Oscar Moment: “Robin Hood”

18 04 2010

The lineup for the prestigious Cannes Film Festival was announced on Thursday, but we have known for several weeks now that “Robin Hood” would open the festival. While screening out of competition, it still deserves serious talk as an Oscar contender.

If “The Dark Knight” was part of the reason that the Oscars moved to ten nominees, then they are still looking for that popcorn flick with enough brain to atone for their horrifying omission.  “Robin Hood” could be that movie.

It’s directed by someone who has plenty of respect in the filmmaking community, Ridley Scott.  He has been nominated three times for Best Director and has helmed a movie that won Best Picture, “Gladiator.”  It’s hard not to take a look at “Robin Hood” and see a few similarities.

It clocks in at just under two and a half hours – big, long movies have scored with the Academy in the past.  The length lends it that sweeping epic feel that the Oscars tend to love.  Then again, so did “Kingdom of Heaven,” Scott’s 2005 drama about the Crusades that had huge expectations and failed to meet any of them.  In fact, since his last nomination for Best Director with “Black Hawk Down” in 2001, all of his movies have been considered Oscar contenders – and flopped.  “Body of Lies.”  “American Gangster.”  “A Good Year.”  Is “Robin Hood” the movie to put Scott back on the Oscar track or veer him further off of it?

He has certainly teamed up with Academy Award winner Russell Crowe enough times to know how to direct the star; keep in mind that Scott directed Crowe to his Oscar win.  And this cast is filled with plenty of other extraordinary acting talents, namely Cate Blanchett (winner of the 2004 Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “The Aviator”) as Robin Hood’s female companion, Lady Marian.  He also has winner William Hurt and nominee Max Von Sydow in his arsenal – but is that enough?

For a blockbuster to be nominated for Best Picture, it has to be extremely well-written.  The screenwriter of “Robin Hood” is Brian Helgeland, who won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1997 for his work on “LA Confidential.”  He also wrote the adaptation of “Mystic River” and received another nomination.  But he has also written some duds, including “The Postman” which won him a Razzie for Worst Screenplay.  It’s hard to draw conclusions from such a polar career.  What will we be getting with his latest?

I have to quote Sasha Stone from Awards Daily here because she put it so eloquently: “…’Robin Hood’ is going to be a movie for right now. Wall Street catastrophes and corporate-owned health care – it has never seemed more like a divided country between rich and poor. And, as history has shown us again and again, that never works very well for very long. The people can’t really tolerate it.”  And Universal is really playing this angle up, recognizing “real-life Robin Hoods” who selflessly give back to the community.  Anyone can nominate one of these people, and that person can win up to $10,000.

But I’m just not feeling the buzz around “Robin Hood,” something that I think it really needs.  Otherwise, it seems doomed to underwhelm – critically, financially, and in respect to awards.  I think the only certainty is contention in the technical categories; we’ll just have to wait another month to see what happens with the bigger categories.

BEST BETS FOR NOMINATIONS: Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup, Best Sound Mixing/Editing

OTHER POSSIBLE NOMINATIONS: Best Picture, Best Director (Ridley Scott), Best Actor (Russell Crowe), Best Actress (Cate Blanchett), Best Original Screenplay

So, do you think “Robin Hood” is going to go the path of “Gladiator” or “Kingdom of Heaven?”  Are we looking at a potential Best Picture nominee or merely another summer popcorn blockbuster?


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3 responses

20 04 2010
Heather

I think it’s unlikely but not impossible, on the basis of it has Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe attached to it, not to mention Cate Blanchett.

If the year becomes a dude otherwise it’s not impossible to see this as doing something.

Still I feel it’s unlikely.

20 04 2010
Heather

I meant a “dud” but hey, if the year becomes a “dude” I’m cool too. Jeff Bridges last year was sexy so lets continue that theme of goodness.

21 04 2010
Gringo

To answer your poll question, HELL TO THE NO!
Russell Crowe needs a Tarantino-style makeover.
It’s been years since he made a movie worth watching and this Robin Hood project will not be the one to bring him back to the game.
Russell Crowe. Bleh.

Gringo
He Shot Cyrus

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