Tee it up | The Moviegoer

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Tee it up

Posted By on Sat, Sep 30, 2006 at 12:05 PM

Oscar talk is in full swing.  And why not?  The Toronto International Film Festival is over and critics have had the opportunity to view almost every film in contention with the exception of Dreamgirls and Flags of Our Fathers.  These two films seem to be frontrunners for the Oscar.  Why?  Bill Condon was the writer of Chicago and he brings together a very accomplished cast (Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Beyonce Knowles and Jennifer Hudson).  20 minutes of this film was shown at one of the early festivals and critics were very impressed.  Flags of Our Fathers has all the makings of Oscar gold.  Clint Eastwood, Paul Haggis and the story behind the men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima (it's an adaptation of the James Bradley book of the same name).

The other film that seems to have a lock on a Best Picture nomination is Babel, the latest collaboration by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Guillermo Arriaga (Amores Perros, 21 Grams).  21 Grams was one of the best films of 2003 and I have every reason to believe Babel will be just as good, if not better.  After that, it's wide open.

I'm sentimental about The Departed because I think Scorsese is an exceptional filmmaker.  Internet buzz and early reviews are out of this world.  Little Children, the latest from Todd Field (In the Bedroom) and starring Oscar darling Kate Winslet, should make it in.  I did not read the book, but following the buzz on the web, it looks fantastic.  Whether Little Children actually does all seems to depend on how much momentum other films have heading into the holidays. 

There is intense buzz for Stephen Frears' The Queen and Helen Mirren is a lock for Best Actress.  The Queen feels to me a lot like Vera Drake did a few years ago, but Helen Mirren seems to have the gravitas to withstand the intense Oscar publicity race.

Steven Soderberg's The Good German with George Clooney, Kevin Macdonald's The Last King of Scotland with Forest Whitaker, Robert DeNiro's The Good Shepard with Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie, Volver, Pedro Almodovar's film that's currently leading the pack of best foreign films are all in the mix.  Bobby, The History Boys and one of the 9-11 films, either World Trade Center or United 93 all have an outside shot it seems.

Little Miss Sunshine should win a slew of critics awards as well as a Golden Globe nomination if the HFPA sees it as a comedy.  That will keep it alive for Best Picture.

Everyone seems to be formulating their early Oscar picks and I've posted most of them here.  You can track them on some other sites, Oscarwatch.com, Incontention.com, and some of the major publications, USA Today's Oscar Oracle for example.

If you want to track the awards race, here's another good site

I throw out my predictions later on in the year when I've actually had a chance to see some of these films.  Until then, I'll pass along what others are saying. 

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