Will ‘The Counselor’ win Oscars for overdue Brad Pitt and Ridley Scott?

As previously noted, it’s too early to tell what will sink or swim in 2013’s awards derby. Not every film with seemingly ideal Oscar ingredients takes off – for every “Lincoln,” there’s a “J. Edgar” – and it has yet to be seen which of this year’s upcoming films will fulfill two of the most important factors in any Oscar race: will people like it, and will it make money (not always in that order)?

But some films, on paper, look more promising than others.

Take, for instance, “The Counselor“:

The Plot: A lawyer finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking.

The Pedigree: Director Ridley Scott already has a Best Picture-winner under his belt (“Gladiator”), and three nominations for directing (“Gladiator,” as well as “Thelma & Louise” and “Black Hawk Down”).

The cast includes Michael Fassbender in the title role, as well as Oscar champs (and married couple) Javier Bardem (“No Country for Old Men,” 2007) and Penelope Cruz, (“Vicky Christina Barcelona,” 2008) and three-time Oscar nominee Brad Pitt.

The screenplay is by Cormac McCarthy, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist whose “No Country for Old Men” was adapted into a Best Picture-winner by the Coen Brothers in 2007.

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The Potential: Never underestimate a director who is “due.” Despite an extensive career that includes iconic titles like “Alien” and “Blade Runner,” along with 2000 Best Picture champ “Gladiator,” Scott has never won an Oscar. Much the way Ron Howard and Martin Scorsese capitalized on previous slights when they won for “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Departed,” respectively, Scott could be considered ripe for Hollywood’s top honor if his film is a hit. And though this is McCarthy’s first feature screenplay, the participation of the famed author lends the film greater artistic cachet.

The Counselor” is currently scheduled for release on Nov. 15 by 20th Century Fox. That’s prime real estate for Oscar season; Fox released its last Oscar player, “Life of Pi,” on Nov. 21, 2012. 

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