The Oscar Project
This weekend's releases are of two different worlds. First you have three wide releases that will all do very well at the box office in Bombshell (technically an expanded release), Cats, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. On the other side, the list of limited releases below is populated by old foreign films and documentaries that are getting small re-releases. I'm sure none of the major studios wanted to compete with the power of Disney's latest blockbuster and offering some of these old art films could drive people to smaller theaters if they are not interested in the big new releases.
As you'll read below, I think all three of the big releases this weekend will get at least a few nominations come Oscar time, but they will end up competing against one another in several categories so unfortunately they can't all win.
While this film was in limited release last week, the Bombshell drops in full force this weekend and it looks fantastic.
The posters are pushing the trio of Charlize Theron (Oscar winner and two time nominee), Nicole Kidman (Oscar winner and four time nominee), and Margot Robbie (Oscar nominee) as the headliners in this film, there is even more star power lurking right beneath the surface. Oscar winner Allison Janney and Emmy winner Kate McKinnon also grace the screen along with the Oscar nominated John Lithgow taking on the role of Fox CEO Roger Ailes. With this much star power, it's hard to see this film being anything less than stellar.
The subject may make some squirm, but in my opinion, that's exactly the reason why it's an important film to make right now. There are still reports of men in power taking advantage of women popping up even as we have begun to notice these reports more and more over the last several years. Even if this film doesn't fully address the problem, or even present any solution, the more that we can extend the conversation, the better.
I'll admit that I am probably the only person in the country who has never seen the Broadway musical that this is based on. I honestly don't even know the story and the only song I could name for you is "Memories." (Side note, I love the scene in Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl where every family performs this song.) All that said, I can recognize the production value in this film and understand that there are thousands of fans of the musical that will flock to see it this weekend.
This is another one with an all-star cast including the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Rebel Wilson, and James Corden. While I don't think that any of them will receive nominations for their roles in this film, I think it will be fantastic to see these names together on the screen.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
After 42 years, eight episodic films (I'm setting Rogue One and Solo aside for the moment), five different directors, and more stormtroopers than you can shake a lightsaber at, millions (if not billions) of fans around the world finally get to see how the "Skywalker Saga" will end.
To say this movie is going to be a big event may be underselling it just a bit. J. J. Abrams broke all sorts of box office records in 2015 with The Force Awakens. While some of those records have since been broken by Avengers: Endgame earlier this year, I think there is a distinct possibility that Star Wars grabs many of them back from Marvel with this film.
Even with the pushback against the previous film (The Last Jedi) I think this film is set up to tie up the series very well. Abrams has proven he can give the fans what they want, while at the same time driving the story forward. We have learned more about the new cast of characters in the last two films, while at the same time getting a taste of some of our old favorites, and that appears to be the case here as well. We even get a glimpse of some footage of Carrie Fisher as Leia once more, even though she passed away before the film began production.
I think C-3PO said it best in the trailer that he was "talking one last look...at my friends." So many people around the world have grown up with these characters and this feels like the last look we may get at these old friends on the big screen. Even people who have never seen one second of any of the films know who Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia are. These characters and this story is part of the broader culture, and the release of this film feels like something of an end to an era.
Will it be a perfect film? No. Will it answer every last question we have about that universe? Probably not. But that's part of the fun and why these films have endured for so long. They tell stories that anyone can relate to and do so in a way that allows the viewer to create their own stories within that world.
We know there will be other Star Wars films at some point down the road. We have the original programming on Disney+ beginning with The Mandalorian, but likely expanding in the future.
I'm just a film buff who wants to watch great movies. Where else to find the best, than the list of those nominated by the Academy each year?