So far, so meh. I had high hopes for this award season contenders when they were just amuse bouches as trailers, but few if any are living up to expectations.
I suspect we might be seeing a minor cultural shift in entertainment preferences with this amicable, incestuous tug of war going on between premium TV and feature film. Theatrical releases are becoming the short stories, the scripted dramas the more satisfying epic novels. Like me, many people are downloading entire seasons and watching them back to back over a few nights, unless they can’t put the series down and pull marathon all-nighters to get them finished, just the way you might read a novel.
Not another elevator scene from Mad Men
Case in point: last week’s episode of Homeland. The interrogation scene between Damian Lewis and Claire Danes positively stomped a similar one inThe Master; by comparison, Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman seem like two puffer fish in a Mexican standoff over a choice piece of coral. Both scenes are meant to be showcases of psychological brinksmanship, performance, and the delicate art of making rather humdrum over-the-shoulder reverse-angle editing exciting.
In the spirit of reviewing upcoming films we haven’t seen just based on their trailers, we’re now going to start making early Oscar predictions the same way, nominations for Best Picture only until we actually see the films, at which point we’ll handicap the chances in all categories.