Smell of Popcorn

film reviews & musings by Max Lalanne

Oscar Musings: J. Lawrence & ‘Hunger Games’

Posted by Max Lalanne on July 7, 2012

No use dilly-dallying here – I’m of the strong opinion that Jennifer Lawrence deserves an Oscar nomination for her role as Katniss Everdeen in “Hunger Games,” and thus I’ll kick off my Oscar Musings feature with her case. It wasn’t an outstandingly flashy performance, but it was a good, tough, meaty one where she sunk her teeth into and powerfully conveyed the necessary gravitas required, without making it a bore to watch. She carried “Hunger Games” alone on her shoulders without making it seem so, and did it the best anyone could with the role, even when partnered up with the not-bad-but-not-excellent performance of Josh Hutcherson and, don’t remind me, the screentime wasted with the awfully stiff Liam Hemsworth. If Lawrence’s singular performance is isolated from everything else in the movie, she would get at least something nice from the Academy or the Golden Globes, because she’s one marvelous, über-young actress.

But then again, that’s probably the foremost reason not to reward Lawrence. At the tender age of 21, she’s already been nominated for a best actress Oscar in 2010 for the raw Sundance indie “Winter’s Bone,” and made quite a splash everywhere else. My point is, basically everyone knows she’s a one talented actress, and that she has quite a fruitful career ahead of her no one can deny. It’s easy to say that the voters might be holding out on such a teen-oriented blockbuster, like “Hunger Games” is, in favor of a more sophisticated indie that Lawrence will most certainly do in her future, and I don’t have a feeling it’ll irk many people and create such an outburst that the Academy is lambasted for being “out of touch” more than it is already. (David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook,” out 11.21, has Lawrence alongside Bradley Cooper but doesn’t seem to be a giant Oscar role for her. Supporting actress?)

As well for “Hunger Games” itself, well, it was obviously never intended to be awards bait and probably won’t be – we’ll even see if Lionsgate will push for it to become a serious contender beyond the minor technical categories, such as sound editing/mixing, costume design, makeup/hair. (Sorry, Woody Harrelson, I don’t see “Hunger Games” winning you an Oscar nod.) It’ll certainly won’t be considered for best cinematography at all, and best director neither, even if Gary Ross did a fine enough job adapting the story. Visual effects, well, it didn’t have any breathtaking moments unlike some of the other competitors (I’m thinking “Prometheus” here, folks). But how about in the big leagues – best picture, and best adapted screenplay? Yes, best picture certainly seems a far shot for “Hunger Games” stacked up against, for example, “Les Misérables” or “The Master,” but best adapted screenplay might be interesting to follow…

I certainly can’t be the only person out there who believes Lawrence should get an Oscar nomination again. But perhaps what will make the voters fatally pause and cause her undoing will be “Hunger Games” itself, which might not even get than one or two tiny nods when the 85th Academy Awards come rolling round the corner. I have faith, and hope, though. And may the odds be ever in Lawrence’s favor.

Possible Oscar nominations for “Hunger Games”
Best picture – 30/70 chance, no
Best actress – 50/50 chance, yes(?)
Best adapted screenplay – 40/60 chance, no
Best visual effects – 40/60 chance, no
Best sound editing & mixing – 70/30 chance, yes
Best editing – 40/60 chance, no
Best costume design – 60/40 chance, yes
Best makeup/hair – 60/40 chance, yes
Best original song – 50/50 chance, yes(?)
Best art direction – 40/60 chance, no

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One Response to “Oscar Musings: J. Lawrence & ‘Hunger Games’”

  1. Although I thought she did a fine job in the film, I’d be surprised if she earned the nomination. I think your odds for the technical categories are spot-on, though.

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