Oscars 2012: What's Next for the Nominees
George heads to World War II, Meryl to Osage County: How the contenders plan to follow their big year.
High-caliber talents inevitably have moved on to new projects by the time they find out they've been nominated for an Academy Award. But right after the awards attention hits, they often have a whole new set of options (along with a whole new salary), which can lead to either very smart or very regrettable decisions. Halle Berry, for instance, already had a role in the James Bond film Die Another Day sewn up when she was handed the best actress Oscar for Monster's Ball in 2002, but her next two choices, Gothika and Catwoman, killed the momentum. Conversely, Mickey Rourke spun his 2009 comeback nomination for The Wrestler into roles in Iron Man 2 and The Expendables, both huge hits the following year. (Of course, he also made Passion Play.) Such A-list nominees as George Clooney and Brad Pitt enjoy perpetual offers, but this year's crop of newer blood, such as Rooney Mara and Demian Bichir, and resurgent talents, such as Glenn Close and Gary Oldman, can send a message to Hollywood with what they choose to do next.
Demian Bichir, A Better Life
The Mexican actor, 48, who played Fidel Castro in Steven Soderbergh's two-part Che, will appear in the Oliver Stone-directed crime thriller Savages, due July 6 from Universal. He's performing in a stage version of Swimming With Sharks in Mexico City until May, and his feature follow-up could be the indie Western A Thousand Guns with Vera Farmiga.
George Clooney, The Descendants
The superstar, 50, is producing the Ben Affleck-directed Argo, which Warner Bros. will release Sept. 14, and he has filmed his co-starring role in the Warners sci-fi film Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuaron and hitting theaters Nov. 21. One strong option for a follow-up is the real-life-based World War II story The Monuments Men, which he would co-write, star in and produce for Sony.
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
The French comic actor, 39, stars in Les Infideles, a short-film anthology he co-wrote and co-directed, which opens in his homeland Feb. 29. He then will shoot the French thriller Mobius, in which he plays a spy. Dujardin recently signed with WME, so look for him to take on U.S. roles soon.
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
The British veteran, 53, reprises his role as Jim Gordon in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, which Warner Bros. will release July 20, then co-stars in the crime drama Wettest County for The Weinstein Co. out Aug. 31. He shoots the Warners revenge thriller Motor City in the spring.
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Pitt, 48, has two films in the can: The Weinstein Co. crime thriller Cogan's Trade and the Paramount zombie epic World War Z, which shuffles into theaters Dec. 21. The actor-producer has a stack of projects in development at his Plan B shingle, including Steve McQueen's next film, Twelve Years a Slave, and he is attached to star in the New Regency thriller The Gray Man, but neither has been greenlighted.
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
The veteran actress, 64, has more time for features now that her DirecTV series Damages will begin airing its fifth and final season this summer. She will next film an adaptation of the Emile Zola novel Therese Raquin for writer-director Charlie Stratton and LD Entertainment that is set to begin shooting in the spring.
Viola Davis, The Help
Davis, 46, has the Fox drama Won't Back Down hitting theaters Sept. 28 and will next shoot the Alcon-Warner Bros. supernatural drama Beautiful Creatures and Summit's adaptation of the sci-fi novel Ender's Game for writer-director Gavin Hood, set to open in March 2013.
Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The 26-year-old will film Steven Soderbergh and Scott Z. Burns' new thriller The Bitter Pill in the spring for Open Road Films. She also has been cast in Terrence Malick's Lawless and is signed to reprise Lisbeth Salander in sequels to Dragon Tattoo- -- but those await a green light from Sony.
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Streep, 62, already has wrapped her starring role opposite Steve Carell in the couples-counseling comedy Great Hope Springs, which Sony will open Aug. 10, and she'll star as Julia Roberts' mother in an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tracy Letts play August: Osage County that begins shooting in the fall for The Weinstein Co.
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
The actress, 31, stars in Sarah Polley's Take This Waltz, which Magnolia will release June 29. She also has wrapped her role as Glinda in the Sam Raimi-directed Disney prequel Oz: The Great and Powerful, which will open in March 2013.
BIGGEST OSCAR BOOST: Octavia Spencer's Career
For best supporting actress nominee Octavia Spencer, The Help has been extremely helpful. While she has 15 years of steady work to her credit (Big Momma's House, Seven Pounds), the 39-year-old actress has done more than most to capitalize on her accolades this awards season. After Help's release in August, she shot the indie drama Smashed, which Sony Classics acquired after its Sundance premiere. Then she picked up a coveted role in Diablo Cody's directing debut that she'll begin filming just two days after she finds out if she's an Oscar winner. Mid-April, she then heads to Prague with Tilda Swinton for the sci-fi thriller Snow Piercer, a role she nabbed right after her nomination was announced.