Whoever coined the term 'Oscar bait' definitely had a movie like "August: Osage County" in mind when they did so, especially now that we've had our first glimpse at the trailer. Really for anyone who has been following the film, based on the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning play by Tracy Letts, who also wrote the screenplay, the stars are so brightly lined-up for this project that a lot of award nominations should already be reserved.
And before you think those statements to be exaggerated in any way let us review the evidence, beginning with a roll-call of the heavy-hitters involved in the film: stars Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Sam Shepard, Dermot Mulroney, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margo Martindale (Emmy winner for "Justified"), and last year's Oscar-winning producer team George Clooney and Grant Heslov ("Argo").
All of that talent has been assembled to tell an emotionally-charged story about the importance of family, even the messed-up and broken ones. The trailer introduces us to all the major players, in a sweeping "Welcome Home" kind of way, like we are meant to feel part of the family driving through the country, returning to the old family home.
The action, which in this film is not action action, but conversational action, highlights Streep and Robert's volatile mother-daughter dynamic (and Streep's unique but powerful southern-ish accent), along with a few familiar and awkward familial interactions involved when relatives gather again after long absences, i.e. "Look at your boobs! The last time I saw you you looked like a little boy," says Martindale to an uncomfortable Abigail Breslin.
There is a big family dinner scene at which Streep directs her laser-focus and commanding voice toward each member and asks overly personal questions, which ends in a shouting match, there is an emotionally broken-down Benedict Cumberbatch in need of some tissues and hugs for missing a family member's funeral, and it's all meant to draw us in to see this family breakdown only to build themselves back up.
"August: Osage County" opens everywhere November 8th.