By Cherie Wheeler
Get excited folks! It’s that time of year again; no, not Christmas, but the start of the Hollywood awards season. The nominees for the Golden Globes have just been announced, and in the usual fashion, many of the potential winners have not yet been released in Australian cinemas, but never fear! We have the lowdown on all the big releases for 2015 with an overview of the five films nominated for Best Drama, which will be the first in our awards season series. Stay tuned for our look at the nominees for Best Comedy or Musical.
Director: Richard Linklater
Starring: Ellar Colltrane, Patricia Arquette & Ethan Hawke
Release Date: Available on DVD and Bluray soon
Other Nominations: Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette), Best Supporting Actor (Ethan Hawke) & Best Screenplay
Since first breaking out into the film scene in the 1990s, US director Richard Linklater has proved his genius as a filmmaker time and time again. From his concept of shooting a conversation between two characters in real time, and using this content to comprise three highly engaging feature length films (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset & Before Midnight), to producing a docudrama on one of the most bizarre and intriguing incidents to have ever occurred in Carthage, Texas, between an overly friendly mortician, and an embittered 80 year old widow (Bernie), Linklater always thinks outside the box, and Boyhood is no different.
Filmed over 12 years, as the title suggests, Boyhood chronicles the life of Mason (Ellar Colltrane) from age 5 to 18, and explores the various challenges, as well as the ordinary, everyday life moments that take place throughout the process of becoming an adult. It is the first film to ever use the same actor to play a character that literally grows up on the screen. Most directors would opt to cast a different actor to play the character at each life stage, or would digitally enhance, or alter an actor with hair and makeup to manufacture the aging process, but Linklater has kept the process organic, and for this, I believe Linklater will take home Best Director. The other major contender from Boyhood is Patricia Arquette, who has a very good chance of winning Best Supporting Actress, for her authentic performance as the mother of Mason.
Director: Bennett Miller
Starring: Steve Carrell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffallo
Release Date: January 29 2015
Other Nominations: Best Actor In Drama (Steve Carrell) & Best Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo)
Steve Carrell is mostly associated with comedies of varying success, from the US version of the TV Series The Office, to multiple crowd pleasing films, including Crazy Stupid Love (2011), The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005) and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004). It was not until his performance as the gay, suicidal intellectual Frank Ginsberg in academy award winning film Little Miss Sunshine (2006) that we began to glimpse another side of him, and now his prowess as a dramatic actor is out to impress again in Foxcatcher.
Based on a true events, the story follows Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) who is invited by multimillionaire John Du Pont (Steve Carrell) to help form a team to train for the upcoming 1988 games in Seoul. Schultz snaps up the opportunity in hope that he will finally be able to step out of the shadow of his brother, fellow wrestler David Schultz (Mark Ruffalo). An unlikely bond develops between the three, but this quickly descends into psychological warfare, as they each threaten to emotionally destroy one another in their quest for victory.
This film may be a groundbreaking milestone in Steve Carrell’s career, however, I am doubtful that he or Ruffalo will take out the top prize for either of their categories.
3. The Imitation Game
Director: Morten Tyldum
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Charles Dance and Mark Strong
Release Date: January 01 2015
Other Nominations: Best Actor In Drama (Benedict Cumberbatch), Best Supporting Actress (Keira Knightley), Best Screenplay & Best Score
In 2010 audiences began to notice this rather eccentric British actor with a long winded name that fails to roll easily off the tongue. He was the latest to reprise the role of Sherlock Holmes in the British television series Sherlock, and since then, Benedict Cumberbatch has risen to an unlikely stardom. There is something very likeable about him, from his awkward ways, and unusual appearance, to his endearing personality, and it seems many have developed an affection for him, making him the perfect actor to play Alan Turing in The Imitation Game.
During the second World War, the German military communicated to its troops via coded messages that were encrypted by a formula called Enigma. A group of English mathematicians were hired to find a way to decode these messages, and among them was the brilliant, but socially awkward Alan Turing, who is credited with the invention of the first computer. Turing clashes with his fellow mathematicians who fail to appreciate his ideas, or his prickly personality, until the freshly recruited, and sharply intelligent Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) manages to allay the tension between them. Without giving too much more away, this is a fascinating true story that has previously been covered up throughout history due to the need to protect sensitive information in relation to the war, therefore making this film a front runner for Best Screenplay. I’m also putting my money on Cumberbatch to take home Best Actor In Drama, as his portrayal of Turing is absolutely sensational.
Director: Ava Duvernay
Starring: David Oyelowo, Tim Roth, Tom Wilkinson, Oprah Winfrey, Carmen Ejogo and Martin Sheen
Release Date: February 2015
Other Nominations: Best Director, Best Actor In Drama (David Oyelowo), Best Original Song
Whenever an Australian film features Indigenous characters, it is almost guaranteed that it will receive high praise from critics, and that it will manage to find its way into almost every significant film festival. The same seems to occur in American films that explore racism and subjugation; from The Help (2011), to 12 Years A Slave (2014), these films always dominate the awards season, and Selma is yet another example of this.
To be honest, I am extremely tired of Hollywood privileging these films. Yes, slavery in America is a tragic and shameful part of history. Yes, it is disgusting that even today racism still exists in the United States. But if I have to see one more film about it, I might actually scream. The oppression of African Americans is not the only awful event to have ever happened in the history of the entire world.
Selma is named after the city in Alabama in which Martin Luther King (David Oyelowo) led multiple, powerful civil rights marches that finally made people sit up and listen to what he had to say. It’s awesome to see a female director behind this film, and also up for a Best Director nomination, but I find it unlikely that she would win.
5. The Theory of Everything
Director: James Marsh
Starring: Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones
Release Date: January 29 2015
Other Nominations: Best Actress In Drama (Felicity Jones), Best Actor In Drama (Eddie Redmayne) & Best Score
If anyone has a chance of knocking Benedict Cumberbatch out of the way for Best Actor In Drama, its Eddie Redmayne in his performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. I’m so excited by the fact that two British actors are vying for the prize, and it will definitely be a close race, as both performances are quite similar in the portrayal of intellectual geniuses that each become undone by their own personal struggles, whether that be emotional or physical.
Unlike Cumberbatch, it seems as though Redmayne has blossomed out of nowhere. It wasn’t until his performance as the shy and innocent Colin Clark in My Week With Marilyn (2011) that he truly came onto the scene, and his only other major feature film credit is Les Miserables (2012).
This romantic drama explores the relationship between renowned physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his wife Jane (Felicity Jones), and I believe that it has an excellent chance of winning Best Picture – Drama. It’s most fierce competitor would have to be Boyhood, and I think it will also come very close to taking out Best Score as well.