Preliminary 2011 Oscar Contenders: Part Three

Part three arrives and it comes with 20 more films to keep an eye on this year as potential Oscar candidates. If you missed parts one and two, the links for both of those can be found on the bottom of page two of this post.

With today’s list of films it brings the total previewed thus far to 60 early Oscar contending films and already one reader has sent in a potential new candidate I am looking into further to see if the list again will grow from it’s current total of 73 films to 74 and what may amount to a fifth film for Helen Mirren. With no films this year for Meryl Streep, it looks like Mirren is stacking the deck.

I will again remind you, this is merely a guide to potential nominees, not a guarantee, not a lock, but simply films that could potentially go on to be remembered at the year-end Oscar race. A few of these films may not even be released in 2010. Several of these films still don’t have distribution. A few of these films just started production. Suffice to say, this list, as the headline says, is preliminary.

Please remember when commenting, the list is in alphabetical order, which means tomorrow’s part four will pick up exactly where this list leaves off. So, if you inquire about a film that comes after The Social Network alphabetically, you may have to wait until tomorrow to see if it made the list. Otherwise, if you believe a film has been overlooked in parts one, two or three please comment below. I will have the fourth and final installment tomorrow and on Friday I will publish the entire list once again, in its entirety.

I have not yet finished work on the new “The Contenders” section and once I open its doors I hope to have as comprehensive a list as possible. As the year goes on several of these films will drop off the list, others will be added and just like last year we will ultimately end up with our front-runners.

With all that said, let’s get started with part three, which includes yet another 20 films…

Release Date: Release date not yet set
Distributor: Miramax
Directed By: Massy Tadjedin
Quick Thoughts: There’s a question mark surrounding everything in the now defunct name of Miramax as there’s no telling when these films will hit theaters, but that doesn’t mean we should dismiss the films as a result. One of those films is Massy Tadjedin’s Last Night starring Keira Knightley, Guillaume Canet, Eva Mendes and Sam Worthington. It’s quite the international cast and one of the first films we’ll see Worthington working with something not in the action epic genre since breaking out in 2009.
Release Date: Release date not yet set
Distributor: Still looking for distribution
Directed By: William Monahan

Quick Thoughts: William Monahan, writer of both Kingdom of Heaven and The Departed, wrote and will direct London Boulevard, an adaptation of the Ken Bruen novel, which will star Colin Farrell as a South London criminal who, after release from prison, tries to give up the gangster life by becoming a handyman for a reclusive young actress. Co-starring are Keira Knightley, Ray Winstone and David Thewlis. On top of Monahan’s credits as a screenwriter and the film’s cast listing, Monahan has brought on Oscar-winning cinematographer Chris Menges and the Oscar-nominated editor of Memento Dody Dorn. A lot of potential here.

Release Date: Release date not yet set
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Directed By: Edward Zwick
Quick Thoughts: Ed Zwick’s Love and Other Drugs is already earning plenty of buzz with many saying Anne Hathaway is a surefire Best Actress nominee. Hathaway plays a woman who has Parkinson’s and co-stars opposite Jake Gyllenhaal who’s character falls in love with Hathaway. Many will see it’s another one of those performances gaining attention due to the fact it involves a handicap or disease, and with Hathaway’s continued support among the Academy ranks if the performance holds up it could be her first win, which many thought would come in 2009 when she lost to Kate Winslet for The Reader. It’s a reunion for the two Brokeback Mountain stars and with the film’s supposed critical eye of the pharmaceutical industry it could earn additional sympathy from all corners. It will be interesting to see what screenwriter Charles Randolph can pull off considering his previous screenplay for The Life of David Gale and The Interpreter weren’t exactly praised.
Release Date: Release date not yet set
Distributor: Still looking for distribution
Directed By: Taylor Hackford
Love Ranch is inspired by the story of Joe and Sally Conforte, proprietors of the Mustang Ranch, the first legalized house of prostitution in Nevada, and Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci are going to star as said proprietors with Mirren’s Oscar-nominated husband Taylor Hackford (Ray) directing the film. On top of sounding like an entertaining picture it also has serious Oscar prospects. Paul Hirsch, the Oscar-winning editor of Star Wars will edit the feature and considering we are talking about a film set in the mid-1970s I would expect art direction and costumes will be up for grabs.
Release Date: Release date not yet set
Distributor: Still looking for distribution
Directed By: Julian Schnabel

Quick Thoughts: Julian Schnabel was nominated for a Best Director Oscar in 2008 for the fabulous The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Miral is his first film since. The film boasts an impressive cast made up of Hiam Abbass, Freida Pinto, Willem Dafoe and Alexander Siddig making it even more intriguing. It doesn’t yet have distribution so no telling where or when we’ll hear from it, but those involved make it one to keep an eye on.

Release Date: July 30, 2010
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Directed By: Roger Michell

Quick Thoughts: Roger Michell (Notting Hill) directs Harrison Ford, Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, Jeff Goldblum and Patrick Wilson in the comedy Morning Glory centered on a struggling morning show program. The film is going to have to be smart, witty, funny and dramatic to make a lasting impression after its July release. I could potentially see a screenplay nod for Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada), but this is one of the weaker contenders.

Release Date: May 7, 2010 (Limited)
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Directed By: Rodrigo García

Quick Thoughts: Mother and Child began earning buzz out of Toronto in 2009 and ended up at Sony Pictures Classics for a May release. Directed by Rodrigo Garcias and starring Naomi Watts, Samuel L. Jackson, Annette Bening, Kerry Washington and David Morse I don’t have a strong grasp on its potential, but I have a feeling its early year release date will kill its potential. Only time will tell.

Release Date: Release date not yet set
Distributor: Still looking for distribution
Directed By: Olivier Dahan
Quick Thoughts: Olivier Dahan follows up La vie en rose, which won Marion Cotillard an Oscar, with My Own Love Song with a film about a wheelchair-bound former singer and her friend on a roadtrip to Memphis. With Renée Zellweger playing the wheelchair-bound character and a supporting cast including Forest Whitaker and Nick Nolte I’d say this fits all the necessary elements to make up an Oscar contender.
Release Date: Release date not yet set
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Directed By: Mark Romanek

Quick Thoughts: Never Let Me Go is director Mark Romanek’s second feature film and first since 2002’s One Hour Photo and for me it is one of my most highly anticipated films of the year. Starring Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield, Carey Mulligan, Sally Hawkins and Charlotte Rampling the film is a dramatic thriller adapted by Alex Garland (Sunshine and 28 Days Later) from Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel revolving around a trio who grew up in a boarding school with no contact or knowledge of the outside world until they discover a dark reality about their past and future. The film opens up picture, actor and director nominee potential but also may be able to land Garland his first Oscar nomination and the same goes for cinematographer Adam Kimmel (Capote).

Release Date: November 19, 2010
Distributor: Lionsgate
Directed By: Paul Haggis
Quick Thoughts: Lionsgate is looking at a November release for Paul Haggis’s The Next Three Days starring Russell Crowe as a teacher whose wife is arrested and convicted of a murder she says she did not commit. The film is a remake of the 2007 French feature Pour Elle and with Crowe starring alongside Elizabeth Banks and Liam Neeson among others this is an obvious contender. Haggis adapted the screenplay and has brought in A Prophet cinematographer Stéphane Fontaine and his In the Valley of Elah editor Jo Francis.


Marvel and DC