Friday, October 22, 2004

Early Oscar Buzz

Still very early in the game, but the website Oscar Race has a regularly updated list of possible noms for next years Oscar Awards. Their current predictions for Best PIcture are below (with text from Yahoo! Movies). Most of them haven't even been shown in the US yet.

Finding Neverland
Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie, Radha Mitchell, Dustin Hoffman
Directed by: Marc Forster

Set in London in 1904, the film follows J.M. Barrie's creative journey to bring Peter Pan to life, from his first inspiration for the story up until the play's premiere at the Duke of York's Theatre - a night that will change not only Barrie's own life, but the lives of everyone close to him. David Magee's screenplay is based on the play "The Man Who Was Peter Pan," written by Allen Knee.

The Aviator
Leonardo DiCaprio, Alan Alda, Alec Baldwin, Kate Beckinsale, Cate Blanchett
Directed by: Martin Scorsese

"The Aviator” tells the story of aviation pioneer Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio), the eccentric billionaire industrialist and Hollywood film mogul, famous for romancing some of the world's most beautiful women. The drama recounts the years of his life from the late 1920s through the 1940s, an epoch when Hughes was directing and producing Hollywood movies and test flying innovative aircrafts he designed and created.

Closer
Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen, Michael Haley
Directed by: Mike Nichols
An story of passion, drama, love, and abandonment involving two couples, which only gets more complicated when the man from the first couple gets acquainted with the woman from the second coupling.

The Phantom of the Opera
Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson, Alan Cumming, Minnie Driver
Directed by: Joel Schumacher

This romantic musical epic is about a mysterious masked figure, Erik (Butler), who roams the undergrounds of 19th century Paris, centering his activity around (or under) the Opera Populaire, where he tutors a beautiful young soprano, Christine (Rossum), who goes on to upstage the city's most famous opera singer, Carlotta (Driver). The Phantom thinks he's found love, until Christine's childhood boyfriend, Vicomte de Chagny (Wilson) shows up.

Ray
Jamie Foxx, Regina King, Kerry Washington, Richard Schiff, Aunjanue Ellis
Directed by: Taylor Hackford

Ray is the musical biographical drama of American legend Ray Charles. As he revolutionized the way people appreciated music, he simultaneously fought segregation in the very clubs that launched him and championed artists' rights within the corporate music business. "Ray" provides an portrait of Charles' musical genius as he overcomes drug addiction while transforming into one of this country's most beloved performers.

Alexander
Colin Farrell, Rosario Dawson, Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer
Directed by: Oliver Stone
Alexander The Great was a relentless conqueror who by the age of 32 had amassed the greatest empire the world had ever seen. Past and present collide to form the puzzle of the protagonist, a tapestry of triumphs and tragedies in which childhood memories and Alexander's rise to power unfold side by side with the later day expansion of his empire, its gradual decline and ultimate downfall. As Virgil wrote, "Fortune favors the bold." And no king or emperor, either before or after, ever achieved such fortune, or indeed was so bold, as Alexander the Great.

Kinsey
Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Chris O'Donnell, John Lithgow, Oliver Platt
Directed by: Bill Condon

Liam Neeson stars as Kinsey, who in 1948 irrevocably changed American culture and created a media sensation with his book "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male." Asking thousands of people about the most intimate aspects of their lives, Kinsey lifted the weight of doubt and shame from a society in which sex was hidden, and knowledge was dangerous. His work sparked one of the most intense cultural debates of the past century - a debate that rages on today.

The Passion of the Christ
James Caviezel, Monica Bellucci, Rosalinda Celentano, Sergio Rubini, Mattia Sbragia
Directed by: Mel Gibson

This film tells the story of the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus (Caviezel), on the day of his crucifixion in Jerusalem. This film's script is based upon several sources, including the diaries of St. Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) as collected in the book, "The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ", "The Mystical City of God" by St. Mary of Agreda, and the New Testament books of John, Luke, Mark and Matthew.

A Very Long Engagement
Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel, Dominique Pinon, Jodie Foster, Chantal Neuwirth
Directed by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

The film is set in France near the end of World War I in the deadly trenches of the Somme, in the gilded Parisian halls of power, and in the modest home of an indomitable provincial girl. It tells the story of this young woman's relentless and sometimes comic search for her fiancée, who has disappeared. He is one of five French soldiers believed to have been court-martialed under mysterious circumstances and pushed out of an allied trench into an almost-certain death in no-man's land. What follows is an investigation into the arbitrary nature of secrecy, the absurdity of war, and the enduring passion, intuition and tenacity of the human heart.

Vera Drake
Imelda Staunton, Philip Davis, Peter Wight, Adrian Scarborough, Heather Craney
Directed by: Mike Leigh
Vera Drake is a portrait of a selfless woman who is totally dedicated to her loving working class family. Her days are filled with time spent doting on them even as she also is devoted to caring for her sick neighbor and elderly mother. Vera has a secret side, though. Unbeknownst to family and friends, she visits women and helps them to induce miscarriages for their unwanted pregnancies, a practice that is illegal in 1950s England. While Vera believes she is simply helping women in need of assistance, the dichotomy of her idyllic home life and her illegal activities make for a fascinating study. When her crime is discovered by authorities, Vera's world quickly falls apart, deeply affecting both her and her family.

Other possibilities are Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Farenheit 9/11. And in case you didn't already know, the Philippines has fielded Unitel's Crying Ladies for the Foreign Language category.

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