If you’re into carbon-dating Awards Season, the Cannes Film Festival is where it begins. Sure, you can grab from January’s Sundance, or pick from February’s Berlin or MoMA’s carefully curated New Directors/New Films in March. But, the premiere of Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck and the immediate critical chattering it inspired is the shot fired in the 90th Academy Awards race that will conclude — hopefully not with abject embarrassment — on March 4th, 2018.
Here are five specimens of the season to come:
- Wonderstruck: Acclaim is oozing everywhere for Killer Films/Todd Haynes detail-drenched period drama adapted from Brian Seltzer’s illustrated novel with Oscar-winner Julianne Moore in strong support. THR‘s David Rooney raved: “Alive with the magic of pictures and the mysteries of silence, this is an uncommonly grownup film about children, communication, connection and memory.” If we have to toss in a dark cloud to overshadow all this Haynes love, it would be that his 2015 Palme d’Or winner Carol roared out of Cannes two years ago with the Oscar buzz of a hive of killer bees – and while it received six Oscar nominations the Academy snubbed it for Best Picture and Best Director. Will this year rectify the oversight or reinforce Oscar’s testy relationship with Killer and Haynes?
- Nicole Kidman: The Australian Oscar-winner is one of the most avid campaigners. Against all odds, she even lobbied for an Oscar — and received a Golden Globe nom — for Best Supporting Actress for her mortifying role in Lee Daniels campy abomination The Paperboy. She’s a sure-thing in the crowded pack of this year’s Emmy Best Actress nominees for Big Little Lies. And Oscar won’t be far behind, whether it’s for The Beguiled or Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Of the latter, Variety reported: “For Kidman, who has four projects here, the role is a tour-de-force performance that could be a fall awards-season contender.” THR‘s Rooney called her “never-better” as the wife of Colin Farrell’s heart surgeon.
- Sofia Coppola The clamor to get the female gaze into the Best Director category will put wind behind Coppola, who was previously nominated for Lost in Translation (2003). The pure star power of her feminist remake of The Beguiled burned up the red carpet, with eye candy Kidman, Kristen Dunst, Elle Fanning and Colin Farrell. According to Vulture: “Imagine a Civil War season of The Bachelor where the frocked contestants eventually team up and turn on the central fuckboy, and you’ll come close to what Sofia Coppola has delivered with this remake of the 1971 film starring Clint Eastwood.” Sure, indie darling Coppola can be divisive but with her thoroughbred Hollywood genes and deep ties to the Academy establishment she has a unique advantage among women directors – not to mention the directing chops to earn raves.
- Liam Neeson: Is this man overdue for an Oscar or what? Sony Pictures Classics picked up Peter Landesman’s Watergate drama Silent Man and has slated it for a September release, possibly off the lift of Toronto and Telluride. Neeson, who hasn’t been nominated in over two decades since Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List in 1994, definitely seems primed for a Best Actor nom for playing Mark Felt aka Deep Throat, the shrouded-in-mystery Watergate whistleblower who spilled all to Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.
- Loveless: When Sony Pictures Classics scoops up a foreign-language movie, ready the red carpet. Reportedly, they nabbed Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless, a rancorous divorce drama, within six hours of seeing the competition film screen in France. [[http://deadline.com/2017/05/sony-pictures-classics-acquires-loveless-north-latin-america-cannes-1202095796/]] SPC had established a relationship with the film’s director when they acquired his previous film, Leviathan, which won a Golden Globe and earned an Oscar nomination, Wrote Leslie Felperin in THR: ” With his devastating, finely layered new drama, director Andrey Zvyagintsev (Leviathan) again demonstrates his remarkable gift for creating perfectly formed dramatic microcosms that illustrate the bred-in-the-bone pathologies of Russian society.”