There was a time when “Another Year” seemed like not only a sure-fire Best Picture and Director nominee, but a legitimate threat to win them both. That was back in the summer after the Cannes Film Festival when it had all the buzz.
Fast forward two seasons and Mike Leigh’s movie is on life support, barely breathing in an awards season that has given the movie little love other than for Lesley Manville from the BAFTAs and National Board of Review. Mike Leigh’s direction and writing have gone basically unnoticed.
Now, the movie hopes to draw enough support from the Mike Leigh-loving Academy voters to get a nomination and salvage itself. I can’t say whether or not the movie merits a nomination as it has yet to open in Houston. But I can tell you that its prospects are slim.
Back in September when the Oscar race looked entirely different, I wrote an Oscar Moment piece covering “Another Year.” In it, I pointed out that the deserving factor could work to Mike Leigh’s advantage:
“… at 67, Leigh may be the beneficiary of ‘let’s-give-it-to-him-before-he-leaves-us’ syndrome in the Best Director category. If he’s nominated, he’ll be a big threat because he’s been there twice before and many will feel that he finally deserves it. Plus, according to Kris Tapley of In Contention, ‘to say the least, it’s Leigh’s finest hour in years.’”
The poll voters were split back then with half thinking it would be Leigh’s time and half thinking it wouldn’t be. Four months later, it seems almost certain that it will NOT be Leigh’s time.
I enjoy looking back and seeing what the race could have been.