Friday, July 17, 2009

An Education's Staccato Buzz

Oscar buzz is a funny customized thing. For some films it simmers continually, sauteeing the film until it's golden. Other films ride choppy waves feeling alternately like very big deals, empty threats or troubled half successes. More often than not, especially for the small film without marquee names, the buzz tends to be intermittent, giving off staccato sparks fueled only by those traditional pit stops on the road to Oscar: festival premiere, early reviews, trailer, actual release, precursor trophies. It's this track that An Education, the story of a teenage girl eager to begin her adult life in 60s London, will obviously be working since its star, Carey Mulligan, is currently "unknown" in the larger sense (but probably won't be by the end of the year).

One gets the sense that people will keep forgetting about this movie, or shoving it to the minor buzz side as each of the Baity behemoths arrive with massive P&A budgets and traditional Oscar names fueling their hype. After reading reviews and watching this comprehensive trailer (I'm guessing they're giving the film away but, given its genre, the experience will all be in the nuances of the telling which you can't get until you're in the theater anyway) I'd say it's best not to underestimate it.



Picture (yes) Director (maybe) Adapted Screenplay (of course) Actress (duh) Supporting Actor (Alfred Molina, yes), Supporting Actress (hmmm). Some people love Rosamund Pike in the movie but there's also the perennial joy that is Emma Thompson is what looks like an ace bit part (bit parts do the trick every so often). Mulligan's mom is played by the underappreciated Cara Seymour, whose face is exceedingly familiar to moviegoers who seek out interesting films, even if her name isn't. Her filmography is damn impressive: American Psycho, Dancer in the Dark, Adaptation, Gangs of New York, Birth, Hotel Rwanda, The Savages, etc...

About Peter Sarsgaard's Oscar chances as the charming rake who beds the high school girl? I REFUSE TO DISCUSS IT. I've become paranoia that my love for Sarsgaard has been a jinx upon his Oscarability. It's not OK to live in a world where his Shattered Glass performance didn't register with film industry professionals as one of the year's best. Six years on and that one still aggravates [note to self: blog fodder, 'ten worst snubs of the decade']. What on earth does Hollywood have against the Sarsgaards, anyway? His wife also can't get arrested by the Academy despite being one of the best and the most electric actresses in the world.
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27 comments:

Robert said...

An indie festival film starring an unknown lead actress that's poised to get some Oscar love?

As long as no one utters the phrase "honest to blog," I'm in!

JoFo said...

I'm so pleased its getting so much recognition. It is a great example of a simple story that is made fantastic by brilliant actors, and an excellent script. The direction and cinematography are also great.

Emma Thompsons role is miniscule. Maybe 2 minutes of screentime all up? She's great in those two minutes but what you saw in the trailer is it really.

Sorry to tell you but Sarsgaard is good but way overshadowed by the superior supporting actor performance of Molina. Cara Seymour works really well with Molina too actually.

Also in case you didn't know, Sally Hawkins has a one scene role in which shes great, and its a vey pivitol scene too.

From someone whose seen it, and is usually pretty good at picking up what the academy will go for, i say Picture, Actress, Supp. Actor and Screenplay are the best calls to make.

Kurtis O said...

I'm very much looking forward to this film, and Mulligan appears to be one helluva Best Actress contender.

I COMPLETELY agree with you about Sarsgaard, one of my very favorite actors. He is criminally underappreciated.

Kent said...

I wasn't anticipating this film very much. Only judging by the trailer, I am very impress with Carey Mulligan. Her tone keeps reminding me of a young Julie Christie.

FilmFreak said...

"I'm guessing they're giving the film away but, given its genre, the experience will all be in the nuances of the telling which you can't get until you're in the theater anyway"


Right on the money!

Carl said...

As to Maggie G. - is it possible that the "zionist hoodlums" remark by Vanessa Redgrave back in the Oscar '78 telecast has made it all but impossible for outspoken social advocates to be nominated any more? Could conservative Academy members be so afraid of a repeat performance that they won't even risk the chance that another one will get onstage?

(Then again, Vanessa does have two nominations since then...)

Rob said...

Christ, what an inexpressive, lackluster trailer. I'm still excited for this, given the enthusiasm by everyone who's seen it, but this trailer is seriously underwhelming and does nothing to draw you in.

mrripley said...

is it possible carey mulligan could be this years sally hawkins.

nat that one will anger me until i die.

NATHANIEL R said...

carl i assume it's more the films themselves (she's not in many oscar bait films) and that unless they're already acclimated to you as a performer (like they are to winslets and the swanks and the zellwegers and the streeps) your name just isn't going to register as an automatic FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION.

GDL said...

"is it possible carey mulligan could be this years sally hawkins."

