Well, 2008 has come and gone and it is that glorious time where I take a shot in the dark and try to predict what the Academy will be liking in 2009. I always enjoy making these predictions, because there is nothing to go on except hunches and a little bit of history. And I like to focus more on hunches. 2009 has a lot to look forward to. New films from previous Academy nominees Martin Scorcese, Rob Marshall, Ang Lee, Michael Mann, Clint Eastwood, Terence Malick, Steven Soderbergh, James Cameron, Woody Allen and many more, plus many new studio and independent films by up and coming talents should make the 2009 movie-going season an interesting one.
There have been some trends that may be repeated at next year’s Oscars. It seems like every time Scorcese puts out a project, the Oscar alarms sound. His film Shutter Island may not find its way into the Best Picture category, but it will surely be present at next year’s Oscars. Clint Eastwood is also looking to get back on the Academy’s radar with his currently untitled Nelson Mandella project. This project can all but guarantee a nomination for Morgan Freeman as the historical icon, as well as likely supporting nods for the rest of the cast.
It seems like Matt Damon finds himself on many year-in-advance shortlists, but then is gradually removed as the year progresses. I’m crossing my fingers this year for Damon to get a nod either in the Best Actor category for Green Zone or The Informant, or in supporting for the Nelson Mandella movie.
Hilary Swank could be back on the Academy’s radar for playing Amelia Earhart. It has that biopic appeal that the Academy loves so much and could turn into this year’s The Aviator. Other biopics that could see acting nominees are Audrey Tatou in Coco Avant Chanel, Bill Crudup/Johnny Depp/Christian Bale in Public Enemies, and of course Morgan Freeman in the Nelson Mandella movie.
Also, some rising talent could establish themselves this year. One of the most anticipated films of the year is John Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize winning The Road. Hillcoat has a lot of pressure, but if he pulls it off, expect his value to skyrocket. We’ll also see great directors who have never been nominated for directing getting their chance for gold this year. Films from Wes Anderson, Mira Nair, Terry Gilliam, Richard Linklater, and the great Werner Herzog will all be on the 2009 repertoire.
So without further adieu, take a look at the year in advance predictions as they are now. They will be updated throughout the week.