Sunday, January 17, 2010

Awards Season Watch List

All of the major press awards have pretty much come and gone, now it's time for the various guild and organizational trophies to be handed out, from the Screen Actors Guild Awards (on Jan. 23) to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Oscars (on March 7). Judging from the winners of the various critics' awards and the nominations that have been announced so far for the rest, these are the top 25 films you need to see to be prepped for awards season.

1. The Hurt Locker
Major Categories: In short, most of them. Kathryn Bigelow has pretty much swept the Best Director category throughout the critics' awards. The film itself has also been sweeping up quite a few Best Picture wins. Jeremy Renner is also in contention for Best Actor, as is Mark Boal for Best Original Screenplay.
Availability: On DVD and Blu-Ray

2. Avatar
Major Categories: This is also in contention for a pretty large percentage of the awards, most notably the technical awards (Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, etc.) but also Best Picture and Best Director James Cameron.
Availability: In Theaters Nationwide

3. Inglourious Basterds
Major Categories: Again, most of them. Christoph Waltz is pretty much a lock to win Best Supporting Actor. So is Quentin Tarantino for Best Original Screenplay, although he faces some competition from the Coen brothers' A Serious Man. Its chances at winning Best Picture are also fairly good, although I think The Hurt Locker, Avatar and Up in the Air might have better chances.
Availability: On DVD and Blu-Ray

4. Up in the Air
Major Categories: This is also a favorite in quite a few categories. Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner are pretty much locked in as the front-runners for the Best Adapted Screenplay race. The film has a chance of winning Best Picture, as does George Clooney for Best Actor.
Availability: In Theaters Nationwide

5. Precious
Major Categories: Mo'Nique is a lock to win Best Supporting Actress. The film as Best Picture and Gabourey Sidibe as Best Actress both have a chance at winning, but I doubt it will actually happen.
Availability: In Theaters Nationwide

6. An Education
Major Categories: Carey Mulligan has won quite a few Best Actress awards for this, but Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock are stealing her thunder. Other than that, the film has a chance at Best Picture as does Alfred Molina for Best Supporting Actor.
Availability: Waning Theatrical Release (This means the movie's still in some theaters, but will likely disappear in the next week or two.)

7. Up
Major Categories: The film is pretty much a lock for Best Animated Feature, continuing Pixar's string of wins. Michael Giacchino has a pretty good shot at Best Score, while the film has a smaller chance at Best Picture, as do Pete Docter and Bob Peterson for Best Original Screenplay.
Availability: On DVD and Blu-Ray

8. Crazy Heart
Major Categories: Jeff Bridges is the front-runner for Best Actor, although he does face some competition from George Clooney and Colin Firth. "The Weary Kind" is also a front-runner for Best Song.
Availability: In Limited Theatrical Release; Expands Nationwide on Jan. 22

9. The White Ribbon
Major Categories: The film is the front-runner for Best Foreign Film, especially after winning the Palm d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival last year. Christian Berger has also been gaining momentum for Best Cinematography.
Availability: In Limited Theatrical Release

10. The Cove
Major Categories: This is the front-runner in this year's Best Documentary race.
Availability: On DVD

11. A Serious Man
Major Categories: Joel and Ethan Coen are strong contenders in the Best Original Screenplay race, going up against Quentin Tarantino. Michael Stuhlbarg also has a small chance for Best Actor.
Availability: On DVD and Blu-Ray Feb. 9

12. Fantastic Mr. Fox
Major Categories: If the Pixar reign in the Best Animated Feature category is stopped, this will be the film to do it. Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach also have a small shot at Best Adapted Screenplay.
Availability: Waning Theatrical Release

13. Julie & Julia
Major Categories: Meryl Streep is neck-and-neck with Carey Mulligan and Sandra Bullock as the front-runner for Best Actress.
Availability: On DVD and Blu-Ray

14. District 9
Major Categories: The film is a front-runner in the Best Makeup category. It also has smaller chances at Best Adapted Screenplay (for Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell) and Best Visual Effects.
Availability: On DVD and Blu-Ray

15. The Young Victoria
Major Categories: Sandy Powell is doing fairly well in the Best Costumes race; Emily Blunt has a small shot at Best Actress.
Availability: In Theaters Nationwide

16. A Single Man
Major Categories: Colin Firth's performance won him acclaim at film festivals last year, making him give Jeff Bridges and George Clooney a run for their money for Best Actor. Tom Ford and David Scearce also have a small chance at Best Adapted Screenplay.
Availability: In Theaters Nationwide

17. The Messenger
Major Categories: Woody Harrelson's Best Supporting Actor chances put him just behind Christoph Waltz. Ben Foster (Best Actor) and Samantha Morton (Best Supporting Actress) also have small shots.
Availability: None. It's vanished from theaters, and no DVD/Blu-Ray release details have been announced.

18. Invictus
Major Categories: Morgan Freeman is right behind Bridges, Firth and Clooney in the Best Actor race. Clint Eastwood is also a perennial favorite as Best Director; Matt Damon has a lesser shot at Best Supporting Actor.
Availability: Waning Theatrical Release

19. Nine
Major Categories: This film has been getting a lot of nominations, but hardly any wins. Of all the recognition, Marion Cotillard has the best chance as Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress (the category seems to vary from one award ceremony to another).
Availability: Waning Theatrical Release

20. The Hangover
Major Categories: This fan favorite has been gaining momentum, especially with awards that split Best Picture into Drama and Comedy, for which this has been picking up awards.
Availability: On DVD and Blu-Ray

21. 500 Days of Summer
Major Categories: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber have a shot at Best Original Screenplay. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a dark horse for Best Actor.
Availability: On DVD and Blu-Ray

22. Where the Wild Things Are
Major Categories: Karen O and Carter Burwell have a fair chance at Best Song and Best Score.
Availability: Waning Theatrical Release

23. The Blind Side
Major Categories: Sandra Bullock is a strong candidate for Best Actress.
Availability: Waning Theatrical Release

24. Food, Inc.
Major Categories: This is The Cove's strongest competition for Best Documentary.
Availability: On DVD and Blu-Ray

25. A Prophet
Major Categories: This is The White Ribbon's strongest competition for Best Foreign Film.
Availability: In Limited Release on Feb. 26

Minor Mentions (the 25 runners-up): The Road, Star Trek, The Lovely Bones, Me and Orson Welles, The Last Station, Coraline, Bright Star, In the Loop, Broken Embraces, The Beaches of Agnes, The Princess and the Frog, The Informant!, Moon, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Burma VJ, Coco Before Chanel, Soundtrack for a Revolution, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, It's Complicated, This Is It, Zombieland, Duplicity, Public Enemies, Brothers

The 25 films on the main list and the 25 runners-up have all received at least one or two nominations or awards in one or more categories this season. I did my best to order them by the amount of attention they've received.


Zach Dillon said...

I would hope that Where the Wild Things Are has a shot at a cinematography nom.

Catherine Krummey said...

I would hope so too, but I don't know that it will happen - Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Nine and The White Ribbon seem to be the front-runners for that one.

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