Awards Chase

Each Monday through the week of the 2016 Academy Award nominations in January, Take 2 is handicapping the Oscar rush with The Award Chase. To keep up with the chase, read past posts here.

Award season can be a tricky time as some movies that have yet to be seen or have not earned early buzz suddenly become a big deal. And there is no one benefiting from this more this season than Brad Pitt.

Brad Pitt in "By the Sea." (Universal Pictures)

Brad Pitt in “By the Sea.” (Universal Pictures)

It was well known that Pitt will be starring with and directed by his wife Angelina Jolie in “By the Sea,” about a married couple whose union is crumbling in 1970s France. Pitt, an Oscar-winning producer for “12 Years a Slave,” is backing this project as well.

What comes as a surprise is as “By the Sea” is set to open AFI Fest for its world premiere Nov. 5, Pitt will also plug a second film that will close festival, “The Big Short.” Co-starring Christian Bale, Melissa Leo and half the cast of 2011’s “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” – Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell and Marisa Tomei – the film focuses on the housing crisis in the early 2000s. With so many Academy Award winners and nominees in this movie, the expectations are high, but the timing is questionable, only debuting a trailer last week and slated for a Christmas release. However, “The Big Short” has some legacy as is it an adaption of a Michael Lewis-penned book. Lewis wrote “Moneyball,” which was made into a Pitt-starring and -produced vehicle, and “The Blind Side.”

Left to right: Steve Carell plays Mark Baum and Ryan Gosling plays Jared Vennett in "The Big Short" from Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises.

Left to right: Steve Carell plays Mark Baum and Ryan Gosling plays Jared Vennett in “The Big Short” from Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises.

In recent years, the AFI Fest has become a game-changer. Last year, it was where “Selma” and “American Sniper” began their campaigns.

Other developments

  • “The Walk” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as tightrope artist Philippe Petit, opened the 53rd New York Film Festival on Saturday. Since 2010, three of the last five opening films (“The Social Network,” “Life of Pi” and “Captain Phillips”) have been nominated for best picture. A fourth film, “Gone Girl,” earned Rosamund Pike a best actress nod. Early reviews applaud the technical aspects of Petit’s walk between the Twin Towers, but little love has been shown toward the story’s buildup. “The Walk” will have an early IMAX run starting Wednesday before opening wide, including a run at Regal Dickson City Stadium 14 and Imax.
  • Also at NYFF, Kate Winslet will be honored at this year’s “An Evening With …” benefit Oct. 6. She is promoting the Centerpiece title, “Steve Jobs.” Previous honorees include Nicole Kidman, Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett, who would later earn her second Oscar for “Blue Jasmine.” Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and Apple CEO Tim Cook exchanged words after Cook criticized the motives behind the movie. Sorkin has since issued an apology.
  • “Sicario” continues its momentum at the box office, cracking the top 10 this weekend and  earning an estimate $1.8 million in only 59 theaters. As mentioned previously, a sequel is already in the works centering around Benicio Del Toro’s character.
  • The deadline for foreign language submission is Thursday. Among some of the interesting developments is France’s choice. “Mustang,” a drama about five Turkish sisters on the verge of womanhood, beat heavily favored and Palme d’Or winner “Dheepan.” See what movies have been submitted so far here.

Overall, there are very few changes to the chart. “Sicario” has jumped four spots to No. 3 and “Steve Jobs” moved up three spots to No. 8. “The Walk” joins the list at No. 18. “Mad Max: Fury Road” took the biggest fall. Expect more movement as NYFF continues this week. To see how each movie breaks down in each category and how the point totals are determine, view this spreadsheet.

Rank

Title

Point Total

1

“45 Years”

4.25

2

“Carol”

4

3

“Sicario”

3.95

4

“Room”

3.75

5

“Beasts of No Nation”

3.75

6

“Spotlight”

3.6

7

“Brooklyn”

3.6

8

“Steve Jobs”

3.35

8 (tie)

“Son of Saul”

3.35

10

“Inside Out”

3.3

11

“Macbeth”

3.2

12

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

3.1

13

“Black Mass”

2.9

13 (tie)

“The Danish Girl”

2.9

15

“The Martian”

2.8

16

“Straight Outta Compton”

2.5

17

“Joy”

2.3

18

new

“The Walk”

2.25

19

“Bridges of Spies”

2

20

“The Revenant”

1.8

20 (tie)

“The Hateful Eight”

1.8