Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Gold Standard Oscar Watch: 'The Martian,' 'Steve Jobs' and 'Bridge of Spies' make their cases By Glenn Whipp

Days are getting shorter, pumpkin spices are contaminating our coffee and beer, and the temperatures in L.A. are dropping into the 80s.All of which means it's high time to roll out the season's first Oscar Watch column, where, every Monday, I'll chronicle the smiles, the frowns, the ups, the downs of the film awards season, culminating with the Academy Awards in February.

'Bridge of Spies'

Steven Spielberg's Cold War thriller premiered Sunday at the New York Film Festival, but not as one of the event's prestigious opening, closing or centerpiece slots. That put expectations in check and, it would seem from the initial response, correctly so, as words such as "low-key" and "unassuming" were bandied about when the closing credits came up. There would appear, initially at least, to be a generation divide at work here with older critics, those who have been around long enough to remember, you know, the Soviet Union, showering the movie with respect and love, while the youngsters are having none of it, calling "Spies" a "schmaltzy bore." Fortunately for Spielberg and actors Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance (who has a showy role as a Soviet spy), the academy is made up of people predisposed to love this kind of classical filmmaking. And the story, chronicling lawyer James B. Donovan’s negotiations for the release of downed U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, is a stirring celebration of personal integrity ... with a Coen brothers co-authorship credit. There are going to be a lot of older academy members eager to line up behind that.   

Movie Info

Tom Hanks stars as the American attorney tasked with negotiating the release of a U-2 spy plane pilot who was shot down over Russia at the height of the Cold War in this historical drama from DreamWorks Studios. Steven Spielberg and Mark E. Platt produce a film written by Matt Charman. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi Los Angeles Times Rotten Tomatoes