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.
Silver:Wanderlust’s plot is so simple that even if you turned the sound off on the trailer you’d still be able to piece together the narrative. But like any good comedy, it's all in the execution. Luckily here we have super producer Judd Apatow, director/co-writer David Wain (Role Models, Wet Hot American Summer), and a veritable who’s who of performers from the alternative (but now mainstream) comedy world. But for all this, Wanderlust’s trailer is not that funny. Let's hope this is just the marketers trying to paint the film as a broad comedy, and that Wanderlust delivers better than just trite R. Kelly jokes and recycled “awkward conversations while on the toilet” scenes.
Browne: Fun fact: I was in the library and had to watch this trailer on mute, and I still know exactly how this movie is going to play out. I'm surprisingly excited.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is an unquestionable hit. Since Friday, multiplexes have been packed with self-loathing, popcorn-stuffed humans all too happy to shell out $54 million of their rapidly disappearing dollars to cheer for their own extinction. And now, for Round 2 of its specious, antispecies crusade, Hollywood has adopted a more subtle strategy. It’s August, the month in which the most babies are born here in the USA. (It’s also the month in which the most sharks are irrationally feared, but that’s not important right now.) And so to head off any warm, fuzzy, fertile feelings we humans might be experiencing, the eu-geniuses in Tinseltown have recently unveiled three trailers, all of which should make birth-control sales — not to mention the popularity of Lord Varys — soar.