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“Inception” Oscar campaign continues with arrival of DVD, Blu-ray – FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Are there 10 Best Picture slots because of Christopher Nolan? Possibly. Will Nolan benefit from the fact that there now are 10 Best Picture slots? Probably.

It has been discussed that one reason the Academy made the switch to 10 Best Picture slots over five is because mainstream, popular pictures that resonated with moviegoers were left on the outside looking in come Oscar nomination time.

Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” was used as the example of a film that many believed belonged in the Best Picture discussion in 2009, though it was bumped from the biggest category by the likes of “Frost/Nixon” ($18.6 million at the box office) and “The Reader” ($34.1M). Ask anyone their opinion today, and no one will tell you “The Reader” is a better film than “The Dark Knight.” No one.

Fast forward to the next year, and the Academy opens the Best Picture gates to include more accessible fare like “Avatar,” “District 9” and “The Blind Side.” Was it in response to the “Dark Knight” snub? Perhaps. But this year, the Academy has a fresh opportunity to make good, as it often likes to do.

Nolan’s “Inception,” which arrives on DVD and Blu-ray today, likely will compete for a Best Picture nomination when they are announced early next year. Yes, it’s partly to ease the sting of the “Dark Knight” omission. But it’s also because Nolan has crafted a beloved mind-puzzle, a dream-sprinting race across multiple subconscious that’s almost as thrilling as it is intelligent.

Putting a copy of the film in voters’ hands can only help, as “Inception” is a film you can not drift on for even a moment. You will be completely lost. However, having the ability to rewind, revisit, and even pause Nolan’s masterwork should help Academy members noodle through the twisty puzzles of the director’s mind.

So where will “Inception” compete? The technical categories seem to be a given, as Nolan pushed the boundaries of the visual medium to tell his imaginative story.

But as mentioned, with 10 Best Picture slots, I think “Inception” has a very good shot at getting into that race. It has the box office to back up a run – with $292 million in the bank, it’s currently the fifth-highest grossing film of 2010. It has critical support, boasting an 87% Fresh grade on Rotten Tomatoes.

And it’s going to go hard after other key categories, including Best Director for Nolan, Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio, and Best Original Screenplay. The next step in the film’s ongoing Oscar campaign continues today with the arrival of the DVD and Blu-ray. Expect it to continue through January when nominations are announced.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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One Comment

  • December 7, 2010 | Permalink |

    I do like “The Reader” more than “The Dark Knight.

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