Oscar 8-Ball: ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’


Will the actors and filmmakers from your favorite movie be making room on their mantels this award season? Or watching the Oscars from afar? Oscar 8-Ball knows all. Throughout the coming months, Gold Standard columnist Glenn Whipp will assess the chances of the films in contention. Maybe that includes “Ted.” Probably it doesn’t. Only the magic Oscar 8-Ball knows.

“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” charmed American audiences and wowed their U.K. counterparts, grossing more than $130 million worldwide since its May release. Can all that goodwill translate into awards-season success? We consult the Oscar8-Ball for answers.

Better not tell you now: Fox Searchlight believes it has a best picture candidate in “Marigold Hotel,” and, after triumphs with such unlikely nominees as “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Juno” and “127 Hours,” who is Oscar 8-Ball to harsh their mellow? Moviegoers of a certain age (an age that just happens to be about the Academy’s mean) found this dramedy about a group of British retirees discovering life and love in India to be the equivalent of comfort food. Reviews of John Madden’s film were generally respectful, and audiences of a particular stripe, who needed something to do when “Downton Abbey” wasn’t on the air, responded.


At the least, “Marigold Hotel” has a good shot at nabbing the low-hanging fruit of a Golden Globes best picture comedy/musical slot. A nomination there would keep the film in the awards-season conversation, though many of the more traditional prestige offerings would have to fail to make room for “Marigold Hotel” as an Academy nominee.

Outlook good: “Downton” devotees likely shed a tear watching Maggie Smith transform her character from a racist old-timer to a tolerant sage. Both she and co-star Judi Dench could reap nominations if enough voters were moved by the film’s mega-dose of self-actualization. Six-time nominee Dench won her lone Oscar for another John Madden movie, “Shakespeare in Love.”

Outlook not so good: Madden’s post-”Shakespeare” resume: “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin,” “Proof,” “Killshot” and “The Debt.” With “Marigold Hotel,” he’s back in the black, and we imagine that’s reward enough.


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