Well mrripley, at least right now, I don't think Mulligan has the Hawkins' bad luck for those reasons:

1. Mulligan's role is by far, more "Oscarable" role than Hawkins (Audrey Hepburn, Julie Christie, Catherine Burns, Candy Clark...). They love the classic young girl growing up for different aspects.
2. Since the beginning of the season Hawkins had a LOT of detractors who think her performance was overrated and her character too annonying. For Mulligan, I heard nothing but raves since Sundance, even people who didn't like the film admire Mulligan's work.
3. Physical appearence: Mulligan has a better "look" at AMPAS.
4. Hollywood conexions: Mulligan has four films this year with famous people: "The Greatness", "Brothers", "Public Enemies" and "Never Let Me Go". Also her raved work in the stage production in "The Seagull". Hawkins was still an unknown actress for american audiences last year and her only big card was Mike Leigh.
5. For a strange reason, Leigh's comedy films were underappreciated at AMPAS.

Said that. I think the nominations would be:

LOCK: Best Actress (With Cornish are the only raved performances right now)

LIKELY: Best Supporting Actor (For Molina)
Best Adapted Screenplay

POSSIBLE: Best Supporting Actress (Maybe "Sorry for didn't nominate you last year" Sally Hawkins)
Best Picture

Marsha Mason said...

If they were really worried about a "zionist hoodlums" redux, Sean Penn is as likely a candidate for a speech to remember that they'd like to forget as any, so I don't think it really affects anyone's chances. You think they think that far ahead?

Anonymous said...

Sorry Sarsgaard lovers, but call me shallow, but I can't stand his poor accent and it really bothers and annoys me that no one pointed that out. To me, the accent is part of the role as well (unless he's an American pretending to be a British?????)

Bill_the_Bear said...

Nathaniel, please do a "10 biggest Oscar snubs of the decade" post.

Here's the one that always raises my blood pressure when I think of it, just to start you off: Paul Giamatti in "Sideways."

Anonymous said...

Although Mulligan seems a lock for a nomination, she certainly is not a lock for the win based on her lack of body of work and her unknown quantity factor. She has alot of work to do if she is going to win the gold........

mrripley said...

maria bello's a history of violence snub stings like a bee!!!

Anonymous said...

I've been reading about the Sarsgaard's accent in some other websites as well. I didn't think it was bad, maybe because I really want to see him nominated (he's one of my favourite actors). Anyway, Renee Zellwegger got nominated for 'Bridget Jones' and I find her accent in that very exaggerated.

RC said...

I totally agree about Peter in Shattered Glass -- - a tragedy he wasn't recognized.

I'm excited about Carey Mulligan's role in "Never Let Me Go" with Kiera Knighley --- I hope this film helps propell that one as well

adelutza said...

I've loved Never Let Me Go , the book I mean, and I see that the cast of the film is really great. I have high hopes for this, but it's probably going to be released only next year.
Carrie Mulligan is almost a lock for a nomination, and , having seen the film, I can't say she doesn't deserve it. It's just that, you know, some people have all the luck. How great it is to get such a role at her age?

gabrieloak said...

I'm hope Mulligan is better in this movie than she was on stage in The Seagull. Talk about overhype.

Character Education said...

I think Director did not select the fit person for his character.

amir_uk said...

That looks so good... Love the still they used for the poster as well... Emma Thompson's line reading was immense... Rosamund Pike I'm rooting for because she seems like a very nice person who's not fully sure of herself yet (and she was brilliant on stage in Madame de Sade this year)... Carey Mulligan I was worried about not liking (I'm always hit-and-miss with the upcoming young women ie. Scarlett 2003 HIT, Ellen Page 2007 MISS), but this looks like some fine fine work... Peter Sarsgaard is beyond dreamy and I'm glad he's finally got a rake role deserving of his yummy good looks (and yes, let's just all pretend he was nominated for Shattered Glass - apart from Robbins, I can't even remember who was cited that year).

mrripley said...

who cares about ellen page now.god i could've smacked her face in juno,that'll be a laughable nom in years to come.

NATHANIEL R said...

I respectfully disagree. I thought she was easily the best thing about the movie... and the dialogue (which so many people felt was insufferably twee) would have been a lot harder to stomach with a lesser actress.

Fernando Moss said...

You are right about Page Nat, but I think the only nominated performance that year that really deserved the nod was Christie's and mabe Linney's... I mean Ahsley Judd, Tang Wei, Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry and Amy Adams were all better than Blanchett, Page and Cotillard...

Rts said...

I won't believe that this is making the top ten until it actually does. Just not feeling it.

Anonymous said...

Ahsley Judd LMFAO

Marshall said...

SHATTERED GLASS was six years ago? That movie came out my senior year of high school. Jesus yeah I guess six. God I feel old.