‘Fury’ Enters New Battle Zone: The Oscar Race

Brad Pitt Fury Movie Review

Sony’s “Fury” arrives in theaters Friday with critical approval and positive box office predictions. As for awards, the WWII drama’s outstanding artisan work could enlist it in this year’s race.

Writer-director David Ayer and his team — including cinematographer Roman Vasyanov, production designer Andrew Menzies, composer Steve Price, editors Jay Cassidy and Dody Dorn, hair/makeup person Alessandro Bertolazzi, supervising sound editor, Paul N.J. Ottoson, and sound mixer Lisa Pinero — are likely to stir up enthusiasm within the guilds, as well as from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ below-the-line branches.

Beyond that? It depends on the quality of the upcoming, unseen, films. But word of mouth on “Fury’s” below-the-line work will encourage voters in other guilds and AMPAS categories to see the film, which is an important factor during these months when voters are being flooded with viewing options.

Logan Lerman seems an outside possibility in the supporting-actor contest; Brad Pitt, despite a strong performance, may have too subtle a role for this year’s crowded actor race.

After its domestic launch, “Fury” makes its European bow Sunday as the closer of the BFI London Film Festival. The dates are similar to Sony’s rollout last year for “Captain Phillips,” smart timing that gave voters an opportunity to see the film in advance of the fourth-quarter rush of contenders. “Captain Phillips” scored six Oscar noms, including best picture.

Considering the current headlines, will a war film be a tough sell to voters? Sony needs to remind folks that they may have seen a lot of Yanks-vs-Nazis films, but this one is different, thanks to Ayer’s meticulous filmmaking. Yes, it’s about war, but it’s also about fellowship, compassion and faith, and it keeps the adrenaline pumping as it weighs these matters.

Another possible advantage: World War II is part of Hollywood’s DNA.

Exhibit A: Even before Pearl Harbor, studio toppers ordered scripts to stir up public support for the war. During the war and in the 70 years since, it’s been the setting for a gazillion films, much more than any other war before or since.
Exhibit B: Eight WWII movies have won best picture (and that’s not counting “The Sound of Music” and “The King’s Speech,” where the war was background, but key to the plot). In comparison, the best-pic roster includes just three for WWI, two for Vietnam, one for the Civil War, one for the Mideast, and zero for endless other wars throughout history.

That familiarity could be a liability, but in the case of “Fury,” it’s an asset. Audiences (and voters) bring immediate emotional connections to WWII, but not too much connection (latter is the case with depictions of Mideast conflicts). We don’t need heavy exposition for WWII; heroes and villains are clear-cut. In addition, the look and battle methods of WWII seem more cinematic than most other wars (in the same way that boxing is for some reason more movie-friendly than skiing or tennis).

A trio of films this year — “Fury,” “The Imitation Game” and “Unbroken,” not to mention the pre-war “The Grand Budapest Hotel” — are reminders that there are still new ways to tell WWII stories. Like the heroes in “Fury,” the team is fighting for survival in a chaotic situation. But the Ayer force may save the day.

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  1. Ron says:

    An excellent film. It movingly registers some of the horror of battle. This account from a D-Day veteran also hits that —

    Normandy 2014: Ernie Corvese
    http://themintyplum.com/?p=1756

  2. AD says:

    This should merit serious consideration for SAG noms for Best Ensemble. All the actors dig deep and the performances are uniformly excellent. The standout though is Lerman who has given fine performances in Perks of Being a Wallflower (which deserved more awards attention) and in previous efforts like 3:10 to Yuma. He at the very least should be in the conversation for all the awards bodies including the Academy

  3. Anon says:

    Pitt delivers a great performance and anchors the film but Lerman provides the film’s heart and while the arc develops a bit too fast (within a span of over a day), the young actor makes it all believable. It’s a delicate balancing act, something which the Academy may want to consider if it (and this rarely happens) decides to skew a little younger and give some fine young actors notice come awards time. I was also pleasantly surprised that on social media the film appears to have resonance. Many viewers found it a very emotional experience (like a punch to the gut, Ayer style) – so pundits may want to take a second look at this come awards season.

  4. I like brad and his work on human rights

    Aeylias Lopez, Conform Comics Rangercore

  5. conshimfee says:

    Roman Vas’Yanov is a DP to watch. The next Bruno Delbonnell…

  6. JT says:

    Logan Lerman deserves at least a nomination. Seriously, best work a young male actor had ever done in the past 5 years.

  7. Edkargir says:

    I just saw Fury this is not close to being an Oscar contender. Very mediocre film.

    • lindaj52 says:

      That’s honestly the first time I’ve read anyone say mediocre in connection with Fury, Twitter is on fire from everyone that loves this film.

      • Anon says:

        @lindaj53 agree i was a bit surprised at the reaction on twitter and other social media outlets from people who have seen Fury maybe its to Ayer’s credit that this effort has surprised audiences even if it has some flaws. that said, the acting and technical work is excellent. Doddy Dorn also deserves some kudos for the fine work.

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