George Clooney's 'The Ides of March': The year's first slam-dunk Best Picture nominee?

Ides-Venice

Image Credit: Elisabetta A. Villa/WireImage.com

The Ides of March, George Clooney’s latest directorial effort, has just premiered at the Venice Film Festival, and if you ask me, we now have the first sure-thing Best Picture nominee on our hands. A contemporary echo of Clooney’s multi-nominated 2005 drama Good Night, and Good Luck, Ides — an inside look at a fictional presidential campaign — is smart, but not overly complicated; cynical, but not completely depressing; and timely, but not forced. Plus, it boasts top-flight acting from its entire cast, including Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, and Evan Rachel Wood. I’d call it a great bet for director, adapted screenplay, and picture nominations, even if there are only five or six nominees next year. From the cast, meanwhile, the likeliest possibilities are Clooney, who’s riveting in a supporting role as a presidential candidate with a shocking secret, and Ryan Gosling, a definite Best Actor contender as a hotshot campaign strategist. Gosling also delivers a memorable lead performance in the violent thriller Drive, which will also come out this fall, and while that film will help cement his standing as the coolest young actor working today, I’d call Ides the stronger Academy film overall and therefore his better shot at a nod. (One of Gosling’s competitors, strangely enough, could be Clooney, who’s said to be terrific in Alexander Payne’s The Descendants.)

With Venice behind it, The Ides of March now travels to Toronto, where it will need to play extremely well. If there’s one thing the film has going against it, it’s timing, since it will open in theaters on Oct. 7, weeks before most of the year’s other top contenders. But for the early part of the season at least, it will dominate much of the awards talk. Follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for all the buzz out of Toronto and beyond.

Read more:
‘The Ides of March’ trailer: George Clooney and Ryan Gosling have a handsome-man political face-off
‘Ides of March’ face-off poster
My hero! Ryan Gosling (or, at least, someone that looks a lot like him) breaks up a fight in NYC


Comments (42 total) Add your comment
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  • mariela

    i don’t think so dude. check out the real critic’s reactions to this, you’re like the only person who thinks it’s this strong. everyone is saying it’s NOT as good as good night and good luck. you just like everything, don’t you?

    • ks

      He really needs to get over himself. GC mehh

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    • Plastic Jesus

      Which real critics are you talking about? Where are all these “mixed” reviews for The Ides of March that will keep it from being a lock for Oscar nominations? There’s only 7 (6 positive) on Rottentomatoes.com, none available at all Metacritic. How many critics in Venice did not like it? David Gritten of the UK Telegraph gave it 4 stars. Derek Malcom of The Evening Standard gave it 4 stars. I find found that Xan Brooks from the Guardian was “less impressed” and Tom Shone, a British critic, also didn’t like it. These reviews won’t hurt its chances at nominations.

  • Liz

    good to hear, I was an extra in one of the Michigan scenes :) Clooney is a nice guy.

  • Alex

    I don’t know what reactions your reading, but my indications were that the film was only halfway decent. It seems like almost every other Festival film will have to flop in order for it to get a nomination.

  • Denise Valletta

    Being a film about politics, ‘The Ides Of March’ will be a very important movie.
    I don’t understand why actors like Tom Cruise or Johnny Depp don’t do movies like this.

    • Manny

      $ $ $ $ $

    • Kiki

      There are lots of films about politics, but few of them are important movies, let alone “very important.” There really aren’t that many things so say that haven’t been said before, so these flicks usually come down to one of three stories: (a) noble person brought down by dirty politics; (b) noble person who turns to dirty politics, or (c) amoral person and his strategizing.

      • KERZMEN

        Great cgrovaee so far, Ryan. Your reviews, as always, are excellent. I am so much looking forward to both The Ides of March and The Artist and your positive responses to both fill me with hope. Hope you’re having a great time!

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  • Ben

    Is it a ‘serious human drama movie released after Labor Day’? Then it’s an Oscar lock for Best Picture, because 99% of the movies that won B.P. were serious human drama films released after Labor Day. It Happened One Night and Annie Hall were comedies and are the execption to the rule.

  • LM

    Hm, actually it seems that the critical reaction to this film so far has been very mixed. Which tells me that it will have a difficult road to Oscar, because if it doesn’t have a ton of critical support, a Best Pic nod is not a slam dunk.

  • Barry

    I hope not. Clooney is a liberal POS.

    • informed

      I don’t care about his politics and applaud him being informed about issues. He’s not just speaking about issues and taking pictures to raise awareness.

  • TorontoTom

    Hey Dave – call me when you’re in town for tiff. We’ll hit a Starbucks and size up the upcoming awards season.

    • Meg

      i wanna come

      • Martina

        Mr. T. March 30, 2011 I have some stories about Match. One woman wniekd at me, I wrote back, we went back and forth a few times, and she had a change of heart. I can accept that. Here’s where I saw the writing on the wall: Between me writing to her and her writing me back, there were times where she did NOT write, but was online now. She shouldn’t put all of her eggs into one basket of course, but that was very telling, and when she broke it off, it wasn’t shocking to me.Also, in a way, if I send a woman a wink or e-mail and she does the iggy as I prefer, I kind of wish she would block me from viewing her profile, because I send so many, I know that one of these days, I’m going to wink or e-mail a woman TWICE, and that’s going to freak her out.

    • Liyah

      Posted on You guys are sooooo lucky the puirctes are great and poor little Jamie and Austin has a black eye woooo wonder what happenedso excited cant wait till mondays episode.

  • casey

    I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Clooney movie that I liked. Ryan Gosling just looks weird.

    • obviously an idiot

      I think u might have a problem haha

  • MWeyer

    Would hardly be the first time EW has declared an “Oscar lock” for a movie only to have it come out and get creamed by critics.

  • Keith

    Interesting, Dave. This is the most positive buzz I’ve read come out of the Venice premier. I hope you’re riht, at least as far as Gosling goes. But the responses I’ve read so far have been pretty tepid. A solid film but could have and should have been better.

  • Biden

    Another Clooney flop. Not much more.

    • k

      What are you talking about? He’s had one flop (Leatherheads) in the last 5-6 years and that’s it.

  • Andrew M

    Like most people are saying, critics are mixed. I’d say it’s not completely out (box office and how popular it is with the academy are factors) but it’s definitely not a lock based on it’s premier.

  • mariela

    yeah, it needed to do better than this with critics to gat into the oscar race. this kind of movie’s not gonna be a big box office hit, so it needed RAVE reviews. it’s gotten middling, decent reaction but not that. karger is wrong, but he usually has bad taste anyway

  • jets

    I don’t see this doing well at the box office. Just like Iraq war movies haven’t done well, everyone has war and political fatigue and go to the movies to escape all that crap.

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