Sunday, November 21, 2010

Black Swan: Predicting It Not To Be Nominated For Best Picture

Earlier in the month I did a best picture prediction ranking, and of all films that received comments, it was the low ranking of Black Swan on my list (#22) that raised eyebrows.
Understandable since some have suggested this a likely contender, such as Justin Chang from Variety who wrote:
Still, if its appeal to ballet enthusiasts and thriller fans translates into a solid B.O. foothold, the Fox Searchlight release could find itself among the 10 picture nominees.

But Justin caveats his statement with the suggestion it needs a box office embrace from ballet and thriller enthusiast. That could be challenging to capture both those audiences.

And I guess, a lot of my apprehension with the film more than the Box Office or unique genre of ballet thriller comes from the fact that this film seems like it will be polarizing in the same way all of directors Darren Aronofsky's films have been.

Aronofsky has never directed a best picture nominated film. That being said, that hasn't kept his films off top 10 list or fan favorite lists. It just means his films don't have the broad enough appeal needed to gain consensus.

Aronofsky's previous films include: The Wrestler, The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream, and Pi.

All loved by niche film fans, but not box office champs or Oscar darlings.

Although, where I think Aronofsky may find himself succeeding is in creating and directing performances that earn love and support from the acting branches. Many have embraced Ellen Bursyn's performance in Requiem for a Dream or Mickey Rourke's in The Wrestler. And I have to believe that it will be a good year for Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, and maybe even Barbara Hershey, Vincent Cassel and Winona Ryder. I believe the performances will be embraced way ahead of the movie.

But when it comes to filling out Oscar ballots, this film will either show up as the Number 1 or 2 film, or not at all, and instead...I believe...that less than cult favorite films could slip into the top 10 spots before this one as a result.

Here's an alternate opinion if you want to read someone who would disagree: "It's Official: Black Swan is an Oscar Conteder" by Julian Stark of Movies and Other Things.

Pictured above Natalie Portman and Vincent Cassel in Black Swan.


joe burns said...

I think it could be nominated, but it's a shaky chance.

Natalie is a strong Best Actress contender though.

Castor said...

You know, the more I hear about Black Swan, the less I'm interested in it. This movie and Portman's performance are just the type of film and acting that critics and others pundits love to rave about collectively.

Lorna said...

I'm keen to see it---makes me nostalgic about Red Shoes and White Nights just to think about seeing it.

Anonymous said...

If The Wrestler had been released in a year in which ten films were nominated for Best Picture, it would have been nominated for Best Picture.

And box-office success is definitely necessary in order for a film to be nominated for Best Picture. Take The Hurt Locker, for instance. Oh. Wait a minute.

RC said...

@joe, way to sit on the fence :-) I agree about Natalie as well.

@castor, i feel like the concern for low box office will enduce critics to rave more than the film is worth. Maybe it's great, i'm just super skeptical.

@ Lorna, you'll have to give us your thoughts after seeing it.

@anon, if it's not box office, then it'll have to have HUGE critical support that carries through months of awards season, like we saw with The Hurt Locker. I think there was a "contemporary topic" vibe that also helped The Hurt Locker and we don't have that here.

Anonymous said...

Still holding on to your Black Swan hate? It was just included among the top five dramas by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Not to mention, it was recently recognized by the NY and LA film critics and the American Film Institute.