'Steve Jobs': Can it go the distance for Oscar season?

'Steve Jobs' stars Michael Fassbender as the Apple co-founder. The movie may remind some Oscar fans of the hit movie 'The Social Network,' which also told the story of a tech titan and his accomplishments. Can 'Jobs' succeed during awards season?

Universal Pictures/AP
'Steve Jobs' stars Michael Fassbender.

The film “Steve Jobs,” which is based on the bestselling biography of the same name by Walter Isaacson and features “Slow West” actor Michael Fassbender portraying the Apple co-founder, opens later this month and industry watchers are already talking Oscar. 

Besides Fassbender, who has been nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actor, “Jobs” also stars Oscar winner Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels, “Inherent Vice” actress Katherine Waterston, and Seth Rogen. It’s directed by Danny Boyle, who won a best director Oscar for his 2008 film “Slumdog Millionaire.” 

Jobs’ life has been adapted for film previously, when “Two and a Half Men” actor Ashton Kutcher portrayed the tech titan for the 2013 movie “Jobs.” The movie was not well-received by critics, however, and quickly fell off the public’s radar.

Boyle, Fassbender, or Winslet being involved in any project by themselves would have Oscar watchers looking at the film, what with the trio’s past success at the Academy Awards. All of them working together, as well as the rest of the high-profile cast, has industry watchers thinking this will be a big contender as Oscars season continues. Positive reviews for the film from the Telluride Film Festival have also helped.

For Oscars fans, “Jobs,” if it can go the awards season distance, may bring another movie to mind: the 2010 movie “The Social Network,” which was also about technology that changed the world (in the case of “Social,” Facebook) and its founder (for “Social,” Mark Zuckerberg). The two share another common thread: writer Aaron Sorkin, who won an Oscar for his adapted screenplay for “Social” and adapted the screenplay for “Steve Jobs.” 

“Social” was nominated for best picture, among other Oscars, and was viewed as one of the big contenders for that prize, though it eventually lost out, controversially, to the film “The King’s Speech.” Many viewed the costume drama “King” as a more traditional Oscars entry. “Social,” on the other hand, tackled very recent history and seemed new and fresh to many critics. 

If “Steve Jobs” ends up with a nod for best picture, will it also lose out to a movie viewed as more normal Oscar bait by some?

Critics so far are praising Fassbender’s performance, and it will also be interesting to see if he’ll split the vote. He’s also set to star in the movie “Macbeth,” which will have him playing the title role and will open this December. 

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