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Trailer Watch: Steven Spielberg's War Horse Looks Like Oscar Bait

by Anne Thompson
June 29, 2011 8:29 AM
6 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood

It's going to be Spielberg vs. Spielberg at the Oscars this year. That is, assuming that both his December openers, wide-release The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn and platformed drama War Horse, wind up inside the Oscar wheelhouse. The most popular filmmaker of our time, Spielberg has won some and lost some where the Oscars are concerned--best picture winner Schindler's List is the exception that proves the rule.

While Tintin could wind up playing young and earning kudos for its eye-popping visuals and tech accomplishments, Spielberg's PG-13 film version of the heart-tugging Word War I drama War Horse, adapted by Lee Hall and Richard Curtis from Michael Morpurgo’s novel and subsequent West End stage play (now wowing theatergoers on Broadway), looks like an Academy-friendly no-brainer. Why? It's got epic scope but plays out on a human scale; judging from the way I teared up, it's a four-hankie.

See the trailer below. The love story between a boy and his horse opens December 28 and widens in January.

[via HitFix]

6 Comments

  • Manuel | June 30, 2011 12:14 PMReply

    What a treat for film lovers to see two new Spielberg movies in the same month. For this I will not wait until the BluRay arrives.

    And I agree, this looks to be an important player in the next Oscar race with the impressive camera work and the apparently high quality drama it is based on - and I got shivers down my spine just from the first notes of the Williams soundtrack.

    (And @Proman: If the creator and writer of a blog appeared to be out of touch regarding the specific topic of that blog, I for one would stop reading it... Just saying.)

  • Mark | June 30, 2011 10:46 AMReply

    Have to agree with proman. It's sad that 90% of film criticism on the net is devoted to whether or not a film is '"Oscar bait", as if the Oscars have ANY credibility left anymore. CRASH over MUNICH, ROTK over MASTER AND COMMANDER, CHICAGO over THE PIANIST, THE DEPARTED over UNITED 93 (not even nominated!) ... the list goes on and on. The Oscars are ridiculous.

    And to all those who thought Super 8 was 'Spielbergian' take a long hard look at this trailer. If anything Super 8 was 'Colombusian' or 'Robbinsian' but in no way 'Spielbergian'. Critics should think more before they write, but they're too caught up in an endless loop of low-level malevolence one-upmanship and 24 hour MUST HAVE AN OPINION ON THIS IMMEDIATELY media/social network/internet blogging irrelevancy.

  • Brian | June 30, 2011 2:06 AMReply

    What's everyone raving about this trailer for?! It doesn't tell you anything about the movie. The only dialogue we hear is that old man speaking gibberish. What the hell is he TALKING about?! The rest is just sweeping crane shots and generic violin orchestration and shots of a boy, his horse and some soldiers. I don't know anymore about this movie than before I clicked "play" on the trailer. How is this Oscar bait? Spielberg is a master of pushing buttons without delivering any real substance and you've all just allowed him to push your buttons.

    Give me MY FRIEND FLICKA with Roddy McDowall.

  • Kaylie | June 29, 2011 11:46 AMReply

    I don't understand what Proman is so angry about. He thinks the movie will be amazing but is angry with Anne for suggesting that it will be an Oscar contender? Doesn't make much sense to me.

  • Randy | June 29, 2011 11:34 AMReply

    War Horse looks like an amazing movie *and* Oscar bait. I agree that the desired pure enjoyment of this film is why I'm looking forward to it, not its "Oscar chances."

    But I don't think Anne is "out of touch." You are reading an Industry blog and Anne writes largely about the Oscar race.

  • Proman | June 29, 2011 11:11 AMReply

    Anne the problem with people like you, apart from the fact that your are pretty out touch in general, is that you can only think in Oscar terms. War Horse, more than anything else, looks like an amazing movie and not Oscar bait.

    You know something, Toy Story 3 was Oscar bait too. And so is every movie Scorsese has made in the last decade+. Let it go. The movie looks amazing.

    This particular trailer was made to put people into theater seats. Remember that. The movie itself is going to be far more darker and interesting than it looks now.

    The reason this film will very likely do well, especially with the director’s branch (I am stressing this fact here) has nothing to do with it’s subject matter or prestige factor.

    No, it has to do with Confidence. This film has it. It comes through every frame. Not the fact that it looks a certain way. There are films where directors expriment and try things and it comes out looking beautiful. This director just DOES. And it is, definiely, absolutely a director’s film.

    Note how stylish this film is. And bold. It looks like no World War film (Spielberg or otherwise) that’s I’ve seen. He is going for a very specific look here and it’s a bold look and he is not pulling back. Absolute Confidence. Even in tiny 360p.

    That's what's so appealing to this viewer.

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