Sunday, October 23, 2011

Martha Marcy May and Oscar?

The Sundance hit Martha Marcy May Marlene opened in Los Angeles and New York this weekend, and to warm critical reception.  A few hiccups here and there; A.O. Scott of The New York Times was the highest profile descender, but one thing seems clear, that whatever one takes away from the murky, intentionally unresolvable film, its leading lady-- Elizabeth Olsen-- is a genuine find and prime elevator of the film.  The question is how far she will go.  She's already a recipient of a Gotham Awards nomination for Breakthrough Performer, which suggests she will likely add many more such breakthrough honors as the critics prizes start being handed out (The New York Film Critics Circle will get the ball rolling this year, a scowling effect that the critics prizes will now start to unveil November 28th), but the question is if Oscar is in her foreseeable future.  On a personal perspective, I'd love to say yes, as a fan of the film and her performance, the work is there, and it's wonderful.  Of course, Oscar doesn't work that way.  What she has going for her, aside from an outstandingly nuanced and perceptive performance, is Fox Searchlight, a canny awards promoter, even for films that read less than middlebrow Academy fodder (think Black Swan), and while the distributor has their hands full this year, as it does every year (The Descendants, Shame and The Tree of Life are all products of Fox, Jr.), this is their only shot at Best Actress; one must assume they have faith in it.  The other side is Olsen has an infinite media hook as the younger sister of billionaire twin Mary-Kate and Ashley-- the narrative of a smart young woman becoming classically trained and make it good on screen, despite perceived seemingly spoiled upbringing, will play well-- that in the press, she presents herself with such charm and sense of humor doesn't hurt either, nor does it hurt that she's young and pretty-- it's always a bit sad, but the performance in the awards game matters nil anymore.

The rest lies in her competition, so far her competitors might be:
  • Viola Davis, The Help (the only way this doesn't happen is if there's a confusion of whether she's a lead or supporting, but that's doubtful-- at this early stage, she's the only lock, potential winner.)
  • Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs (the film earned mixed reviews at Telluride and Toronto, but she's an Oscar-less legend working on a passion project-- as long as it isn't a huge critical\box office embarrassment, she's in)
  • Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady (she's Meryl Streep, and the film doesn't need to be great, nor her performance for a nomination, it just can't be a joke-- sight unseen, it might be-- question mark.)
  • Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn (New York and London film festivals came with mixed thoughts of the movie, but nice words for Williams-- she's playing a legend, which helps-- the movie just needs a big push-- that Weinstein Company is behind it helps too-- question mark.)
  • Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin (hit at Cannes with wonderful reviews, but the film will likely be a hard sell-- set around a school shooting-- she needs the critics, as does Olsen; however the Academy must know by now they owe her for snubbing her so often.)
  • Charlize Theron, Young Adult (question mark because nobody has seen it-- on the surface this dark comedy from Reitman\Cody looks solid.)
  • Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia (perhaps not likely, but her Best Actress prize at Cannes makes for a nice FYC ad, and her reviews are the best she's ever gotten.)
  • Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids (I wish, but she'll have to settle for a Golden Globe in a Comedy trophy.)
Am I missing anyone?  While this year may not be the vast richness of last year, it's (on paper) not looking too bad...can Olsen make it in?  Or will Academy members be left chilled by the haunting ambiguity of the acclaimed performance and the foreboding film that surrounds it?

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...