I didn’t think it’d be this soon, but it seems like the 2013 Oscar Race is effectively “on”. Countless critics are already calling out their early favorites, and frontrunners have already been set. In a surprise turn, there’s been more than one instance of a studio pulling their film from an already heated and almost cannibalistic Oscar season, either to focus on promoting other projects or in the apparent case of George Clooney’s The Monuments Men, delay a film that’s just not finished.
According to the news that broke yesterday via the LA Times, Monuments Men is being pushed back to the first quarter of 2014. Clooney told the Times that he and his producers were “dying” trying to get the film finished in time. According to him most of the film’s technical aspects, including the film’s score and the visual effects, were nowhere close to being done. The production crew was apparently prepared for a 16-hour scoring session with a 110-piece orchestra before the delay was announced.
Clooney’s latest isn’t the only film to enter an Oscar-angst shuffle. Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street is likely to be pushed from November 15 until a Christmas release and Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher was pushed until 2014. The fact of the matter is, clear favorites have already emerged in this race, and certain movies just can’t stand up to the heat Alfonso Cuaron, Steve McQueen, and John Lee Hancock are giving off. According to other analyst’s late reports, Paramount’s shift of Monuments Men will also give the studio more room to promote Captain Phillips and American Hustle in the upcoming season, two films that will have far more clout than the studio had originally planned.
To me, this Oscar race is already about three different films: Gravity, 12 Years A Slave, and Saving Mr. Banks. Mark my words, Best Picture WILL go to one of these movies, and quite possibly all of your acting wins could be found there as well. I think Matthew McConaughey could step in for Best Actor in Dallas Buyer’s Club (he’s been due to have “his year” for some time) and Octavia Spencer could rush the stage for a surprisingly shallow pool of Best Supporting Actress contenders off of her role in Fruitvale Station.
I’ve not gotten to see Hanks’ performance in Phillips yet, but I’d be shocked if he doesn’t end up with some personal award for what looks to be two award-worthy performances. Personally, I’m hoping for a Titanic-style sweep-show for Gravity, a film that already has all the technical awards in the bag but deserves more praise than a technically-awarded film like last year’s Life of Pi. Bullock’s got the Best Actress and Cuaron’s getting Best Director, the Academy just needs to bring it full circle.
With all that said, I’m still surprised to see Monuments Men step out of the race. It seemed like a natural fit for the season and it looked like it was gonna be a real contender, but its departure will hopefully make room for some other noteworthy movies that might’ve been otherwise left in the cold. Plus, the surefire greatness of Monuments will be a fantastic treat in the middle of the absolute sludge of garbage movies we usually get in the January-February march. In all honesty, MORE movies should consider taking a note from Clooney’s playbook. The best news of all is Clooney’s relief and now extra time to make his film as great as it can be; as he said in his interview, “The good news for us is we’re really happy to buy ourselves a month. I can’t tell you how relieved we are.” For the rest of the contenders still standing, the heat is only rising.
Monuments Men will hit theaters sometime in the first quarter of 2014.