This year’s Best Original Screenplay category features a wide variety of previous Oscar experience. A handful of the writers nominated will be attending the Academy Awards for the first time, while others will be making repeat appearances. The most experienced writers nominated are the Coen brothers, who received their 14th nomination as a duo for Bridge of Spies. The following is my Oscars ballot for this category, Best Original Screenplay:
WINNER: Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
Alex Garland has never previously been nominated in any screenwriting categories at the Academy Awards.
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (Spotlight)
Tom McCarthy, also the director of Spotlight, was previously nominated for Best Original Screenplay for his work on Pixar’s Up (2009). Josh Singer has never previously been nominated in any screenwriting categories at the Academy Awards.
Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge, and Alan Wenkus (Straight Outta Compton)
None of the Straight Outta Compton writers have previously been nominated for an Academy Award in any screenwriting category.
Matt Charman, Joel Coen, and Ethan Coen (Bridge of Spies)
Joel and Ethan Coen have each been nominated for 13 Academy Awards (26 total), five of which were in writing categories. The Coen brothers have been nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category twice, winning for Fargo (1996). Additionally, they have been nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category three times, winning for No Country for Old Men (2007). Matt Charman has never previously been nominated for an Oscar in any screenwriting category.
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, and Ronnie del Carmen (Inside Out)
Pete Docter has previously been nominated for five Academy Awards, three of which were for Best Original Screenplay (Toy Story (1995), WALL-E (2008), and Up (2009)). None of the other three writers for Inside Out have previously been nominated for an Oscar in a screenwriting category.
Hey movie fans! I hope everyone enjoyed the introductory post to my Fall Preview 2013 a couple days ago, which included five honorable mention films set to debut in theaters in the next few months. Today’s post reveals films No. 10 through No. 6 on my list of Top 10 most anticipated movies coming out during the fall season. This batch includes some surefire, award-quality works of cinema, and if you are looking for a great movie to go see in theaters in the next few months, this post will give you some top-notch options.
No. 10 – Prisoners
Prisoners is a film about two girls that go missing and follows a detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) and a desperate father (Hugh Jackman) as they work to track both girls down. Even though the trailer presents the film as a thriller following two families trying to track down their daughters, Gyllenhaal says it is much more than meets the eye: “What’s different about this story is the idea that revenge just begets more revenge and you become a prisoner of that need to seek revenge.” The trailer initially caught my eye with its dark, menacing demeanor, and not only was I captivated with the idea in general, I was even more fascinated with Paul Dano’s role. He has long been a fantastic character actor, and I expect nothing but a superb supporting performance in this film from the twenty-nine-year-old star. Prisoners is set for a theatrical release on September 20, 2013.
Director: Denis Villeneuve (Incendies)
Starring: Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables, Wolverine), Jake Gyllenhaal (Brothers, End of Watch), Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood), Terrence Howard (Crash, Hustle & Flow)
No. 9 – Rush
Rush tells the true story of Formula One rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda. At the 1976 German Grand Prix, Lauda (Daniel Brühl) was involved in a disastrous crash that nearly took his life. The film follows his comeback and relationship with Hunt (Chris Hemsworth). I am always a sucker for a quality sports-themed movie, and I have been aware of Rush for quite some time. Not only is the story emotional and uplifting, but the film also features two exceptional actors playing these infamous lead roles. Over the past couple of years, I have become a huge fan of Hemsworth’s acting abilities, highlighted in Thor, The Avengers, and The Cabin in the Woods. I also expect big things in this film from Daniel Brühl, whose breakout performance was in my favorite film of all time, 2009’s Inglourious Basterds. Lastly, the film features a supporting performance by one of my favorite actresses in cinema, Alexandra Maria Lara. Needless to say, this movie has everything going for it, and I anticipate moviegoers everywhere to “rush” to the theater to see it (pun clearly intended). Rush is set for a theatrical release on September 13, 2013.
Director: Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon)
Starring: Chris Hemsworth (Thor, The Cabin in the Woods), Daniel Brühl (Inglourious Basterds), Olivia Wilde (The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Drinking Buddies), Alexandra Maria Lara (Downfall, L’affaire Farewell)
No. 8 – Her
Her is a film about an introverted writer named Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) who is dealing with the end of a long relationship. He decides to buy a new computer operating system named Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), and through their conversations, Theodore begins to fall in love with “Samantha.” The first time I saw this trailer, I thought, “wow, what an odd premise.” But the more I watched it, the more engrossed I became with the subject matter. Half of my intrigue dealt directly with this unique plot, but the other half came from the people involved with the film. No matter how odd he may be as a human being, Joaquin Phoenix is still one of the single most talented actors working in Hollywood, and his involvement with the film foreshadows an excess of award praise for the movie. I am also looking to this movie to put Spike Jonze, the director, back on the cinematic map. He has had success directing on the silver screen in the past, with movies like Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, but his 2009 live-action adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are was clearly less than spectacular in my book. I am hoping Her revitalizes my enjoyment of Jonze’s films. Her is set for a theatrical release on December 18, 2013.
Director: Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Where the Wild Things Are)
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line, The Master), Amy Adams (The Master, American Hustle), Scarlett Johansson (Hitchcock, Don Jon)
No. 7 – Out of the Furnace
Out of the Furnace is a film that follows an ex-convict (Christian Bale) as he seeks revenge on a crime boss (Woody Harrelson) that he suspects has something to do with the disappearance of his missing brother (Casey Affleck). Obviously, with a couple of the heavy hitters of Hollywood in this film, specifically the always-remarkable Christian Bale, it will definitely be one to look out for come Oscar season; however, I am most eager for the film because of the director, Scott Cooper. Cooper has only directed a single feature film before Out of the Furnace: the 2009 drama Crazy Heart, which earned Jeff Bridges the Academy Award for Best Actor. I immediately fell in love with Crazy Heart after seeing it for the first time, and I have been eagerly awaiting Cooper’s next film for four years. Luckily, he has come back strong with a motion picture that is already receiving a fair amount of Oscar buzz, and I cannot wait to see how his second go-round pans out. Out of the Furnace is set for a wide theatrical release on December 6, 2013.
Director: Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart)
Starring: Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises, American Hustle), Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints), Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games, Now You See Me)
No. 6 – Inside Llewyn Davis
Inside Llewyn Davis is a film about an anti-social musician (Oscar Isaac) and the struggles he faces as he tries to salvage any success in his personal and professional lives. The newest Coen Brothers film does not quite look like any other that they have created before, but my devotion to their work is unrelenting, and I believe this film will captivate not only myself, but also all movie fans alike. For Mumford & Sons fans, this movie will be right up your alley—Marcus Mumford and Academy Award-winner T-Bone Burnett produced the folk-style music incorporated throughout the film. Some gifted young performers appear in the film in addition to Isaac, including Mr. “Suit and Tie” himself, Justin Timberlake, and Carey Mulligan, one of the most popular and talented young actresses in the business today (not to mention she’s Marcus Mumford’s wife). The film debuted at Cannes earlier this year, winning the second-most prestigious award available, the Grand Prix, and it was met with rave reviews—based on 23 critics reviews, the film has already garnered a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. With this film, expect the same amazing product the Coen Brothers have been handing out for many years, including just the precise balance of emotion and their classic satirical humor. Inside Llewyn Davis is set for a theatrical release on December 6, 2013.
Director: Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men, True Grit)
Starring: Oscar Isaac (Drive, The Bourne Legacy), Carey Mulligan (Drive, The Great Gatsby), John Goodman (Argo, Flight), Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy, Country Strong), Justin Timberlake (Trouble with the Curve, Runner, Runner)