The Hateful Eight is just a couple of months away, and apart from a few posters featuring the film's ensemble cast, there's not a whole lot in the way of early marketing or teasers designed to build hype - probably because Tarantino's movies build their own hype simply by association with his name.
Tarantino has become a byword for brilliance. Violence. Razor sharp, endlessly quotable dialogue. General badass-ery (yup, that's a word). In November Pulp Fiction turns 21, meaning two entire generations have grown up on Tarantino's work. So how can it be that a director so respected, somebody universally seen as a master of his profession, has never had much luck at the Oscars (which are meant to recognise brilliance in Hollywood, after all)?
There's a pretty familiar pattern to QT's recent films at the Oscars. In 2010, Inglourious Basterds took won one, Christoph Waltz taking home Best Actor. Tarantino was nominated for Best Director and Best Screenplay and the film itself for Best Picture, but neither won. In 2013, Waltz won again (supporting actor) for Django Unchained, whilst Tarantino won for original screenplay but again had to settle for a nomination in Best Picture (and nothing at all in Best Director). The situation with Pulp Fiction in '95 was similar. So, although his record is pretty good, there's still a sense of injustice that one of the best directors working today has never won Best Director or Best Picture.
Which leads me neatly to the thrust of this article: can The Hateful Eight finally get Quentin Tarantino one of the two most prestigious Oscars?
Why it's perfectly possible...
Well, let's start with the obvious: Hateful has an incredible cast, the kind to make your average Oscar voter moist. Obviously, there's the shy and retiring Samuel L. Jackson, who's notoriously selective about the films he appears in, hence a resume that includes multiple Tarantinos, The Avengers, Kingsman and True Romance... not forgetting the enduring classic Snakes on a Plane.
But on top of Jackson there are veteran actors like Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern and Michael Madsen, all at one time big names in Hollywood, and putting them all into the melting pot of Eight could give the film a big boost with nostalgic voters. Russell and Roth in particular feel overdue some Oscars love, which could work in favour of some Best Picture momentum.
And then we have the film's unusual format: shot entirely on 70mm, which is notoriously difficult due to the sheer size of the cameras used, and produces superior image quality on a level with films shot digitally and released in IMAX. A technical feat like this is exactly the kind of thing that gets the attention of Oscar voters, and should all but guarantee Tarantino the Best Director nomination he missed out on with Django.
Finally, there's the long-overdue factor, which is exactly what it sounds like: a shared sense that this man deserves a win, not just for his current work but everything that's gone before. This one happens quite a lot for actors - see the win for Julianne Moore last year in Still Alice, which was a foregone conclusion because Moore had been nominated four times before without a win, and totally deserved it for twenty years of brilliant work. It's possible that the Academy could view Tarantino in a similar light, especially if Hateful is a masterpiece.
So why wouldn't it happen?
Well, there's only one reason it wouldn't happen - the competition is pretty fierce, basically. Steven Spielberg and Alejandro González Iñárritu are shoe-ins for Bridge of Spies and The Revenant in the Best Director category, with Danny Boyle (Steve Jobs) and Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) also highly likely. Which only leaves one spot, but unless David O'Russell's Joy gets some late hype, that spot is probably Quentin's. He's just not particularly likely to win against heavyweights like Boyle or Spielberg.
Nonetheless, everything can change in the space of a few weeks when it comes to the Oscars race, and Harvey Weinstein will throw a lot of money at the campaign for The Hateful Eight, so only time will tell.
Whatever happens, the next few months should be interesting, with all of the above movies on the way plus blockbusters less likely to get Academy love like Crimson Peak, Spectre and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, all of which look seriously good. But at the end of the day, there's only one Tarantino. And that's why I'll be crossing my fingers for a surprise victory at the 2016 Oscars.
Here's the trailer for Hateful in case you missed it (or just want to see those gorgeous snowy landscapes and wisecracking cast for the ninth time).
What do you think - could 2016 finally be Quentin Tarantino's year in the Best Director or Best Picture race? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!