2008 Oscar-Bait

Well, it’s been a good year at the movies so far. There are only a few films that I’m interested in seeing this Summer (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Pineapple Express, and Tropic Thunder)

My Top 5 for 2008 So Far:

1. The Dark Knight
2. Wall-E
3. American Teen
4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
5. Iron Man

That said, I’m really looking forward to Oscar season this year. I have a feeling that the Academy Awards are going to be insane with competition. Last year was good, but this will probably be better. This afternoon I hunted down the upcoming films for the rest of the year.

My Top 11 Must-Sees:



The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Directed By: David Fincher
Starring: Brad Pitt / Cate Blanchett / Tilda Swinton

Zodiac was royally shafted at the Academy Awards this year. I thought it should have been nominated for picture, adapted screenplay, supporting actor (Robert Downey Jr) and visual effects. It probably wouldn’t have won any, but it should have had some recognition.

That said, I think Benjamin Button is going to get Fincher back in the game.


(Apple Trailers)

Burn After Reading
Directed By: Ethan Coen / Joel Coen
Starring: Brad Pitt / George Clooney / John Malkovich / Tilda Swinton / Frances McDormand

After the amazing No Country for Old Men last year, it looks like the Coens are back in action with a dark screwball comedy (their forte) with a great ensemble cast. It will be nice to see Frances McDormand in a Coen film again.


(Apple Trailers)

Revolutionary Road
Directed By: Sam Mendes
Starring: Leondardo DiCaprio / Kate Winslet / Kathy Bates

Looks like a Titanic cast reunion. Add in the director of American Beauty and Road to Perdition and you have an awesome combination.

The Soloist
Directed By: Joe Wright
Starring: Robert Downey Jr. / Jamie Foxx / Catharine Keener

Robert Downey Jr. has been in an insane number of films the last few years. That’s all.

Australia
Directed By: Baz Luhrmann
Starring: Hugh Jackman / Nicole Kidman / David Wenham

Quite simply, this looks epic, and I do not want to miss seeing it on the silver screen. It may end up being the next Lawrence of Arabia for all we know. And you can’t go wrong with Hugh Jacman.


(Apple Trailers)

Appaloosa
Directed By: Ed Harris
Starring: Viggo Mortensen / Renée Zellweger / Jeremy Irons / Ed Harris

As long as it’s better than Hidalgo. Solid cast, and the amazing Ed Harris.

Lakeview Terrace
Directed By: Neil LaBute
Starring: Patrick Wilson / Kerry Washington / Samuel L. Jackson

What can I say? The preview sold me. This looks to be quite the tense film.


(Apple Trailers)

Body of Lies
Directed By: Ridley Scott
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio / Russell Crowe

Since 2002, DiCaprio hasn’t disappionted me once as an actor. He just keeps plugging away. With 8 films in the next two years, he’s going to be a busy man. And to top it off, the preview reminded me a little bit of Michael Mann’s Heat, which is never a bad thing.

Doubt
Directed By: John Patrick Shanley
Starring: Meryl Streep / Philip Seymour Hoffman / Amy Adams

I’ve heard really good things about the Shanley’s play, which this is based on. And what a great cast.

The Reader
Directed By: Stephen Daldry
Starring: Kate Winslet / Ralph Fiennes

Defiance
Directed By: Edward Zwick
Starring: Daniel Craig / Liev Schreiber / Jamie Bell

You can’t go wrong with Edward Zwick.

What films are you looking forward to the most?

6 Responses

  1. Synecdoche, New York. ‘nough said! Some top films on there. Looking forward to Curious Case too, probably on par with the Charlie Kaufman movie.

  2. How could I have forgotten that one? That would definitely be near the top of my list.

  3. Thats a superb Must-See’s that you’ve compiled. Looking forward to see David Fincher-Brad Pitt team recreating some of their old magic a la Seven & Fight Club!

  4. Great list!! That “Lakeview Terrace” looks extremely good. I wish the videos for “Burn After Reading” and “Australia” worked. Ahh, well…

    As for early Oscar predictions, I don’t really like to make them until all boats are in, so to speak. But I do have a little bell that goes off inside my head that tells me what at least the nominees are going to be, particularly for Best Picture. And so far, the only preview that’s rung any bells is the one for “The Strange Case of Benjamin Button.” I love that the preview has almost no dialogue and is scored by the Ennio Morricone theme from “Days of Heaven.” That music could make anything look like a winner. But coupled with this unbelieveably well-edited series of fantastic images? No way this will miss getting into the top five, unless we’re being fooled bigtime. And with Fincher at the helm, you can make an 80% bet we’re not. I would say the same for “Australia,” given its pedigree, but alas, no bells went off here.

    BTW, whether Heath Ledger wins a posthumous Oscar this year depends on whether the studio runs him in the lead or supporting categories. In supporting, he’s the winner, 75% chance. In lead, he drops to 40%. But he’ll certainly get a nomination, in any event.

    With two notable movies coming out, this might finally be Kate Winslet’s year to win. If not, she’ll be entering into that “Most nominations with no wins” race.

  5. Oh, and you forgot Steven Soderburgh’s CHE, with Benecio Del Toro. It’s an epic and Del Toro won Best Actor at Cannes.

  6. Hey. I’ve new to the film criticism scene as a blogger, so I figured I’d make a comment here. Great list, by the way: “Curious Case” and “Burn After Reading” are perhaps the two I’m looking forward to the most. I’d also want to throw in “The Road,” since Cormac McCarthy’s book was so good. (I suppose you’d have to say I’m excited for “Revolutionary Road,” but I almost want to read Richard Yates’ novel before seeing it…)

    – T.S.

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