Although the narrative is really the only reason to cover an “Awards season”, especially should one cover it for a FULL YEAR (!). Nonetheless, I believe there’s a narrative, but the narrative ain’t the whole story. Voters vote. In secret. The Academy wasn’t obligated to vote for Argo because the Globes, the Critics, the whatevers did. They voted for it because they liked it.
Nonetheless, there’s a story too and the story’s important. Of course, i’m fascinated, fascinated! by the process of the Oscars. It’s why it’s so fun to speculate 12 months out. And since the movies require so much time, money, powerful people, there’s no doubt the Oscars 2014 are well underway. The Oscars are like Olympics swimming if the meets took months and years to run and were judged months after the fact. The Wolf of Wall Street is currently in “Post Production”, meaning the filming is done (for the most part). Leo is already starting a bit of a hiauts from acting that he has announced. Although his work for Wolf will kick up in a few months on the other end of things, whatever acting nominations he could, potentially, maybe (!) get, are for work that has already taken place, even before we knew Christoph Waltz would be this year’s winner, co-star in Leo’s movie before Wolf, no wait, the one before that (okay but it wrapped between the two eh?).
Anyways, Scorsese, Clooney. I’m just hoping to say that there’s a precedent for taking a look at what is going on early. But, should that early precedent be worthwhile, Scorsese v Clooney could make for an interesting match-up. In a way it’s old vs. new/older: Scorsese epitomizing the “American New Wave” (if that’s a thing) of the 1970’s and the gritty, raw, exagerated realism of Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Mean Streets; Clooney representing both the new Oscar/glamour Renassiance man (paving the way for Afleck’s transformations in many ways), as well as that older school Cary Grant charm. On the other hand, the negative narrative that might erupt is a weariness to the same old guys: Scorsese as an almost perpetual nominee and Clooney as the guy who is ALWAYS there, even when you forgot he was, like with Argo.
I could already see that still being a strong narrative, with Jason Reitman as the deceptively under the radar “spoiler” for Labor Day. You see, Jason Reitman has probably been as ever present as those two, but without the star power to make him any kind of household name. Even with two previous director nominations (more than Clooney as a matter of fact), Reitman could still be that scrappy underdog that is making a run for the big leagues. Also, Clooney and Reitman’s collaboration on Up in the Air was a very productive and succesful one, just listen to the commentary track. That could make for an interesting match up as well. Then again there’s the previous Clooney collaborator in Alexander Payne, though I still doubt the prospects of Payne pressing Magruber to Oscar glory. Though, I don’t want to disparage Payne, i’m sure Nebraska will be excellent, I just think he’s being intentionally against the Oscar tides with this cast.
And if the “underdog” success of a movie like Argo is any precedent, it all might finally catch up with Clooney. The early season awards might begin falling in a direction that wishes to either honor someone up and coming like Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale), Alfonso Cuaraon (Gravity), Lee Daniels (The Butler) or Steve McQueen (Twelve Years a Slave). Not to say those are all rookies, just nonetheless an underdog compared to the Cloonster. On the other hand, Scorsese may get the same curse of the Spielberg, a veteran that has emerged from a slump to continue being prolific and quality decades into a legacy career. Whereas Spielberg looks to be bowing back to blockbusters after chairing the Cannes jury, Scorsese is only pushing onward and upward towards gravitas, finally, hopefully tackling Silence, perhaps he could even land Day-Lewis for a record continuing fourth Best Actor award there? Okay NOW i’m getting ahead of myself.