Monday, August 4, 2014

2014 Oscar Preview: November Releases

With September and October in the books, friend and co-writer Greg Rouleau (Reel True) dissects the most Oscar-worthy titles coming to the big screen in November. And if all goes according to plan, November could give us plenty of films to be thankful for.


Release Date: November 7th, 2014

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain

The Scoop: The latest trailer for Christopher Nolan’s latest feature finally revealed some of the spectacle behind the sci-fi blockbuster, as well as a touching look at the emotion behind the plot which, at its core, is a story of a father and daughter.  Matthew McConaughey - who could take home an Emmy in the same year in which he won an Oscar, by the time Interstellar hits theaters – leads this fine ensemble.  Some technical nominations should be a given, but the big question is whether or not it’ll get Nolan that elusive first Best Director nomination.  If reception is strong, it could be a big player in the top categories.

Potential Nominations: Best Picture and Director are possibilities, along with Cinematography, Score, Visual Effects and Sound


Release Date: November 7th, 2014

Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal

The Scoop: Little is known about Rosewater at this time, other than Jon Stewart was moved enough by the story to take a hiatus from his duties behind the desk at the Daily Show last summer in order to direct the political thriller.  The only available description of the plot states it’s about a journalist who is detained and tortured in an Iranian prison for 100 days.  It’ll be very interesting to see how the typically comedic Stewart handles such a serious subject matter.  Gael Garcia Bernal tackles the starring role of the journalist, and Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo is also on board.  The film will debut at the Toronto Film Festival this September with a November release date for the US. 

Potential Nominations: If the dramatics are just right, Best Picture and Director have an outside chance of being in the cards.


Release Date: November 14th, 2014

Starring: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo

The Scoop: The long-awaited third feature from Bennett Miller will finally hit US theaters in November after being pushed out of the 2013 calendar to allow Miller time to perfect the final product.  It debuted at Cannes earlier this year, where it received rave reviews as well as the Best Director prize.   Early word has it pegged as a showcase for some revelatory performances including typical funnyman, Steve Carell, playing the dark, twisted Jon du Pont, and superstar on the rise, Channing Tatum, who could make everyone a believer - if he hasn’t yet, with his dedicated turn as Mark Schultz.

Potential Nominations: It's reasonable to expect nods in the Best Picture, Director, Actor (Carell and Tatum), Supporting Actor (Ruffalo), Screenplay and even Editing

The Imitation Game

Release Date: November 21st, 2014

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley

The Scoop: Biopics can be a tricky game.  While a subject may seem fascinating on paper, it doesn’t always translate to the big screen.  Take for instance, last year’s The Fifth Estate, which was DOA after some early negative critical reception.  The star of that film, Benedict Cumberbatch, returns to the biography genre again this year in The Imitation Game, which chronicles the life of British mathematician and codebreaker, Alan Turing during World War II. 

Potential Nominations: While I reserve some skepticism, Best Picture and Director are within question and the most possible recognition will be for Cumberbatch (Best Actor). Knightley also has an outside chance in the Supporting Actress race


Release Date: November 14th, 2014

Starring: Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman and Shia LaBeouf

The Scoop: It seems World War II is a popular setting for the fall movie season.  One of the major war films to keep an eye on is David Ayer’s Fury.  Brad Pitt plays Wardaddy, the leader of a young crew, which includes Shia LaBeouf and Logan Lerman, that he must lead behind enemy lines with their Sherman Tank, Fury.  Ayer, the director of End of Watch, has displayed a deft hand at directing action and violence and he could find himself as a dark horse in the Best Director category.  Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman look to be the ones in the conversation for acting nominations. 

Potential Nominations: Fury appears to hold a strong chance in the Best Picture, Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing and Sound categories, while the acting races are a more distant possibility. 

A Most Violent Year

Release Date: November 18th, 2014

Starring: Oscar Issac, Jessica Chastain and David Oyelowo

The Scoop: JC Chandor is certainly a director to keep an eye on.  His first feature, Margin Call, earned him an original screenplay Oscar nomination and his sophomore effort, All is Lost, received rave reviews, despite only earning one sound Oscar nomination.  The one-man show with Robert Redford proved that Chandor has some serious skill behind the camera and for his next project he’s lined up some impressive talent once again.  Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain star as an immigrant couple attempting to navigate the chaotic world of 1981 New York City, which is statistically one of the most violent years on record.  There’s a chance the film could be pushed back to 2015, however, as there’s still been no trailer or press releases yet.  With Telluride and the AFI festival still looming it could possibly snag a spot at one of those, but if not, we can definitely put this in the Oscar contenders for next year.

Potential Nominations: The film has a chance in almost every major category if it makes it out in 2014. Best Picture, Director, Actor (Issac), Supporting Actress (Chastain) and Original Screenplay seem feasible

*** Stay tuned tomorrow for a look at December's potential Oscar releases

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