Oscar Season Preview

Photo Courtesy of Wiki Commons

By David Prendeville

With the new year almost upon us, it’s the time when certain film fans will see an end in sight to the long, long road through Oscar season.

I have written articles in this paper recently highlighting local successes at various film festivals. This year’s Academy Awards should see at least one Dublin 4-based company battle it out with the Hollywood heavy-hitters.

Unusually, this year a high number of films tipped to be the front-runners come Oscar time have already been released in Ireland. Normally, this slate of prestige pictures arrives in January or February. This year has already seen the release of the sort of tasteful, some would argue dull, fare that is expected to dominate proceedings. Films such as Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born and Damien Chazelle’s First Man. There are, however, some hotly tipped and interesting titles set for release here in the coming weeks.

Ireland has enjoyed some success come Oscar time of late, not least Mespil Road-based company Element Pictures, whose film Room won the best actress Oscar for Brie Larson in 2015, as well as securing numerous nominations.

This year their film The Favourite looks to be in with a good chance of securing some of the big-hitting Academy Award nods. It is expected to compete in the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Cinematography and Best Screenplay races.

The period comedy was directed by Greek absurdist Yorgos Lanthimos, while it was lensed by Ireland’s Robbie Ryan. It has received much praise for its ornate style and impressive performances from a stellar cast that includes Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. It recently had its Irish premiere at the Cork Film Festival and will be released nationwide on January 1st. It is sure to be a tasty New Year’s treat for local film fans.

Moving beyond the local talent, another somewhat alternative awards contender to keep an eye out for is Brady Corbet’s dark musical drama Vox Lux. Anyone who saw Corbet’s superb debut The Childhood of a Leader will attest that he possesses formidable directorial talent. The film is likely to perhaps be a bit too unconventional to romp home with either Best Picture or Best Director nods, but Natalie Portman is earning rave reviews for her role as a pop-star/high-school-massacre survivor.

While most people seem to view her as the lead actress in the picture, producers have put her forward as supporting actress, feeling she has a strong chance of at least securing a nomination in this category.

Other up-coming films that have been tipped for awards include the Farrelly Brothers’ (Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something about Mary) crowd-pleasing comedy Green Book. Also included are Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight follow-up If Beale Street Could Talk and Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, all set for release in Ireland in the early parts of 2019.

Our own Saoirse Ronan also looks to be in with a strong chance of securing her fifth Academy Award nomination this year for her role in the period drama Mary Queen of Scots. The film, which co-stars Margot Robbie, will be released here on January 18th. The Oscar nominations will be announced on January 23rd.