Biutiful which won admirers and haters at Cannes --for the same reasons as director Alejandro González Iñárritu's past efforts have divided -- and China's Aftershock (2010), the country's first homegrown IMAX epic that was a huge hit this summer.
Biutiful is a drama about a man who is dying and his life is falling apart on his way to the grave. Javier Bardem won Best Actor at Cannes so it's definitely One to Watch as it were. Plus, we know AMPAS voters respond well to Iñárritu's specific brand of miserabilism since they've handed nominations to all three of his previous feature films: Amores Perros (Best Foreign Language Film) 21 Grams (acting nominations) and Babel (several nods including Best Picture).
The unusual trailer takes us backwards in time. I'm personally not much of a fan of disaster epics -- if I see New York City or Paris destroyed one more time in a movie. Grrrrr -- but will Oscar be? I mean, this won't have the science fiction silliness of something like 2012 and they do like a good historical epic.
At any rate, it's important to remember that no film is ever a safe bet in this particular derby since there are so many options and the voters actually have to watch the films (unlike other races where you can theoretically be nominated on goodwill and campaigning alone, no screenings necessary)
Have any of our international readers seen either of these films? Speak up if you have. Or prognosticate blindly in the comments. You know how we do.
Nathaniel's Oscar-Submission Reviews Thus Far
Thailand's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives