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Oscars: Who’s the best picture of them all?

Industry News

(By Amy Olson and Theresa Syn)

The mother of all award shows– the Oscars– is getting closer and predictions for the golden statue are becoming more and more debatable. Through the huge scope of movies released in 2012, here are 5 of the top candidates for Oscar’s Award of Best Picture of 2012 (in no particular order).

1)    Les Misérables  (Release date: December 14th 2012)

Based on the musical and 1862 French novel of the same name, Les Misérables is a musical drama featuring Hollywood big names like Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried. This movie is directed by Tom Hooper, award-winning director of The King’s Speech. The film is set in 19th century where an imprisoned Frenchman, Jan Valjean (Hugh Jackman) breaks parole to start a new life which trying to flee from the tight scrutiny of the police inspector Javert (Russel Crowe). However, things take a dramatic turn when Valjean agrees to take care of factory worker Fantine’s (Anna Hathaway) illegitimate daughter, Cosette (Amanda Seyfried). From the bookshelf to the big stage and finally to the silver screen, Les Misérables promises to deliver a musical experience of a lifetime.


2)    Cloud Atlas (Release Date: October 26th 2012)

This adaptation of the 2004 novel of the same name written by David Mitchell is an adventure drama film about how the actions of different individuals can impact each other through the past, present and the future. Directed by the famous names behind the Matrix, siblings Lana and Andy Wachowski and German director Tom Tykwer, Cloud Atlas features a star-studded cast including Tom Hanks. Halle Berry and Hugh Grant. With a storyline set across 6 different eras from the 1930s to the 1970s to post apocalyptic Hawaii, this ambitious film had a whooping 102 million budget – most of which were financed by independent sources – making it one of the most expensive independent movies to date. Unsurprisingly, the movie was met with positive feedback during its premier screening at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) where it received a 10-minute standing ovation from the audience.


3)    Silver Linings Playbook (Release Date: November 21st 2012)

Directed by David O’ Russell, this comedy-drama was first screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and received TIFF’s People’s Choice Award. This film was based on the seriocomic of the same name and features names such as Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro. In this movie, Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) finds himself living with his parents after spending eight months in an institution. Having lost everything – his house, job and wife, Solitano is determined to get his life back on track by rekindling with his wife. However, things get interesting when Solitano meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a strange mysterious girls with her own set of problems. During their encounter, Tiffany promises to help Solitano reconnect with his wife if he does something for her in return. As things progress, the two leads form a bond leading them to see the silver linings in their lives. Critics from Indiewire praised Russell’s take on the movie saying that he gave the move “the air of classic romcom, strengthening it with the type of sophisticated insight into human behavior”.


4)    Lincoln (Release Date: November 9th 2012)

Based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of Lincoln, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”, this movie is a biographical drama film about the last four months of one of America’s most influential political figures and focuses on Lincoln’s political struggle and the end of the Civil War. It was directed by multi-award winning director, Steven Spielberg and written by Tony Kushner who reportedly worked on the script for six years. With such effort and vision behind this film, Lincoln stands strong among its competitors for Best Picture.


5)    Life of Pi (Release Date: November 21st 2012)

Last on our list is a film based on a 2001 novel of the same name written by Yan Martel. It is a story about a 16-year-old boy, Pi, who is trapped on a boat for 227 days with an orangutan, hyena, wounded zebra and a Bengal Tiger after being shipwrecked. This film adaptation was in the works for several years with numerous changes in the directing and scriptwriting team. However, it finally landed in the hands of Academy award-winning director Ang Lee who took a risk by casting 17-year-old student Suraj Sharma out of the 3000 men who auditioned for the role of the lead. The novel won several awards such as the 2003 Boeke Prize and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and we’re excited to see if the film will do the book justice.

With five equally splendid films with drastically conflicting genres, we believe that it will be an extremely tough fight for Best Picture at the Oscar’s this year. That brings us to the question, what makes a film Oscar worthy? Is it the script? The collective acting of the cast, the cinematography, the editing, or just that unexplainable spark that some filmmakers can just catch? It’s hard to say what makes a good film but we believe it’s the passion of the team behind these films that make it work.

If you got the passion, NFFTY wants your film! Submit your films today and who knows? You might be on your way to an Oscar.

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