The last time around for Ethan Hunt seemed like good-bye. The good folks behind the Mission: Impossible franchise gave the fourth installment a big clunky subtitle — Ghost Protocol — to differentiate it from the last few, and then appeared to be grooming Jeremy Renner to take over. But, as we all should have learned a long time ago, you cannot kill Tom Cruise. Ghost Protocol raked in nearly $700 million worldwide, the best a Cruise movie has ever done, and now Tommy's been invited back once more. As Deadline reports, Cruise is confirmed for Mission: Impossible 5. (No word on who else will be onboard, or who's directing, although Deadline speculates it'll be Christopher McQuarrie, who did Jack Reacher with Cruise.)
Names of every Tom Cruise character: Ethan Hunt (four times), Stacee Jaxx, Roy Miller, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, Les Grossman, Senator Jasper Irving, Ray Ferrier, Vincent, Nathan Algren, Chief John Anderson, David Aames, Frank T.J. Mackey, Dr. William "Bill" Harford, Jerry Maguire, Lestat de Lioncourt, Mitch McDeere, Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, Joseph Donnelly, Cole Trickle, Ron Kovic, Charlie Babbitt, Jack (named Jack in three different films), Brian Flanagan, Vincent Lauria, Maverick, Stefen Djordjevic, Joel Goodsen, Steve Randle, Cadet Captain David Shawn, Billy, Woody. IMDb currently lists Cruise's next film as Top Gun 2 — so stay tuned on more info about that.
In covering the Oscar race so far, I’ve tried to focus on movies that have already opened. But this week, I’m tossing that approach, because effective immediately, the attention of the Oscar-punditry universe swivels decisively forward. The last eight weekends of 2011 will bring more than two dozen movies with aspirations as modest as a single acting nomination and as grandiose as sweeping the slate from Best Picture to Best Makeup.
So from now until year’s end, the goal of every contender that opened before November 1 is simply survival. Think of the next two months as a tidal wave, and of early hopefuls like Midnight in Paris, The Help, and Moneyball as trees along the shore line. Some of those trees will topple — and a couple of months from now, those still standing may look that much taller. Same goes for the movies in the big wave; some will arrive with obliterating force while others will weaken the closer they get. (Please take the above tortured analogy as my tribute to Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter.) With that in mind, this Oscarmetrics installment is a cheat sheet — a map of the parallel tracks of reality and hype along which the race will now proceed.