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‘The Kids’ Oscar chances are still ‘All Right,’ but there are many contenders yet to come

August 23, 2010

By John C.

Opening in limited release on July 9th, Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right has been getting high praise and is already on many critics top ten lists.  It’s also the kind of film that the Academy would recognize – especially in recent years – with a Best Picture nomination.  With a hot button topic of modern same-sex families, the film also boasts strong performances – Mark Ruffalo is a particular high point.  I don’t think it’s an outstanding movie, and it wouldn’t necessarily be on my personal list, but it certainly is a very good one.

But the main reason I think it will be nominated, besides being genuinely good, is that so far this year we’ve only seen three real contenders.  The other two are Toy Story 3 and Inception – one of which may baffle the Academy, but will get a vote for spectacular production, and the other will very deservedly get on the list due to emotional impact.  How To Train Your Dragon deserves to be there, but I honestly can’t see it getting the push it needs to pull off a nomination.  If I had a ballot, Scott Pilgrim would be up there too, but it will ultimately be too cool for awards outside of the technical categories.

The latter festival months of 2010 are packed with hopeful Oscar contenders, far too many to name here, but I’m going to take this time to talk about 6 of my most anticipated.  Several of which are having their world premieres right here in Toronto next month.

Opening on September 15th from Fox Searchlight, after it bows at TIFF, is Never Let Me Go.  If the book is any indication, then this will be a heartbreaking and brilliant film that serves as a beautiful metaphor for the fact that we can never be fully prepared for the lives we are going to lead.  It eludes to a deeper, dystopic theme, but all the way through it is about the lives we live, rather than the circumstances of our existence.  Starring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightly, and Andrew Garfield, this is sure to be recognized in at least the acting categories.

David Fincher’s The Social Network is easily my most anticipated film of the year.  The story of the founding of Facebook, the trailers advertise a thought-provoking film about the social phenomenon of internet chat rooms.  It looks to be quietly thrilling, too, with a tense court case and the allusions to the too much information we freely share on the internet.  Already receiving both high praise and debate over its factual accuracy, it opens on October 1st from Columbia Pictures.

Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter is a sweeping supernatural dramatic-thriller following three different people who have all been touched by death.  His latest Oscar contender from Warner Brothers, this could pull off a nomination – despite Eastwood’s last few films being ignored in the top category.  Or it could be this year’s equivalent of The Lovely Bones.  Hereafter opens on October 22nd.

Starring Hilary Swank, Conviction is the true story of Betty Anne Waters.  When her younger brother was convicted of murder she believed he did not commit, but was unable to afford a lawyer, she went to law school so she could eventually prove his believed innocence.  The trailer looks quite good, so I doubt it will go the same route as last year’s Amelia.  It bows at TIFF in a couple of weeks, but will open in theatres on October 15th from Fox Searchlight.

The trapped on a mountain thriller 127 Hours boasts the same writer and director as the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire.  Based on a true story of a mountain climber who had his arm pinned under a rock and had to take extreme measures in order to survive, it’s yet to be seen if they will be able to sustain an entire movie almost all taking place in a secluded location, but the buzz surrounding this project makes me think that it’s going to be a contender.  It opens on November 5th – also from Fox Searchlight.

Love and Other Drugs could easily end up being the feeling good adult dramedy of the year.  The trailer advertises something in the vein of Jerry Maguire, and Anne Hathaway’s role, much of it apparently performed sans clothes, has already been gaining much praise for the Best Actress category.  Again based on a true story, it follows a pharmaceutical salesmen whose job is on the rise after the invention of a drug called Viagra.  It opens on November 25th, from 20th Century Fox.

With other contenders including Another Year, The King’s Speech, The Fighter, and possible dark horses like It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Secretariat, and Black Swan, there’s plenty to look forward to both on and off the festival circuit.

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