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The Town – Oscar Contender?

I’ve been looking around the web at various bits of Oscar-related news and came across WB’s “For Your Consideration” page for Ben Affleck’s The Town. Not convinced. I liked The Town. I’d even go so far as to say that I very much enjoyed it, but Oscar contender? Not for me.

It is one of the most straight-forward, down-the-line, simple films I have seen this year. Affleck’s direction and acting is good, but not world class. I could see Jeremy Renner or Rebecca Hall getting Supporting nominations, perhaps, but the big two are never going to happen, and the day Affleck wins an Oscar for his acting is the day Hell freezes over. And I say that as a fan.

To be fair, Renner and Hall were excellent in this movie – they did everything required of them well and convinced me of their somewhat two-dimensional characters – but there are probably five better nominations I could think of having only seen about 30 films this year – Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley (Shutter Island), Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones), Nic Cage (Kick Ass), Robert Duvall (The Road), Andrew Garfield and Armie Hammer (The Social Network) are all better bets for Supporting Actor than Jeremy Renner, and I would venture that Rachel Weisz (The Lovely Bones), Emily Mortimer and Michelle Williams (Shutter Island), Amy Ryan (Green Zone), Eva Mendes (Bad Lieutenant) and Helena Bonham Carter (Harry Potter) all did better jobs than Rebecca Hall in their respective roles. OK, maybe it’s a stretch to suggest that the likes of Kick Ass and Harry Potter will get Oscar noms in the big categories, but they deserve them more.

I genuinely liked The Town, but it is no more than a solid film with solid direction and solid performances. It is, in a word, solid. Solid. Although, given that nowadays we get 10 Best Picture nominations, it is possible that The Town will get one of these. I won’t support it, but it’s possible.

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Emma Stone to be MJ in Spider-Man

It turns out this whole thing is rubbish, Emma Stone will be playing Gwen Stacy, formerly played by Bryce Dallas Howard. Disappointed.

The big news as I woke up this morning was that Emma Stone is almost a certainty to be cast as Mary-Jane Watson in Marc Webb’s upcoming Spider-Man reboot. This is excellent news. Not only does she have the right look for MJ, but she has the ability to play this kind of character. We have seen many sides of her in movies like Zombieland and Superbad and she seems, without wanting to resort to hyperbole, perfect to play this role. She can do action, she can be funny, she’s obviously a lovely-looking young lady AND she’s not a pathetic, limp charisma vacuum like Kirsten Dunst was.

I’m very excited for the new Spider-Man movie; Marc Webb made one of my favourite movies of last year in (500) Days of Summer, Emma Stone is almost a certainty to be cast, and it’s frickin’ Spider-Man! I haven’t seen anything of Andrew Garfield – the new Peter Parker – as yet, but that will change when The Social Network is finally released over here. Visually though, he seems to be a decent choice.

The news about Emma Stone leaves Mia Wasikowska, Dianna Agron, Georgina Haig and Dominique McElligot as the possible choices to play Gwen Stacy. Wasikowska is perhaps better known as Alice in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland; Dianna Agron should be well known to Glee fans (of which I am not one); Georgina Haig has just two feature film credits to her name, and doesn’t even have her date of birth on the IMDb and Dominique McElligot is recognisable only as Sam Rockwell’s wife in Duncan Jones’ Moon. Based purely on looks, I would give this role to Georgina Haig. I have no idea if she is a good actress, but she looks like Gwen Stacy.

Marc Webb’s Spider-Man reboot will begin shooting in December of this year and will be released on July 3rd 2012.