Oscar Moment: “Shutter Island”

8 06 2010

Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island” hits stores today.  While in theaters, the movie garnered pretty good reviews and made a nice sum at the box office on some pretty nice legs.  But could it get any serious Oscar nominations like Best Picture even though it was released in February?

It’s 67% on Rotten Tomatoes isn’t exactly stellar and would definitely put it in the longshot category with a field of five nominees.  But we live in a new era of Best Picture, and there are ten nominees now.  67% was good enough to make the cut last year, as “The Blind Side” showed us.  61% was even good enough in 2008 when “The Reader” slipped into a field of five.  And although scores are a little less accurate for older movies, “Out of Africa” won Best Picture in 1985 and now has a 61% fresh rating.

So based on its critical standing, a nomination is not completely out of the question.  But what about looking at “Shutter Island” financially?  It’s $127 million take is impressive for a February release, and it will surely help to keep the movie ingrained somewhere in the back of the minds of voters.  More importantly, the money helps to establish it as a fan favorite as well.  Many suspected that the move to 10 Best Picture nominees was to include more populist and mainstream movies, a suspicion that was vindicated when half of the nominees earned over $100 million dollars.  The money is probably what got “The Blind Side” into the race, a movie that had been little more than a blip on the radar during the season.

Although “Shutter Island” is much more Academy-friendly than “The Blind Side,” it did not meet the expectations many people have of a movie that bears the name of Martin Scorsese.  According to Rotten Tomatoes, it is his lowest-rated movie since “Boxcar Bertha” nearly 4o years ago (in the pre-“Taxi Driver” era).  This is where the box office performance and good reception by the fans will help.  It did a good job of keeping an audience, staying in the top 10 for a tremendous seven weeks and having an average drop of about 40% per weekend.

Speaking of Scorsese, it will be interesting to see how the Academy treats him now that they have finally given him the long overdue trophy.  They used to love nominating him but never awarding him.  Now, it’s a new chapter for Scorsese and the Oscars with new rules.  After giving Clint Eastwood his due for “Million Dollar Baby,” the Academy has been flaky on the director ever since.  He was nominated for Best Director in 2006 for “Letters from Iwo Jima” but found no love for “Gran Torino” and little for “Changeling” and “Invictus” in the years afterwards.  So will Scorsese still be lauded for the follow-up to his Oscar-winning work like Eastwood was, or will the Academy fast-forward to the snubbing stage?

I’m also wondering if Leonardo DiCaprio has a chance at Best Actor.  He has three nominations dating back to 1993 and no wins to show for them.  He is one of the finest actors of our generation, and his collaborations with Scorsese have raised his acting to great heights.  DiCaprio has received one nomination for a Scorsese movie to date, “The Aviator” in 2004, and maybe it’s time to make it two.

I can see “Shutter Island” being the “Inglourious Basterds” of 2010.  Both have respected pedigrees, made respectable sums, and did respectably with critics (while “Basterds” scored an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, initial reception at Cannes was not quite so favorable).  Few people thought Tarantino’s film would have much success in awards season, but it was just a movie that everyone really liked and could agree on.  Its inclusion didn’t offend many people because it wasn’t a very polarizing choice.  “Shutter Island” could easily follow in its footsteps.


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10 responses

8 06 2010
CMrok93

I can see this, but yet, it was released early on in the year, and Oscars tend to look past that, but you may have something going here. So I’m def interested into see if this happens or not.

8 06 2010
Dave Diggler

Shutter Island has no chance either at the Oscars or the BAFTAS. Crash was released early in the year with much admiration from Academy voters & went on to win Best Picture so there is precedent as far as release dates go. But Shutter Island is widely regarded as nobody’s idea of a masterpiece. Scorsese already has his sought after Oscar on the back of another mediocre movie called The Departed. I can tell you now The Academy will not feel any any obligation to repeat the same trick twice.

8 06 2010
Castor

Even I loved Shutter Island, I have to side with Dave here. I doubt it even gets a single nomination at the Academy Awards

8 06 2010
Marshall

I’m not necessarily saying that my theory will play out, but I’m just not dismissing it as a possibility. Keep in mind that my readers thought that Mickey Rourke could get an Oscar nomination for “Iron Man 2” … I just like to throw out some what ifs and why nots. They never hurt anyone.

8 06 2010
Dreher Bear (...Where The Buffalo Roam)

It’s the Oscars, anything is possible (good or bad).

9 06 2010
Dan

I wouldn’t discount the film for an Oscar – perhaps not Best Film but you never know. I feel Scorsese has been doing some of his best work over the last few years after a lull. The Departed was terrific.

9 06 2010
Frank Mengarelli

I know I’m not very popular with this, but Shutter Island was a weak film, the only reason it really did get the positive reviews it did is because of Scorsese. This was a film that I felt so cheated by. I am a bigger Scorsese fan than anyone else I know, and I just was so let down by this film, after trucking through it – I was disgusted by the ending. I’m sorry but I was. I don’t think this will get any nominations what-so-ever. Maybe an aesthetic nomination, but no way near best picture, director, or actor – and to be honest, I don’t think it deserves it (and I’ve said the same about The Departed, that was the mother of all make-ups).

That being said, I think Ted Levine should get a Best Supporting Actor nomination for the film. Seriously.

10 06 2010
Marshall

I can see why people might say that for “Shutter Island,” but for “The Departed?”

Those are fighting words. “The Departed” may very well be my favorite movie of all time.

10 06 2010
Frank Mengarelli

I like The Departed a lot, don’t get me wrong, I like everything about it. I think where my shittiness towards it comes into play is that it was the only Scorsese film that won all the Oscars.

10 06 2010
Marshall

I get it, you’re angry that because they didn’t give much love to “Taxi Driver” or “Ranging Bull” (or maybe even “Goodfellas,” depending on where your line for recent starts) that the awards for “The Departed” felt more like a sympathy/achievement award than a reward for his best work.

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