Is the next 'Argo' in this field?
05:00 AM, Mar 07, 2013
In their never-ending quest for Oscar gold, Hollywood’s top filmmakers are hoping history will repeat itself.
Best-picture winner Argo and fellow nominees Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty and even the musical Les Misérables showed that films based on politically driven historical material are likely to win some love from academy voters. And that has fueled the Oscar dreams of a number of forthcoming high-profile projects that tap into real-world material:
* Like Argo, the George Clooney-directed The Monuments Men (out Dec. 18) follows a true-life rescue mission as a group of art historians band together during World War II to recapture priceless paintings stolen by the Nazis before the Fuhrer has them destroyed. And maybe John Goodman will be a good-luck charm: The Argo cast member stars in this one, too, along with Clooney, Matt Damon, Daniel Craig, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray and Jean Dujardin.
*Captain Phillips (Oct. 11), a biopic directed by Paul Greengrass, tells the tale of seaman Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks), who was in charge of a ship hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009.
* Director Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave (no date yet) is based on the memoir of free black man Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who was kidnapped and sold into slavery for more than a decade.
* A pair of princess stories are poised to woo academy voters, led by Grace of Monaco ( Dec. 27), which features Nicole Kidman taking Grace Kelly from movie starlet to a highness of Monaco in the early 1960s. Another project with its eyes on the throne is Diana (no date yet), starring Naomi Watts as the popular British princess during the final two years of her life.
* Baseball royalty gets its day in the sun with 42 (April 12), which casts Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers exec Branch Rickey and Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson, who in 1947 became the first African-American to break into the major leagues.
* Foxcatcher (no date yet), from director Bennett Miller, stars Steve Carell as paranoid schizophrenic ornithologist and millionaire John du Pont, who murdered his friend, Olympic champion wrestler Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo), in 1996.
* Director Martin Scorsese digs into Jordan Belfort’s memoir about the rise and fall of a New York investment banker with The Wolf of Wall Street, with Leonardo DiCaprio as the man who gets involved with the sex, drugs and high life of a stockbroker. Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Dujardin and Kyle Chandler fill out the cast list.
* Argo’s movie-within-a-movie scheme also shows up in Saving Mr. Banks (Dec. 20). The film follows the journey of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) as her book is transformed into a 1964 film classic under the guidance of animation legend Walt Disney (Tom Hanks).
Of course, some other trend may pop up from out of the blue and rewrite Hollywood history next year, but for now Oscar watchers could do worse than to set their sights on a flying nanny with a spoonful-of-sugar resume.