It’s official: Bridge of Spies has entered the Oscar race. When you combine the likes of director Steven Spielberg with actor Tom Hanks, it’s a no-brainer that the word Oscar is going to attach itself to a project. With that in mind, is it worthy of an Oscar?
Some critics have already praised the movie and have revealed that it will most definitely head up some nominations, whereas others call it “Oscar bait.” Not exactly a positive term to brand a film with, especially in this day and age where we’re hyper aware of the Oscar campaigns films take on. Although no director wants to admit going out there and pandering to the Academy, in the end, sometimes that’s what happens, even in the early stages of making a film.
Both Spielberg and Hanks are aware of what it’s like to court the Academy. They’ve independently been on the receiving end of the podium and have also racked up nominations with their collaboration on Saving Private Ryan. Spielberg’s nominations in the last decade include Letters from Iwo Jima, War Horse, and Lincoln, while Hanks has racked up other award nominations for Captain Phillips and Charlie Wilson’s War.
That said, it looks like Bridge of Spies is worthy of any nominations it picks up due to the work put behind it, rather than Spielberg relying on popular Oscar tropes.
Bridge of Spies is a film that takes place during the Cold War. Hanks plays a Brooklyn-based attorney, who is defending a U.S. pilot named Francis Gary Powers after he is captured by the Soviet Union. The pilot is sentenced to 10 years in prison, and his only hope of getting out is Hanks’ James Donovan, who gets on a plane to Berlin in hopes to freeing the man “through a prisoner exchange.”
— Regal Cinemas (@RegalMovies) October 14, 2015
Bridge of Spies already played extremely well at the New York Film Festival following its October 4 release date. Its expansion happens this weekend, and people are very excited to go out there and see the film, which is a huge indicator for its legs this early on in the race for the Oscar. Another fan favorite, Argo, which went on to win Best Film, was released on the same weekend, so Bridge of Spies is in pretty good company in terms of placement.
But seriously…going to see Bridge of Spies tomorrow and it’s going to be amazing…
— Cade Parker (@cadeparker15) October 15, 2015
Super thrilled to attend the screening of Bridge of Spies starring Tom Hanks tomorrow. Looks like it’ll be amazing!
— Denise Oliver (@Denise0liver) October 13, 2015
Been a while since I’ve been at Disney, let alone seen anything in the the Frank G. Wells screening room. Excited for Bridge of Spies!
— Patrick Campbell (@pj_campbell) October 14, 2015
As for the critics, the Verge called the film “pure entertainment” and said that Steven Spielberg’s style as a director is out in full force, which made for a thrilling film with a “unique sense of wit.” The themes described for Bridge of Spies include xenophobia, blind faith jingoism, and the American value system, which is something people can grab on to in these times.
Over at Variety, they praise Spielberg for turning a spy into a national hero, referring to his tool as a story teller as a “unique achievement.”
Additionally they praise the casting of everyday man Tom Hanks, who has that charming good ole boy sensibility.
“[He] cast honorary Boy Scout and all-around good guy Tom Hanks in the role, transforming a potential indictment of patriotic hypocrisy and Cold War subterfuge into a riveting, feel-good time for the whole family (two instances of the ‘F-word’ notwithstanding), putting it on track to top ‘War Horse.'”
Are you excited to check out Bridge of Spies?
[Photo by 20th Century Fox]