It’s at this time of year – normally when we have a week in which there’s very little, and I’m done writing about the weather (note to self: fire the next freelancer whose piece starts with a reference to how depressing winter is or hygge – hopefully the dismissal will prove to be the final straw) – that I like to look at the Oscar field and contemplate which films might drag me to the cinema over the next four months.
Besides Quentin Tarantino’s Djano Unchained, which is an outsider to claim the big prize at 50/1, there aren’t too many immediately obvious choices, although I’m sure the pondlife out there will be thrilled to know that this year we can expect additions to the Die Hard, Iron Man, Star Trek, The Hangover, Superman and Kick-Ass franchises.
The Oscar contenders, on the other hand, tend to be a safe bet and you might consider two films we’ve already reviewed, Ben Affleck’s Argo (11/4), which will be joined later this month by Michael Haneke’s Amour (release date: 20 December, 33/1) and Ang Lee’s Life of Pi (25 Dec, 11/1). Amour is about an 80s relationship (ageists beware, not the 1980s), while Life of Pi is about a man’s relationship with a tiger – it’s bound to end a tad sadly.
In January we’ve got Benh Zeitlin’s fantastical Beasts of the Southern Wild (3 Jan, 33/1), Paul Thomas Anderson’s majestic The Master (31 Jan, 20/1) and Steven Spielberg’s epic biopic Lincoln (31 Jan, 3/1). The first is an amazing journey, the second apparently tails off a bit, while we know the third ends badly.
In February, we’ve got Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty (7 Feb, 16/1), a dark horse about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden – it starts jihady and ends very badly.
In March, we’ve got the favourite, Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables (21 March, 5/2), which will be bidding to become the first musical since Chicago to win the top prize, but will they dream the dream without Susan Boyle? And Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines (28 March, 25/1) stars Ryan Gosling as a motorcycle stunt rider who … hang on a minute, a stunt driver again?! This can only head one way.
And finally in April, we’ve got David O Russell’s romcom Silver Linings Playbook (25 Dec, 11/1), which will end a little gladly and sadly, but hopefully not too badly.