Oscar Predictions: Mr. Malcolm’s List

Adapting her own 2009 novel, Suzanne Allain scripts the period piece dramedy Mr. Malcolm’s List. Out July 1st and apparently borrowing influence from Jane Austen, Emma Holly Jones makes her directorial debut. The cast includes Freida Pinto (from 2008’s Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire), Sope Dirisu, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Ashley Park, Zawe Ashton, and Theo James.

Early reviews are decent at 89% on Rotten Tomatoes with the bulk calling it a pleasant diversion. That’s hardly enough for it to contend for any major awards prizes. Furthermore, distributor Bleecker Street has a sketchy track record getting their films noticed (ask the ensemble from Mass last year).

There’s always the possibility of Costume Design, but I suspect heavier hitters are arriving in the fall. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: What They Had

A week from today, Bleecker Street releases What They Had in limited fashion. The film marks the directorial debut of Elizabeth Chomko (who also wrote the script) and centers on a family dealing with a mother diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It premiered at Sundance back in January and features a cast including Hilary Swank (two-time winner for Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby), Michael Shannon, Blythe Danner, Robert Forster, Taissa Farmiga, and Josh Lucas.

Early reviews have been positive and it stands at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. That said, critical reaction likely isn’t strong enough to make this a player in Best Picture. What They Had could struggle generally to get noticed at all. Its best chances aren’t with Swank or Shannon, but with Danner and Forster. For them to get noticed, the picture will need to at least break through with audiences to a certain degree. That could be a tall order in the midst of more high-profile contenders.

Bottom line: while this is generating solid reviews, Had is a long shot for Academy attention. My Oscar watch posts will continue…