Friday Flicks: Does ‘The Help’ Guarantee an Oscar Nod for Viola Davis?

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Aibileen Clark, played by Viola Davis, overhears the exchange between Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone, center) and her friends in "The Help"

Grab some popcorn! NewsFeed’s Glen Levy brings you the movies you should check out (or avoid) this weekend.

The Help


Tagline: Change begins with a whisper.

Is there anyone out there who hasn’t read The Help? It’s seemingly become one of those ubiquitous books among the chattering classes, with positive word of mouth propelling it around the planet. And a byproduct of such success is not only the inevitable movie adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel, but also the guessing game that goes with it as people love nothing more than to predict a cast.

Will they be happy with who they’ve got? Time will tell but, at first glance, a line up including the likes of Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney and Jessica Chastain certainly looks promising. And this formidable female crew are acting out the story of a young white woman Skeeter (Stone) in early 1960s Mississippi who becomes interested in the plight of the African-American domestic servants that every family has working for them. She writes down their stories about mistreatment, abuse and heartbreak, which takes place just before the Civil Rights revolution.

But if you played the guessing game and got some right, chances are you’d have never seen the choice of relatively inexperienced writer/ director Tate Taylor coming (apparently at the request of Stockett). But she certainly seems to have come up trumps, with critics in near universal praise. And while the likes of Stone and Janney are receiving warm notices, it’s Davis who is stealing the show as Aibileen Clark, the housekeeper who’s helped to raise no less than 17 white children for families, which is juxtaposed by the accidental death of her son.

In fact, as our own Mary Pols points out, “though it is only August, it is safe to say Davis will be Oscar-nominated.” She was in the running but lost out for Best Supporting Actress in Doubt in 2009, no doubt hindered by going up against Amy Adams, who was also in the movie. So long as none of her co-stars join her in the category next year, Davis might want to start writing that acceptance speech.

(MORE: TIME’s full review of The Help)

Final Destination 5


Tagline: No matter where you hide…you can’t cheat death.

Riffing off the tagline and you can’t escape this franchise either. Despite part 4 being titled The Final Destination, it didn’t result in Final equaling End, which you might reasonably conclude would be the case.

As it turned out, business heads prevailed after that 2009 installment grossed $66 million domestically and a not unimpressive $186 million worldwide. We’re in familiar territory as a bunch of teenagers escape a deadly accident only to later discover that death is nevertheless hunting them down. We’ll predict that the opening scene – in which lead character Sam Lawton (Nicholas D’Agosto) has a premonition that the suspension bridge he’s on will collapse – will be the highlight, with the sporadic shock value that comes from 3-D keeping things moving along. And no matter how it ends, if the bottom line at the box office dictates it, this Destination will not yet be Final.

(MORE: Top 10 Long-Running Movie Franchises)

NewsFeed’s Flicks Pick: No ‘Help’ needed to make this week’s choice.

Glen Levy is an Executive Producer at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @glenjl. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.