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The Oscar Contenders 2011

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by Vanessa ★ (subscribe)
WeekendNotes Chief Editor / Chief Writer / PR & Communications.
Published January 10th 2011
Just this week the new hosts for the 2011 Academy Awards were revealed and it was a great surprise to those in the industry, as the honour was given to two young actors; James Franco and Anne Hathaway, who are both predicted to be nominated this year, for their respective performances in 127 Hours (2010) and Love and Other Drugs (2010). It is a curious move by the Academy, who in recent years have given the prestigious gig to Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin in 2010, Hugh Jackman in 2009, John Stewart in 2008 and Billy Crystal on eight occasions.

Only a handful of the feature films expected to be nominated during the 2011 awards season have been released in Australian cinemas this year, most will be released in the first quarter of 2011. Here is a rundown of what films are tipped for Oscar glory.

Theatrical Poster - © Walt Disney Pictures


The Academy loves Pixar and Toy Story 3 (2010) received commercial and critical success worldwide. Toy Story 3 is a fitting end to the popular series of animated films and has a remarkable 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It is also number 23 on IMDB'S Top 250 Movies! Toy Story 3 was released on June 24, 2010, it is currently available on Blu-ray and DVD. Rated G. View the trailer here.

Theatrical Poster - © Columbia Pictures


The Social Network was the recipient of four prestigious National Board of Review awards; 'Best Film,' 'Best Director' for David Fincher, 'Best Actor' for Jesse Eisenberg and 'Best Adapted Screenplay' for Aaron Sorkin. Critic's love this film - it currently stands at an impressive 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. Fincher, one of Hollywood's most consistent filmmakers is long overdue for an Academy Award and this film has very much hit a chord with audiences - it currently sits at number 131 in IMDB's Top 250 Movies. This feature film was released on October 28, 2010. Rated M. View trailer here.

Theatrical Poster - © Warner Bros. Pictures


Inception was another smash-hit with audiences and critics in 2010. Directed by Christopher Nolan, this action/crime/mystery blockbuster sits at an impressive number 6 in IMDB's Top 250 Movies and 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. An intelligent thriller, Nolan, who also wrote the screenplay, is predicted to receive a 'Best Director' nomination and possibly 'Best Film' nomination. This feature film was released on July 22, 2010, and will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 8, 2010. Rated M. View the trailer here.

Theatrical Poster - © Summit Entertainment


Released in the shadow of Roman Polanski's arrest,The Ghost Writer received a lot of attention from critics and audiences. The tightly-knit thriller, starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan is well-regard by critics and could be the recipient of a number of nominations at the 2011 Academy Awards. View the trailer here.



Directed by David O. Russell, The Fighter is a boxing drama, based on a true story of "Irish" Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his brother, Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale). The feature film has won some favourable reviews, and looks to be Bale's best chance at an Academy Award, which he is long over-due for. Bale was recently the recipient of a National Board of Review 'Best Supporting Actor' Award. Wahlberg, who trained for two years for the role, is also expected to be nominated, Wahlberg previously was nominated for his role in The Departed (2006). The Fighter currently has no confirmed Australian release date. View the trailer here.

Theatrical Poster - © Paramount Pictures


True Grit (2010) is the latest from Joel and Ethan Coen, a remake of the 1969 western of the same name, directed by Henry Hathaway, starring John Wayne, Glen Campbell and Kim Darby. The remake stars Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin. This story of revenge has received an impressive 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes! True Grit will be released on January 20, 2011. It has yet to receive a rating. View the trailer here.

Theatrical Poster - © Focus Features


Sofia Coppola's very personal film Somewhere, was met with unfair criticism after it was awarded the 'Golden Lion' at the Venice Film Festival this year, as Coppola's friend Quentin Tarantino, was the Head of the Jury and was subsequently accused of favouritism. Still, the father/daughter drama, which marks the comeback of actor Stephan Dorff, has been met with positive reviews and Coppola, who received an Academy Award for 'Best Original Screenplay' for Lost in Translation (2003), may once again be nominated for 'Best Director,' after receiving a 'Special Filmmaking Achievement Award' from the National Board of Review. Somewhere will be released on January 6, 2011. It has yet to receive a rating. View the trailer here.



