October 25, 2016
        Mel Gibson to be Honored with the Hollywood Director Award at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Michael Moore drops a surprise new film with "Michael Moore in TrumpLand"                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar        

Is “Contagion” an awards contender? – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Can Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion” get into the annual awards discussion? Is it even going to try?

Most of you reading probably didn’t even think that Soderbergh’s star-studded virus thriller, which opens everywhere Sept. 9, would be called a possible Oscar contender. For one, the release date’s kind of in that void between festivals. Also, it appeared to have more in common with an end-of-the-world summer blockbuster than an intelligent, art house awards aspirant.

Then the film was programmed in Venice. Then one analyst wondered if Warner Bros. was going to follow an awards blueprint laid out last year by Ben Affleck’s “The Town,” which managed an Oscar nom for Jeremy Renner. And now the film is getting very good reviews. Are the pieces falling into place for an Oscar push?

“With simmering tension and some memorable acting performances by a stellar cast, Soderbergh’s disease thriller is worth catching,” THR writes.

Then again, IndieWire writes that while good, Soderbergh’s film “felt more like a superior studio thriller than a festival awards contender.”

As we wait for the awards race to play out, with some films moving up and others falling back, will there be a spot at the table for “Contagion?” Is “The Help,” which continues to perform well at the box office, the mainstream movie of choice that gets into this year’s Best Picture race? Or will we still be talking about both come January?

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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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