November 15, 2015 | Posted in:Film
By Jackson Murphy
Could having two spotlight movies backfire for some actors and studios as we approach Awards Season?
Cate Blanchett is currently experiencing this problem, as the praise she’s receiving for her lead actress performance in “Carol” (Opening in Limited Release Nov. 20) is overshadowing her work in “Truth”. The CBS News biopic with Blanchett as producer Mary Mapes and Robert Redford as anchor Dan Rather has received mixed reviews from critics and is being largely ignored by audiences who simply aren’t interested in this story.
Seth Rogen does the best acting job of his career as Steve Wozniak in “Steve Jobs”. Rogen doesn’t have a lot of screen time, but he’s part of a couple of fiery debates with Michael Fassbender’s Jobs, and it’s impressive to watch his commanding presence in a rare, dramatic role. And it’s a much-needed comeback for Rogen, nearly a year after “The Interview” debacle. But Supporting Actor nomination buzz for Rogen could completely go away with the release of the raunchy holiday comedy “The Night Before” in two weeks. If the film is as bad as the trailer, the awful reviews will bury Rogen’s awards season chances. Meantime, Fassbender is receiving high praise for his “Steve Jobs” performance, but that likely means his other late-year Lead Actor role, in “Macbeth” (limited open on Dec. 4), will not be in the awards conversation. Folks at the always (extremely) competitive Weinstein Co., which is distributing “Macbeth”, won’t be pleased about that, and could campaign Fassbender against himself.
And then there’s Pixar. The studio didn’t release a film last year, but it has two 2015 efforts. “Inside Out” was a critical and box office darling when it opened in June, and it’s considered to be a lock in all the Animated Feature competitions. If “The Good Dinosaur” (opening Nov. 25) is as good as it appears, it should make it on everyone’s ballots as well.
However, two Pixar movies in the same category may simply be too much for some voters to handle. The competition for slots is strong, with “The Peanuts Movie” and “Shaun the Sheep Movie” both worthy and the R-rated, stop-motion drama “Anomalisa” also considered to be a lock. Indies such as “Kahil Gibran’s The Prophet” and Studio Ghibli’s final feature “When Marnie Was There” will also get strong consideration. And finally, “The LEGO Movie” was thought to be a guaranteed Oscar nominee (and winner) last year, and we all remember what happened. This category is completely unpredictable.
Jackson Murphy (a.k.a. Lights-Camera-Jackson) has been a film critic/entertainment reporter on TV and radio since the age of 7 1/2. He currently appears weekly on WFLY radio (Albany, NY) and his reviews appear in The Record (Troy, NY) newspaper.
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