October 01, 2016

Oscars®: Muppets Most Wanted – What’s up with the 2015 Awards Race

Muppets Most Wanted 600x336

Directed by: James Bobin
Written by: James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller
Main Cast: Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey make up the main human actors, with various others voicing the Muppet cast members, plus cameos from tons of others in Hollywood
Past Oscar relations: The Muppets won Best Original Song (the song Man or Muppet was written by Bret McKenzie, who again is writing the songs here for Muppets Most Wanted)

Here is the next article in this new series on 2014 contenders hoping to compete for Oscar attention. Next (and second) up is James Bobin’s Muppets Most Wanted, which looks to capitalize on the prior films Oscar success (it won Best Original Song). The film is a sequel to the Oscar winning The Muppets, though this one is far more co-writer/director Bobin’s baby than last time, when he just directed and the vision was very much Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller’s (though Stoller still co-writes here). The spirit of the Muppets is still here though, as the gang goes on tour and has an international adventure that fits in very well with their past. Now, it’s going to hope that it can survive in our hearts and minds throughout the season and attempt to become another Oscar nominated Muppets movie.

What this flick has going in its favor is that it’s basically tailor made to receive a Best Original Song nomination. Many of the films in the franchise have showed up in that category, and this time around there are a number of catchy enough tunes to make it a very safe bet. The characters themselves are also just so charismatic and likable that you can’t help wanting to see more of them (remember the pseudo campaign to get them to host the Academy Awards telecast? I do), which is why whenever a new film of theirs comes out we talk about it as a potential dark horse contender for some bigger awards. I’m not sure about all of that this time around, but a Song citation seems likely to me.

Working against Muppets Most Wanted is that the movie is very slight and not anywhere near on the level of the last one (or the previous ones from years past). The movie is fun, but it feels like a sequel that mainly exists because the last one was successful, though cleverly they do comment on that very thing. Still, looking at this as any kind of a serious contender is probably overly optimistic thinking. Even the Best Original Song category is a fickle mistress, with the early release date not helping either. It’ll be an uphill battle for Kermit and company this year.

So, can this be a player at all? Frankly, unless the Golden Globes are feeling like going for it in their Comedy or Musical categories, the only Oscar place that Muppets Most Wanted can realistically compete in is Best Original Song. That being said, not only does it have multiple songs that could potentially get nominated, it could very well be the frontrunner in that category like its predecessor turned out to be. Well, you all will get to lay your eyes on the film this weekend and can begin to decide for yourself  if it’s some sort of a contender or a pretender…

Grade: Possible contender (though only in the Original Song category)

Stay tuned for another one of these next week!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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