It happens every year. Some film(s), stocked with a solid-to-high pedigree, from everything from actors to directors to subject matter, has to crash and burn. So, what films are most likely already fading from memory, or simply not "in" enough to make it big with the Academy? Quite a few, as is typical per every year. No, we haven't even seen the first major critics awards of the year, and there's always the chance that a certain film or performance will make a comeback, but in certain stacked categories, it doesn't look good. However, Robert Butler of The Kansas City Star seems to be convinced otherwise. In an article that ran today in multiple papers, Butler remains confident in a number of films that really ought to be taken out of the running. For whatever the reason, the article as it appeared in The Houston Chronicle only contained about half of the films. To be fair, the full list does have a number of likely contenders, but that still doesn't excuse the sheer amount of DOA entries on the list. And the losers are...
Conviction: Butler insists that both Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell should get nominations. I haven't seen the film, so I can't comment on should, but as far as will, the film's reception was so lukewarm that the only thing that can save Swank or Rockwell will be the critics awards. Rockwell has the better chance, seeing as this is the first time in recent years that Supporting Actor hasn't been dominated by buzz for one performance (Bardem, Ledger, Waltz). Swank faces a steeper battle, as 2010 is shaping up to be one of the most crowded years for Best Actress in a long while. With contenders in better received films like Black Swan, Rabbit Hole, Winter's Bone, and of course, The Kids Are All Right, along with dark horses like Halle Berry in Frankie and Alice, Swank's chances aren't looking great. Butler seems to be judging this film in terms of what he wants, instead of what makes sense.
Hereafter: Granted, Invictus didn't receive great reviews, but they were certainly better than this supernatural drama. To call the reception lukewarm is an understatement. Butler's fixation here is Bryce Dallas Howard's supporting turn, and though notices were generally positive for the actress, there wasn't exactly a consensus that she was deserving of awards. Factor in contenders like Dianne Wiest, Helena Bonham Carter, and Amy Adams (not as much of a sure bet, though), and Howard isn't exactly what one would call a front-runner.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: I've said it before and I'll gladly say it again: Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander is a character who deserves to be the star of a better series. As a character she's fascinating, but as far as Noomi Rapace's performance goes, it's a far cry from A) a great performance, B) in a foreign language, and C) not exactly flashy. If AMPAS does decide to nominate a non-English speaking performance this year, odds are it won't be this one.
Solitary Man: Butler claims that people who saw the film "can't shake Michael Douglas' turn." Only one problem: almost no one saw it. And I'm not talking The Hurt Locker-level lack of audience, I'm talking not even $10 million at the box office lack of audience.
Eat Pray Love: Thankfully Butler admits that the film itself won't go far, but he feels compelled to trumpet Richard Jenkins' performance. That's all fine and good, but remember, Butler starts off the article talking about front-runners, not "who deserves to be nominated." If Jenkins has a critical following out there for this performance, they've yet to make themselves noticeable.
The Ghost Writer: Butler seems convinced that Roman Polanski is a shoo-in for a Best Director nomination. This one's really a head-scratcher. The early release date all but killed the film's chances, and with so many potential contenders from the past few months, the likelihood of a nomination for Polanski is unbelievably small.
For Colored Girls: Yes, the performances were generally well-received, but again, there's too many potential contenders from well-received films in both lead and supporting actress. That, and Tyler Perry has yet to get on the good side of the Academy, and For Colored Girls didn't change that...yet.
The Karate Kid: I'm not sure what planet you have to be on to think that Jackie Chan has the potential to land a Supporting Actor nomination, but apparently Butler's been a resident for quite some time.