It’s officially Oscar season, and Rolling Stone movie critic Peter Travers is here to tell you which hopefuls for Academy Award glory and some of that Blind Side money will be slugging it out this weekend At the Movies. First up, there’s Invictus, the new film by a director who is no stranger to Oscars, Clint Eastwood. The film stars Morgan Freeman as the then-newly elected South African president Nelson Mandela, who hopes to bridge the gap of apartheid by rallying behind the country’s rugby team and its captain, played by Matt Damon. This is the role Freeman was born to play, Travers writes in his three-and-a-half star review of Invictus, and he has to be considered among the favorites for the Best Actor Oscar.
Also opening this week is The Lovely Bones, the Alice Sebold novel about a young girl named Susie Salmon who is murdered by her neighbor in 1970s Pennsylvania and then gets stuck in the in-between, where she assists her sister in catching her killer. Lord of the Rings visionary Peter Jackson is the director here, returning to a genre fans haven’t seen since the New Zealander’s Heavenly Creatures over a decade ago. Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz star as the parents of Susie, played by Oscar-nominated Atonement actress Saoirse Ronan. Whereas Sebold’s novel never flinched in its descriptions of rape and murder, Jackson is stuck within his PG-13 parameters like Susie is stuck in a world between heaven and death. In a 10-film Oscar race, however, Lovely Bones might sneak out a nod.
Just because Travers is concentrating on the award-worthy year-end films, don’t think there’s any Scum Bucket films sneaking out under-the-radar. Watch Travers trash on Old Dogs, Planet 51 and Ninja Assassin, too.