I’m back with another edition of the Oscar Calendar’s Weekly Watchlist.
We have a new record at the box office, with The Avengers making $207 million, the highest opening weekend in history. Be warned, however, that this could actually turn into bad news for U.S. audiences, as The Avengers opened abroad first, and then hit domestic screens after its “buzz” was unstoppable. Will more films follow suit? It has long been the case that smaller films have opened in a few major markets on limited release, and then trickled out to the rest of the country over time. But American audiences typically enjoyed opening weekends for the big blockbusters. That all may be changing in a global market, as studios learn from The Avengers’ success and begin to build buzz elsewhere before releasing their films to the backwater that is the United States. Captain America is now part of a team, you see, and that means that more and more often he is going to get second billing (and second or third releasing!)
Speaking of films that won’t come to the United States for a while, the Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival has just ended, with Call Me Kuchu winning the jury prize, Chasing Ice taking the people’s choice award, and The Imposter winning the filmmaker’s choice award. Other winners included The World Before Her, The Law In These Parts, Tchoupitulas and and Meanwhile In Mamelodi. For more information on Hot Docs I recommend the excellent reviews at The Matinee and Big Thoughts From A Small Mind.
Another documentary, Caesar Must Die, won best picture, director and producer at the prestigious David Di Donatello Awards. Together with its win at Berlin, the Di Donatello award makes this the frontrunner to be Italy’s submission to next year’s foreign language Oscar race. Meanwhile, Alesandro Comodin’s Summer Of Giacomo and Lav Diaz’ Florentina Hubaldo CTE took the top prizes at the Jeonju International Film Festival, and the San Francisco International Film Festival awarded Policeman, The Exchange and Ok Enough Goodbye in its narrative category and It’s The Earth Not The Moon and Meanwhile In Mamelodi in the documentary race.
This week will see the opening of the Stuttgart International Animation Festival, and the following week kicks off the Cannes Film Festival and the Seattle International Film Festival
Those who follow the Oscar shorts races will note the following directors qualified for next year’s Oscar consideration over the past week:
1. Yan Giroux for for Surveillant
2. Julia Pott for Belly (animated)
3. Mich’ael Zupraner for Snow Tapes
4. Simone Massi for About Killing The Pig (Dell’Ammazzare Il Maiale) (animated)
While the documentary shorts don’t technically allow for qualification through festivals, it is also worth noting that Anna Nykyri’s Five Fragments Of The Extinct Empathy won the Hot Docs short award, with Dustin Guy Defa’s Family Nightmare also receiving special jury notice, and Willem Baptist’s I’m Never Afraid won in San Francisco.
At the commercial theaters, I expect The Avengers to continue its momentum, but the new releases that will be trying to unseat it include Dark Shadows, Girl In Progress, God Bless America, Hick, Tonight You’re Mine, Where Do We Go Now?, Nobody Else But You, A Bag Of Hammers, The Cup, Dragon Eyes, El Gringo, The Road, Romeo And Juliet In Yiddish, Small Beautifully Moving Parts, Stash House, Bonsai, Transit, The Philly Kid, Dangerous Ishhq and Yellow Submarine.
For more on what is coming up in the world of movies, be sure to check out the full Oscar Calendar, and let me know in the comments which of these films you are most looking forward to seeing!