As a general rule, we try to steer clear of “Oscar blogging” this far ahead of the game — it’s a subset of online film writing that too often amounts to announcing that any fall release that generates a fair amount of early-screening praise is suddenly an awards contender that is totally, unexpectedly changing the game. It’s become a pretty silly ritual that we all go through every fall, particularly as more moviegoers and writers come to realize that the Oscars are an essentially meaningless horserace that seldom if ever genuinely reflects what is actually the best of the current cinema.
But gauging trends among the fall prestige pictures — the best foot that Hollywood puts forward every year — can be valuable; it gives us an opportunity to read the tea leaves a bit, to see what studios are hoping to accomplish, and what they would at least like our perception of them to be. And that’s maybe why this year’s Oscar pre-nomination race has become so interesting: because it’s so dominated by big studio releases. … Read More