Oscar Moment: “Up In The Air”

4 10 2009

You’ve already heard me say my fair share about “Up in the Air,” but a new trailer was released and I couldn’t help myself.  This trailer gives us more information about the plot, yet it still leaves us with curiosity and excitement.

Most pundits are now calling “Up in the Air” the frontrunner for many Oscars including Best Picture.  They say this with confidence after the movie opened to unanimous critical acclaim at the Toronto Film Festival last month.  As I stated in a post a few weeks ago, I am really pumped for this to open.  If only George Clooney didn’t have two other movies opening in November, I could be seeing the movie a month earlier than I am forced to now.

I have already made a point to highlight Clooney and Reitman, so I will take this “Oscar Moment” to focus on the supporting cast.  Of these, the most prominently featured in the trailer is Anna Kendrick, who plays Natalie, the naive Cornell graduate assigned to shadow Ryan Bingham (Clooney).  I have not seen any of Kendrick’s previous work; some girls might recognize her from a certain movie that I refuse to mention (if forced to reference it, I will simply call it “the T-word”).  But Reitman wrote the part of Natalie specifically for Kendrick, so clearly she has chops.

Another supporting actress worth noting is Vera Farmiga, who plays Alex Goran, the frequent traveler of Bingham’s dreams.  Unlike Kendrick, I have seen one of Farmiga’s performances as the spellbinding lone female presence in “The Departed.” Like Kendrick, Reitman wrote the role especially for her.  From my limited vantage point, it would appear that Farmiga has the more daunting character to tackle because Alex seems to illuminate a sensitive side of Bingham through their encounters.

While having a great supporting cast makes for an outstanding movie, it can often prove troublesome around awards season.  In supporting categories, it is not unheard of to have two nominated performances from the same film.  But the supporting actress category is teeming with talent this year.  Mo’Nique is a virtual lock, and, barring a complete meltdown, “Nine” will most assuredly have one actress in the category (my money is on Marion Cotillard).  I see three possible scenarios for Farmiga and Kendrick, sorted below in order of probability:

  1. One of the women will emerge an audience favorite and will be nominated.
  2. The movie proves so unstoppable that both are nominated.
  3. Voters are split between the two and neither receives a significant enough showing to receive a nomination.

Most experts seem to be leaning towards the first scenario, and they think it will be to Kendrick’s benefit.  I have to say I agree because the Best Supporting Actress category has traditionally been one to reward young talent.  The second scenario seems more likely to play out in favor of “Nine” just because the actresses are already so established and loved (Winners Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz; nominee Kate Hudson).  I just love thinking about these types of situations because it means a lot of great performances and movies – who doesn’t want that?

BEST BET FOR NOMINATIONS: Best Picture, Best Director (Jason Reitman), Best Actor (George Clooney), Best Supporting Actress (Anna Kendrick and/or Vera Farmiga), Best Adapted Screenplay



2 responses

5 10 2009

Vera Farmiga has a starring role in this? Sold. I’m there.

5 10 2009

There has been a scene from the movie with Clooney and Farmiga floating around on the web for a while. I’ve refused to watch it, of course, in the interest of preserving the fun for the moviegoing experience. If you aren’t one of those purists, feel free to check it out and tell me what you think.

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