1. Inherent Vice
Paul Thomas Anderson is basically Oscar royalty, thanks to Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood and The Master, and the cast he’s lined up for this Thomas Pynchon adaptation is too good for the Academy to even consider looking the other way. Joaquin Phoenix stars in Inherent Vice as a drug-addled private investigator Larry “Doc” Sportello, who investigates the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend (Katherine Waterston). Josh Brolin, Jena Malone, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro, Owen Wilson and Maya Rudolph also have roles.
With Anderson and Phoenix involved, this sounds like a major contender – on paper. Of course, Pynchon’s novels are often tricky enough to read, let alone adapt, so it could wind up being a misfire like Ridley Scott’s The Counselor was last year. Still, I don’t see that happening with Inherent Vice. Anderson penned the script as well as directed, and he even had Pynchon’s blessing. I’m predicting Best Picture, Director, Actor (for Phoenix) and Supporting Actor (for Brolin) at the very least. Best Art Direction, Adapted Screenplay and Film Editing are also strong possibilities.
Inherent Vice opens in limited release on December 12th then expands wide on January 9th next year.