“Steve Jobs” takes the Centerpiece slot at the New York Film Festival this year

Steve Jobs Michael Fassbender
Hot on the heels of the New York Film Festival announcing Don Cheadle’s Miles Ahead as its Closing Night Selection (to go along with Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk as its Opening Night pick), we now know what the Centerpiece will be, and it’s a big one. Despite some buzz about a few other titles, it’s the hotly anticipated biopic Steve Jobs, which is directed by Danny Boyle, written by Aaron Sorkin, and stars Michael Fassbender. Talk about A-list star power, right? Since it was announced, this has been pegged as a big time Oscar hopeful, so landing one of the coveted three big spots at NYFF has done nothing to dissuade me of that notion.

If you somehow don’t know who Steve Jobs is, this biopic should give you a sense of how important to the current technological culture he is. This look at the Apple innovator is as much about his legacy as his life, with the focus being on various important moments in time for the man. It’s based on the bestselling book on Jobs, with Oscar winners Boyle at the helm and Sorkin having done the adaptation. After a long search, Fassbender wound up in the title role and appears to be excellent, judging by the trailer from about a month or so ago. The A-list cast also features Jeff Daniels, John Ortiz, Seth Rogen, Sarah Snook, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston, and Kate Winslet. As such, it’s pretty much Oscar bait from the word go, perhaps rightly so too.

Much like I said a few days ago: getting to be one of the top three at NYFF is a big deal for any flick. The Centerpiece slot is usually a bit more of a wild card, but it’s had a solid relationship with the Academy. Over the past 15 years, there have been both hits and misses, but by and large it’s usually things Oscar would look kindly upon. Just look at what last year’s pick for the middle of the fest was…Inherent Vice. Enough said on the wild card part, though it did wind up with some nominations. Below you can see what the past 15 years (including this one) have looked like with this particular slot at NYFF:

2015 – Steve Jobs
2014 – Inherent Vice
2013 – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
2012 – Not Fade Away
2011 – My Week with Marilyn
2010 – The Tempest
2009 – Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
2008 – Changeling
2007 – No Country for Old Men
2006 – Volver
2005 – Breakfast on Pluto
2004 – Bad Education
2003 – The Fog of War
2002 – Punch-Drunk Love
2001 – Mulholland Drive
2000 – Pollack

Some flops for sure, but a Best Picture winner as well, so that’s something…

Steve Jobs Michael Fassbender 3

Now, in terms of Steve Jobs this year, this looks like easily one of the biggest awards players that NYFF has had in this spot, aside from No Country for Old Men and Precious. Last year’s Inherent Vice was also considered far more of a contender than a pretender as well, so this could be a signal that all three slots at the fest are Academy launching pads now. I’d be shocked if the film wound up being shut out, mainly because I know that it’s already being screened for regular audiences to drum up anticipation, buzz, and early word of mouth.

Awards wise, the possibilities here are vast. Best Picture obviously is where to begin, with Best Director (for Boyle), Best Actor (for Fassbender), Best Supporting Actor (for either Daniels or Rogen), Best Supporting Actress (for Waterston or Winslet), Best Adapted Screenplay (for Sorkin), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score. The ones to focus on, I think, are Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor (my hunch is that Rogen could surprise), Supporting Actress (though I don’t know which one…maybe Waterston?), and Adapted Screenplay. Those are the categories with the most potential, though right now I’d only bank on Actor and Adapted Screenplay being strong bets, give or take Picture as well. We shall see, though it’s possibly time to get a bit bullish with this NYFF news.

The one thing about this Centerpiece selection news to keep in mind/hedge your bets on is that it doesn’t quite have the track record for NYFF as the Opening and Closing picks do, as mentioned above. Steve Jobs certainly seems like a possibility to buck that trend though. Frankly, between this, Miles Ahead, and The Walk, it actually appears like the most overt Oscar player of the bunch. Time will tell, with an early October release date looming right around the end of the fest. Obviously, I’ll be bringing you more on both Steve Jobs and the New York Film Festival once the summer is over, so sit tight for that…

steve jobs Fassbender

Stay tuned for more on Steve Jobs and the 2015 New York Film Festival!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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