As much as the first screenings of Les Miserables seem to have sent the Oscar race into a tailspin of game changing fervour, it’s all a helpful reminder that sometimes you can simply see this coming. The idea that some films just have what it takes in the talent and material involved has proven true this time around and Les Miserbles will most likely stay exactly where it has always been in the rankings. Of course, it will slip up a bit simply due to the hype and energy, but so it goes for all contenders. The fact remains that even early in the year, anyone could have put this in a top 5 slot for Best Picture and allowed it to remain. The New York screening resulted in some reations.
The Hollywood Reporter (Scott Feinberg):
“At the very least, Les Mis joins Argo, Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook in the top echelon of this year’s contenders, and puts Universal back in the thick of the race for the first time since Frost/Nixon (2008) was in contention five seasons ago. If it wins, it would be the studio’s first best picture winner since A Beautiful Mind (2001).”
(On Hooper) “He seems to inspire a great deal of loyalty and affection from his actors — who rehearsed for this film with him for nine weeks before the cameras started rolling — which matters, since actors account for the largest branch of the Academy.”
“In Valjean, Jackman has finally found a screen role custom-made for and worthy of his talents as a great physical specimen who can sing as well as anyone who can also act. He even lost 30 pounds in order to play Valjean as a prisoner in the film’s opening scenes.”
Movieline (Frank Digiacomo):
“Judging from a raucously well-received New York screening of Les Misérables on Friday afternooon, the most exciting aspect of the 2013 Oscar race will be a contest between the precision of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and the passion of Tom Hooper’s epic musical.”
“Based on their applause, Hugh Jackman, who anchors the film as the ex-con Jean Valjean, and Hathaway, who plays the doomed grisette Fantine, are shoo-ins for Best Actor and Supporting Actress nominations, despite the latter actor’s much-too-brief screen time.”
“On that last count, Hooper is confident enough as a director that I suspect this is not accidental. Oliver! was nominated for 11 Oscars in 1969 and won six, including Best Picture and Best Director. Les Misérables is poised to do the same.”
And a significant tweet from Dave Karger: “Dave Karger: First #LesMiserables screening went over extremely well. I’d call it a sure thing Picture nominee for Oscar and the probable Globe winner.”
This is significant since this would make Karger predicting Les Miserables over Silver Linings Playbook at the globes, the movie for which he is one of the biggest supporters.
Also, plenty more to come on Zero Dark Thirty. I am a bit confused by this article which seems to indicate this movie has been seen by the article authors, although I am not certain that it had been screened. Nonetheless, the New York Times’ Michael Cieply and Brooks Barnes had this to say:
“The new movie is not for the faint of heart or for those expecting typical Hollywood fare. Whether “Zero Dark Thirty” succeeds may depend on the willingness of audience members (and awards voters) to relive difficult events in a drama that Ms. Bigelow and Mr. Boal insist should honor the facts and protect sources, even if that means giving less attention to cinematic conventions like a love interest, comic twists (à la “Argo”) or characters’ back stories.”
This also seems to place Zero Dark Thirty in territory with gravitas and skill enough for a Best Picture nomination (depending on how crowded we get with Hobbit or Django), but not enough broad accesibility to win like The Hurt Locker.
So, like I said, we’re pretty much exactly where we thought we would be.