May it be time to update my predictions already?
I just did them!
Well there are three more films which have emerged from the festival circuit as ones to watch. This, mind you, is all from my constantly reading Variety as my source. I trust the reviewers there, and do think it gives a good jumping off point to further investigate a films merits.
However they have singled out 3 films over the past few hours.
Firstly we have Samuel Maoz’s ‘Lebanon’ which could very easily be a serious foreign film nominee with reviews like this:
“Visceral, torn-from-the-memory filmmaking that packs every punch except one to the heart, "Lebanon" is the boldest and best of the recent mini-wave of Israeli pics ("Beaufort," "Waltz With Bashir") set during conflicts between the two countries. Ironically, writer-director Samuel Maoz's pic, 99.9% of which is set within an Israeli tank, actually has the least to do with Lebanon per se. The story could be set in any tank, any country, any war -- a cinematic Kammerspiel that's as much a formal challenge for its creator as it is a claustrophobic experience for audiences.”War films do not usually do well with the Academy, unless they are in the foreign category.
Next we have ‘I Am Love’ or ‘Lo sono l’amore’ from Italian helmer Luca Guadagnino. What has interested me most about the reviews for this is that they all single out Tilda Swinton (natuarally):
”Swinton (who first collaborated with Guadagnino in his 1999 debut, "The Protagonists") does more than mechanically master the Russian-inflected Italian dialogue; she brings the full weight of her creative physical force to bear on Emma.”Could she win the Actress award at Venice? This is possible but Oscar chaces are probably not so likely unless the reviews for her performance become rabid.
Over at Telluride, we have the premier of ‘The Last Station’ which has been one of those films of the season where no one knows if it will ever be released or if it is any good.
It has shown now, and the film is good, if not great, but what it has going for it is two very good lead performances from Christopher Plummer (over due for a nomination from Oscar) and Helen Mirren, which could be enough to get it a late release date:
“in Plummer's seductive, appealingly naturalistic performance, instantly emerges as a real man, not as a self-important legend……There is, impressively, virtually no ham in Plummer's work here, just stature and humanity.”And for Mirren:
“She's a lusty, mercurial, demonstrative and intelligent woman, a perfect fit for Mirren, who fleshes out those traits and more with judicious abandon.”These seem the most likely to transfer into Oscar at the moment. I never ever try and guess the foreign film category as they constantly screw it up. If ‘The Last Station’ get distribution, I will put these two in the running.