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Oscar season in half-full swing
Best Actress race shaping up to be one to watch
By TIMOTHY M. GRAY
Marion Cottillard is drawing attention for her 'La Vie en Rose' perf.
The year is half over -- so, in theory, the annual kudos season has seen 50% of its entrants. Of course, this is never the case, but if the first six months are any indication, the actress race is going to be the one to watch this year.
So far, Julie Christie in Lionsgate's "Away From Her," Marion Cotillard of Picturehouse's "La Vie en rose" and Angelina Jolie in Paramount Vantage's "A Mighty Heart" have earned awards buzz. Three serious contenders for five slots make for a lively start.
And while there are isolated possibilities in other categories, the only other race that's crowded is visual effects, thanks to pics such as Warner Bros.' "300," Sony's "Spider-Man 3," Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" and Fox's "Fantastic Four," with July bringing DreamWorks-Par's "Transformers" and WB's latest "Harry Potter."
The first six months of 2007 also offer clues from two festivals that are increasingly key to the awards season: Sundance and Cannes.
Last year, Fox Searchlight acquired "Little Miss Sunshine" at Sundance and turned it into a B.O. and kudos winner. Will lightning strike twice? Searchlight came away from this year's Sundance with "Waitress" and "Under the Same Moon" (formerly "La Misma Luna"). Also at Sundance, the Weinstein Co. acquired the well-received "Grace Is Gone," starring John Cusack, and is sharing "Moon" with Searchlight.
The 2006 Cannes bowed several pics that went on to kudos attention, including Oscar best film contender "Babel." This year, there was a lot of buzz on the Croisette for two films that Miramax will release at the end of the year: the Coen brothers' "No Country for Old Men" and Julian Schnabel's "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." Also a hit there: Picturehouse's "The Orphanage," produced by Guillermo del Toro, who struck gold last year with "Pan's Labyrinth" at Cannes.
There are awards possibilities in other films from the first half of 2007, including Paramount's impeccable David Fincher drama "Zodiac," which may find a wider audience via DVD and screenings.
And while kudos buzz for "Away From Her" and "Mighty Heart" centers on the actresses, those films boast possible contenders in other categories, such as thesp Gordon Pinsent and writer-director Sarah Polley for "Away," and Michael Winterbottom's direction and John Orloff's script for "Heart."
Also worth remembering are Fox Searchlight's "Once" (particularly in the music races), Focus Features' "Evening" and Miramax's "The Hoax."
The first six months have also offered plenty of possibilities in the feature animation, docu and foreign-language races, but more on those at a future date.
Many of the above films may seem like awards darkhorses, but it all depends on what opens later this year. When "Gladiator" and "Crash" bowed, few declared them Oscar front-runners, but as the awards season progressed, their stock rose.
LA VIE EN ROSE opens in Singapore on July 26th
Monday, July 16, 2007
Reported by webmaster at 12:17 PM
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