden Globes (if they happen this year) are a slight possibility in the Musical/Comedy race, but that could also be a crowded field due to a high number of genre selections in the former. My Oscar Predictions posts for the films of 2021 will continue…
After first premiering at the Berlin Film Festival over three years ago, Focus Features is releasing Profile on May 14. The thriller comes from Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov and features Valene Kane as a journalist who goes undercover online and becomes entangled with ISIS. Based on a non-fiction novel, the film costars Shazad Latif and Christine Adams.
The reviews from Europe back in 2018 gave Profile a so-so 60% Rotten Tomatoes score. Somewhat surprisingly, the estimated screen count is a hefty 2000 for this low-budget pic made for a reported $2.3 million. I’m not sure domestic audiences are much aware of its existence and there’s competition next weekend with horror titles Spiral and Army of the Dead and the Angelina Jolie led thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead.
Profile may be lucky to earn half of its puny price tag back out of the gate.
Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow debuted at the Telluride Film Festival in August of 2019 to very solid reviews before moving to the Berlin Film Festival. The 19th century set drama taking place in the Oregon Territory stands at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and represents another critical darling from the indie director.
After a limited and abbreviated theatrical run in March that was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Cow is now available for streaming today. Being that it’s one of the most acclaimed releases so far in 2020, I wouldn’t be surprised if distributor A24 makes an awards play for it.
That could be a tall order. Reichardt’s previous effort Certain Women with Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart also nabbed kudos from the critical community, but was ignored by Oscar voters. Her latest could easily see the same result, but with the uncertainty of the year’s calendar – a play for for Picture or Adapted Screenplay is at least feasible. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
Pixar Studios is booking box office real estate early in 2020 with the release of next weekend’s Onward, which had its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival. The animated adventure follows two elf brothers voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt. Early reviews have been mostly positive with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 81%.
That said, many critics are saying that it’s not in the same league as other Pixar classics. And several of them have managed to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. So where will Onward stack up?
Since the inception of the category in 2001, Pixar has seen 13 of its 18 titles nominated for the award. 10 have emerged victorious, including Toy Story 4 two weeks ago. There have been two years where the studio has put out more than one feature. In 2015, Inside Out took the Oscar while The Good Dinosaur went without a nomination. The same happened in 2017 with Coco winning and Cars 3 missing a nod.
I say this because 2020 will also see a double release with Onward next weekend and Soul in June. It’s certainly possible that Pixar will save its awards campaigning for the latter instead. However, reviews for the former are decent enough that it could nab a slot among the five (depending on competition over the next ten months). Also worth mentioning is that Dan Scanlon, who directs here, made one of the other titles to go without a nomination with 2013’s Monsters University. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…