Sunday, July 18, 2010

Trailer Roundup: Oscar Edition

A slew of new trailers for fall films have come out recently, which is exciting in that we're getting our first look at this year's Oscar hopefuls. So, here's a sampling of what's coming our way, and who's likely to hear their name on nomination morning.
Biutiful
This is the new film from Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu, who is best known for Babel, 21 Grams, and Amores Perros, and stars Javier Bardem (who just married Penelope Cruz; how awesome is that!), winner of the Best Actor award at this year's Cannes Film Festival. It looks like an interesting film, even though the trailer doesn't offer much in the way of story, instead choosing to go with a vague, "deep" voice-over narration. It's hard to tell whether the film will be good or not, but it's certainly strikingly shot, and seems to have some sort of supernatural element to it(?). The film is certainly a departure from Gonzalez-Inarritu's usual work: instead of an ensemble piece with a "we're all connected" plot, this appears to center solely on Bardem's character. He's also not working with longtime screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga, instead working from a screenplay he, Armando Bo, and Nicolas Giacobone. The trailer intrigues, though, so I'm looking forward to seeing it.
The Town
I unabashedly loved Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck's 2007 directoral debut; honestly, it was probably the best movie I saw that year, and as much as I love Tilda Swinton, Amy Ryan got robbed of an Oscar that year (and Casey Affleck deserved a nomination for his role too). So I guess it goes without saying that I'm pretty excited about his follow-up: a film about a Bostonian criminal who ends up falling in love with the woman he kidnaps during a bank heist. Yes, it stars Ben Affleck, who's not nearly as talented in front of the camera as he is behind it (leave the acting to Casey), and the plot seems a little routine, but the same could be same of Gone Baby Gone, which had some fantastic twists. Maybe this will too? It's also a veritable who's who of great acting: the wonderful Rebecca Hall seems to be the film's real center, while Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Chris Cooper, and Pete Postlethwaite round out the cast (Blake Lively's in there too). I'll definitely be heading out to see this one.
The Social Network
When I first learned that a Facebook movie was in the works, I had serious doubts. The hiring of David Fincher to direct only furthered those doubts: he's a fantastic talent, but these obvious-Oscar-bait films are not really his style; I feel like he's more in his element doing ultraviolent thrillers like Se7en, Fight Club, and Panic Room. But then Aaron Sorkin came on as writer, and the cast (Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield aka the new Spider-Man, Justin Timberlake) is certainly talented. Then came this trailer: it's got great dramatic tension, intriguing performances, and Fincher's trademark darker tones. And, as a side note, how awesome/spooky is that choral cover of Radiohead's "Creep?" I am officially in love with that song. But moving back to the trailer: it won me over. I'm looking forward to seeing it this October.
As for these films' Oscar chances? Biutiful could find Bardem earning his second Best Actor nomination (his first was for 2000's Before Night Falls; his Oscar-winning turn in No Country for Old Men was for Supporting Actor), but outside of that, only Best Picture seems vaguely possible. The Town could prove to be Hall's breakthrough, but unless it's incredibly good, probably won't earn much other than that. And The Social Network seems good for a Best Picture nod, as well as Best Director for Fincher, a writing nomination for Sorkin (surprisingly, that would be his first), and a handful of technicals. I've heard talk of Timberlake for Supporting Actor, but I kind of doubt that; he'd have to really wow in his role to get voters to notice him and take him seriously as something other than a pop singer trying to be an actor (though the Academy does have a history of nominations for musicians, so who really knows what will happen?).
Do any of these seem interesting to you? Discuss.

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