by Cora Quigley
It’s that time of year again! Well, maybe it’s not Oscars season QUITE yet, but let’s have a bit of fun speculating about the possible contenders that have been released thus far this year, shall we? Extensive research (or at least, copious amounts of time browsing Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes, the almighty Google and of course my own perfectly valid opinions) has led me to believe that it has been a bit of a weak year for early Oscar bait. Some films that have stood out for conceivable Best picture nominations include ‘Moonrise Kingdom’, ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’, ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ and perhaps ‘Anna Karenina’ because Oscar loves a good period film, doesn’t he?
‘Moonrise Kingdom’ would be the first Oscar nod For Wes Anderson, and many would say a long awaited one. Its appeal lies in that it is perhaps slightly more accessible than his previous fare, and shows his growth as a director. ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ has been a surprising success both box office wise and also in its almost universal critical acclaim. It’s a very safe contender considering its main themes and subject matter. Just enough ‘white people in a foreign land – with hilarious consequences!’ type ocurrences to keep the academy entertained. ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ is a tricky one. It has yet to be released over this side of the Atlantic, however the buzz it has opened to Stateside is difficult to ignore. The majority of critics seem to have embraced its surrealist poignancy. Its lead actress, 8 year old Quvenzhane Wallis has certainly been seen as being deserving of a best actress nomination. Joe Wright’s adaptation of ‘Anna Karenina’ has been generally well received, although perhaps not to the same extent as the previously mentioned films. Nevertheless, its unique style that embraces the artifice of cinema is what makes this film stand out as a contender.
One film that many fans of the franchise would certainly want to see nominated is ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, especially after ‘The Dark Knight’s snub in 2008. However, it seems unlikely that it will get a nod. Although it was a runaway success and definitely a good film, it was far more cartoonish than the rest of the movies in the Nolan reboot, which perhaps wouldn’t be favoured by those in the Academy. It was definitely a case of less Art-House and more pure comic book action. Also, many would say Nolan’s nomination for 2010’s ‘Inception’ makes up for ‘The Dark Knight’s lack of Oscar recognition in its plethora of nominations including the Best Picture and Best Screenplay categories.
The Best Animated Feature category also looks to be an interesting one this year. With Pixar’s ‘Brave’ being widely seen as falling short in terms of what would be deemed the studio’s best features, it is likely that while it will certainly a receive a nomination, the award will be given to something else. ‘Paranorman’ could be a likely contender; its ghoulish premise and surprising maturity has been compared to 2009’s ‘Coraline’. Japanese animation giant Studio Ghibli’s newest feature ‘From Up on Poppy Hill’ could also be a contender. It hasn’t received an Oscar nod since Hayao Miyazaki’s 2006 fantasy ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’, perhaps 2013 will be its year to shine on the Hollywood awards circuit yet again.
It really seems though, that the majority of films that are likely to be nominated are yet to even be released. With ‘Cloud Atlas’ just having received a standing ovation upon its end at the Toronto Film Festival, it appears to be a shoe in for nominations alongside films like Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘The Master’, Terence Malick, Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained’, Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit’ and Ang Lee’s ‘Life of Pi’. With many possible strong nomination contenders yet to come out, it is difficult to tell which of this year’s releases might be nominated or if even stand a chance.