“…they pull me back in.” That’s right folks. It has now been nearly nine months since my last official post on The Edge of the Frame and I am severely out of practice. The close of last year’s Oscar season ironically coincided with my being hired into full time employment. Spending nine hours a day composing upwards of seventy-five emails and compiling online data have made coming home and getting behind a computer screen a not-so-welcoming scenario. A couple of hours of “The X-Files” on Netflix or “The Sopranos” on DVD have become a much more viable way to close out an evening. All of this partnered with a summer of fantasy baseball and my engagement to the woman I love have left comparably little time for my beloved little website.
However, as it turns out, old habits die hard. I’ve been watching the Oscars religiously for fifteen years and been dipping my toe into prognostication for the last seven. There’s no way I can sit this one out. There’s a lot of work to be done. Working full time has more or less hindered my rate of viewing new releases. I’ve got a schedule of about 36 films to see, both on Netflix and in theaters, over the next three months. However, with the first of the critics’ awards just around the corner, things are about to get very busy. Even before everything is seen and done, it’s about time that I offer a bit of perspective on how this year’s race is going to play out.
Some of the year’s biggest contenders have retained their position at the head of the race (“Les Miserables,” “Lincoln,”), practically since they were originally announced. Others have taken a hefty fall from grace (“The Master,” “The Dark Knight Rises”). A few projects have sprung up from out of the blue to become bonafide Best Picture threats (“The Silver Linings Playbook,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,”), while a couple that have barely been seen at all remain a mystery to many (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “Django Unchained”).
However, it’s never too early (or too late, in my case) to start putting the pieces together and assembling a picture of how the board will look almost exactly three months to the date. Listed below are my predictions for the 85th Annual Academy Award nominations. They’re ranked by the chances of each film (or individual) getting nominated. Winning does not come into play here. As complicated as it is, sometimes a person could have a lot easier a path getting nominated for an Oscar, then they ever would of winning. Ask Peter O’Toole if you need more info…
Enjoy, and remember that this whole chalkboard might be completely erased and scribbled down again, a month from now:
3. “Les Miserables”
4. “Silver Linings Playbook”
5. “Zero Dark Thirty”
6. “The Master”
7. “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
8. “Moonrise Kingdom”
9. “Life of Pi”
10. “The Sessions”
Alt 1: “Django Unchained”
Alt 2: “Amour”
Alt 3: “Flight”
Yesterday, I got a shaky, poor-quality glimpse of the bootleg “Dark Knight Rises” teaser, said to be officially premiered tonight at midnight. Didn’t think this week could get much more exciting. I was wrong.
This has definitely been a film that’s been high on my must-see radar of 2011 for quite some time. Steven Soderbergh teaming with Matt Damon is always a treat (this is their fifth collaboration). However, it certainly doesn’t hurt to also bill Gwyneth Paltrow, Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, John Hawkes and Kate Winslet. It’s not much of a stretch to call that the best cast of the year, what with 14 nominations and 4 Oscar wins between them, already.
The trailer screams one word more than anything else, and it’s all I could have ever hoped for: DARK. Many pieces of entertainment featuring lethal outbreaks and deadly diseases have come about over the years, Wolfgang Petersen’s film “Outbreak” and Tom Clancy’s novel “Rainbow Six” being the most prominent. What all of those works seem to portray is what MIGHT happen in the case of a deadly virus unleashed upon the world’s population. Instead of following that same formula, “Contagion” seems to portray instead what DOES, or what WILL happen in that case scenario. And in the hands of such a capable director, one who is known for taking a no-holds-barred approach to tense subject matter, this film might not only be genuinely frightening, but also brilliant, as both a white-knuckle thriller and a touching human tragedy.
This having been shot in Chicago, I know a number of people who worked on it. Through them, I’ve been privy to a few scenes that definitely back up some of the themes I just foreshadowed. However, I really hate to spoil anything at all, so I’ll just keep them to myself. I am a little miffed that they’ve pushed up the release from October to September. Having only finished shooting in the last month, I’m surprised they’re so confident in such a quick release. Also, September has become known as a no-man’s land for studios to dump films that get left over from summer’s slate, yet are not quite so confidence-inspiring to warrant a fall/holiday push. I hope that “Contagion” has not been lumped into said category.
Anyway, check out the fantastic trailer in full HD quality, below.