Darren Aronofsky's latest Black Swan (2010), a psychological thriller, is hotly tipped to garner nominations for lead actress Natalie Portman and Aronofsky for 'Best Director'. Currently Black Swan is 85% on Rotten Tomatoes and Portman's performance as a ballerina discovering her darkside, is being relished by critics (check out Mark Kermode's breathless review) and audiences alike. The film is greatly anticipated and will be theatrically released on January 13, 2011. It has yet to receive a rating. View the trailer here.



Can Danny Boyle repeat his Slumdog Millionaire (2008) success? All signs are pointing to yes, with his latest effort 127 Hours (2010). Based on a true story, the drama stars James Franco as Aron Ralston, the young mountaineer who was forced to take extreme actions, after being trapped in Blue John Canyon in 2003. This story of survival has been met with critical acclaim, particularly for Franco and also mass incidents of fainting , due to the realism of the amputation scene. 127 Hours currently has no confirmed Australian release date. View the trailer here.

Theatrical Poster © Lionsgate


Unusually there has been little buzz about Clint Eastwood's latest directorial effort Hereafter (2010), but another similarly themed drama making the rounds at festivals is Rabbit Hole (2011), directed by John Cameron Mitchell and starring Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart and Dianne Wiest. Based on the play by David Lindsay-Abaire, this intense drama, which received a standing ovation at this year's Toronto International Film Festival, looks to receive several acting nominations, after favourable reviews from critics. Rabbit Hole will be released on February 17, 2011. It has yet to receive a rating. View the trailer here.

Theatrical Poster - © The Weinstein Company


The historical drama The King's Speech (2010) has received universal acclaim for it's ensemble cast; Colin Firth as King George VI, Helena Bonham Carter as Queen Elizabeth, Guy Pearce as King Edward VIII and Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue. This film looks to be nominated in several categories this year. It will be released on December 27, 2010. It has yet to receive a rating. View the trailer here.



The Kids Are All Right (2010) is the film which could see four time Academy Award nominated actress Julianne Moore, finally walk away with the illustrious statue. This comedy-drama, directed by Lisa Cholodenko, has an all star cast including Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo, who is also receiving much praise for his role as Paul, the biological father of the children of Nic (Bening) and Jules (Moore). With 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, this film continues to receive rave reviews. The Kids Are All Right was released on September 9, 2010. Rated MA.View the trailer here.

Theatrical Poster - © The Weinstein Company


Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, have both received nominations in the past and according to critics Blue Valentine (2010), features outstanding performances from both actors. Directed by Derek Cianfrance, this romance-drama charts the troubled relationship between two star-crossed lovers. After receiving a NC-17 rating (X-rating) in the US, the film has received much publicity. Blue Valentine will be released on December 27, 2010. It has yet to receive a rating. View the trailer here.

Theatrical Poster - © Kick the Machine


Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010) surprising won the Palme d'Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival; Des hommes et des dieux (Of Gods and Men) (2010), was the favourite to take out the top prize, (instead it received the Grand Prix). Another Cannes favorite was Another Year (2010), directed by Mike Leigh. All three of these features continue to generate Oscar buzz and disappointingly only Another Year, has received an Australian release date - January 27, 2010. It has yet to receive a rating.



I Love You Phillip Morris (2009) is an underdog in the Oscar race. It has yet to receive an Australian release date (only screening as part of the 2010 Melbourne International Film Festival), despite starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor. The edgy drama-comedy features excellent performances from both it's leads and was released across Europe in the first quarter of 2010. View the trailer here.
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