Looking Ahead: Disney, La La Land, Operation ChromiteSully

A new thing I’m trying out for the blog: looking ahead to what may happen in next year’s Oscar race. Hey, it’s never too early to speculate… even though it really is. Expect posts like this to appear every week or so.

moana_picConcept art for Disney’s Moana (via Legion of Leia)

Zootopia and Moana get music updates

Shakira will perform a new track for the Disney release Zootopia, titled “Try Everything.” The film hits theaters on Mar. 4, 2016. Meanwhile, Tarzan (1999) and Brother Bear (2003) composer Mark Mancina will collaborate with Te Vaka guitarist Opetaia Foa’I and In the Heights and Hamilton composer Lin-Manuel Miranda to compose new music for Disney’s Moana, out Nov. 23, 2016.

johnlegend_goldenglobes2014John Legend at the 2014 Golden Globe Awards (via Idolator)

Damien Chazelle’s La La Land confirms John Legend, adds Rosemarie DeWitt

Legend and DeWitt join the Whiplash (2014) writer-director’s original musical, which also features J.K. Simmons, Jason Fuchs, and Emmy Award-nominated American Horror Story: Freak Show breakout Finn Wittrock. No word on how they all fit into La La Land, but Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling lead as Mia, an aspiring actress in Los Angeles, and Sebastian, a jazz pianist who falls for her.

We’re expecting Legend to provide musical contributions beyond performing, yes? He, alongside Common, did win the original-song Oscar for “Glory” from Selma last year. While previous acting nominees Stone, Gosling, and Simmons look like safe bets at this (very early) stage, what about DeWitt, a solid screen presence since flirting with awards attention for Jonathan Demme’s Rachel Getting Married (2008)?

Lionsgate plans to release La La Land in theaters across the U.S. on July 16, 2016 – the same day Paul Feig’s women-led Ghostbusters (Sony/Columbia) and EuropaCorp-distributed action thriller The Lake make their nationwide bows.

Liam Neeson at a Taken 3 fan screening earlier this year (via The Huffington Post)

Liam Neeson negotiates for John H. Lee’s Operation Chromite

The only actor announced so far, Neeson may star as U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur in this pic about the Battle of Incheon (1950) – a major turning point in the Korean War when United Nations forces launched a surprise attack against North Korean forces. Deadline Hollywood notes that filming should commence by year’s end; Taewon execs hope to release Chromite next year around June 25 – the anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War.

Don’t expect Chromite to be an Oscar play for Neeson if/when it hits theaters in the States. But along with his voice role in Juan Antonio Bayona’s potential Oscar hit A Monster Calls – a coming-of-age tale that may recall Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) – the historical drama may surge Neeson’s awards chances for another historical pic – Martin Scorsese’s Silence.

aaroneckhart_goldenglobes2013Aaron Eckhart at the 2013 Golden Globes (via Just Jared)

Aaron Eckhart joins Tom Hanks in Clint Eastwood’s Sully

Eckhart’s Jeff Skiles serves as co-pilot to Hanks’ Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who safely landed a plane carrying 155 passengers in the Hudson River after a flock of geese knocked out both engines. Screenwriter Todd Komarnicki will base the script on Sullenberger’s life and memoir, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Eckhart snagged a Golden Globe nod for Jason Reitman’s Thank You for Smoking (2006), but no such luck with Oscar. A film with Eastwood and Hanks should very easily appeal to those whom Anne Thompson would call the “steak eaters” of the motion-picture academy. On that note, this could very well land him that first nomination.

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