Trailer voiceovers always sound like somebody is reading a children's book aloud, straining for light short story affect or blustery novelistic import. This one falls somewhere inbetween... light novella import? In truth I wish trailers wouldn't have them at all... I always want to just snatch the book from the disembodied voice to look at the pictures for myself.
And what pictures.
It's way too soon to call anybody a lock for Oscar anything (there's always much competition) but certainly the visuals of Bright Star will be talked up later in the year. Can Greg Fraiser, a fairly new cinematographer with mostly shorts to his name (including one for Jane Campion "The Water Diary"), compete with the well known names vying for a cinematography nomination? Can costume designer Janet Patterson (Peter Pan, Oscar and Lucinda), who has been nearly as elusive as Jane Campion since the 90s be nominated again? It's amusing that Fannie (Abbie Cornish) designs all her own clothes as a story point and that they're good enough to be made by a three-time Oscar nominee.
Abbie Cornish is a good bet for some form of year end attention but Ben Whishaw will have a tougher row to hoe as the poet: Headstrong protofeminist women are baity, emotionally sensitive men not so much... make of that what you will but I personally think it's simple sexism; Women with "masculine" power are respected, men with "feminine" attributes are not.
Two Nathaniel-obsessive examples: consider the attention Nicole Kidman got for Moulin Rouge! and compare it to Ewan McGregor's. Contrast Sela Ward's EMMY attention for TV's Once & Again and compare it to Billy Campbell's snubbings for the same show. In both cases both members of the coupling were doing tremendously effective work illustrating the emotional contours of love and romance. But "That's woman's work!" he summarized sarcastically.
A more universal example: Leonardo DiCaprio snubbed for Titanic. Kate Winslet nominated. Why? (Disclaimer: I personally would not have nominated either of them that year even though I love the movie. But, that said, I don't think she's appreciably better in that particular film even if she is a far greater actor than he overall)
P.S. 1 For newer readers who might be puzzling over why the return of writer/director Jane Campion thrills me so, see my review of The Piano, one of the three best films of the Nineties (the others being Heavenly Creatures and Boogie Nights). I'm not expecting Bright Star to be that earth shaking (few films are) but I'm eager to see the auteur back behind the camera again, working within the tragic romance register.
P.S. 2 How about that Scottish accent from Paul Schneider as John and Fannie's confidant?