Monday, August 30, 2010

Best in Show: Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom, the 2010 Sundance Grand Jury winner, is now playing on 39 of the nation's screens. Let that be 39 steps closer to an Oscar nomination for Jacki Weaver; it could happen if Academy members actually see the acclaimed crime thriller. But let’s not jump ahead of the narrative. An Oscar nomination would be a deserving climax, but it’s not exactly a prologue. If Animal Kingdom's confident storytelling teaches us anything, it’s to stay focused and earn your dramatic developments...


Not all of my "best in show" columns at Tribeca can necessarily double as awards season FYC but this one isn 't subtle about that particular agenda. Awards traction is tricky for people who aren't big (U.S.) stars, especially in foreign born films, so why not start early?

I was a bit concerned about being too spoilery in tone (if not in plot) but then I remembered that the film's trailer and ad campaign are already relying heavily on the visibly underlined raves about Weaver's not-so-very-nice momster. And, hey, even if you know details about each character going in, the plot will still twist and turn in organic but surprising ways while you're watching. Good movie.

"Smurf" with her boys.

Is this playing anywhere near you?
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11 comments:

Paul Outlaw said...

Saw a screening a few weeks ago and was mighty impressed by the directing and the entire ensemble. Creepy little movie. Weaver is definitely a a standout, as is Ben Mendelsohn as her eldest sociopath son.

No Bad Movies said...

Pearce is believable too. Weaver should nab an Oscar nod in support. Screenplay as well. Should and would are two different things. But the movie may be too small and unseen for Oscar. It happens every year when a real good film gets overlooked. Oscar may only be able to give one small indie a nomination and that could be for either Get Low or Winter's Bone, though I still think Animal Kingdom is better than both of those films. AK is number 2 in my top 10 so far this year.
If it doesn't register with Oscar, I'm positive The Spirit Awards will wrap their arms around the film.

jbaker475 said...

Wonderful movie (it kind of reminded me of "A Prophet," which I loved) and she was great in it. In the second half especially, she projects this weird sort of kittenish malice that really does deserve an Oscar nomination (at least at this point). If AMPAS doesn't go for it, then hopefully the ISA's will. Sadly, you might have to take that number down to 38 [warning: mini rant approaching], because the one theater in Houston that was showing it closed up shop without any warning this morning. It's not showing anywhere else in the city, and now the nation's 4th largest city only has one theater for indies/art house/foreign...and it only has 3 tiny screens (and it's also in danger of closing shop). GAHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Sorry about the venting. I'm just very close to having my own personal rage stroke about this.

Alice said...

It's great to see the American love for Animal Kingdom. And the US trailer sure gears itself towards Weaver's performance/Smurf's signature line. But I fear @No Bad Movies will be spot on and AK will be too small fry for the Oscars...we'll just have to wait and see.

Paul Outlaw said...

Don't forget: It's only eligible for Best Foreign Film at the Indie Spirits.

Glenn said...

I have already prepared myself for disappointment, but if a couple of critics awards come out early like, say, they did with Amy Ryan then maybe... just maybe.

But, really, anything written up about Weaver and Animal Kingdom is top notch.

Bill_the_Bear said...

Actually, the 39 would include at least four theatres in Canada...one each in Montréal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

I've seen it three times so far, and I'm throoughly on board for an Oscar nomination for Jacki Weaver.

You might also remember Animal Kingdom, Nat, when you're doing your Ensemble cast choices at the end of the year.

Jeffrey said...

I think an Oscar for anything associated with this may be a stretch if only for one reason: The actors speak in British accents for Brits, not for Americans.

I pride myself on being able to interpret even the heaviest of brogues but even I had a bit of trouble with some of the dialogue in this film. You're unlikely to get a screenwriting nom if Americans cannot tell what is being spoken, no?

Paul Outlaw said...

@ Jeffrey: The accents are hardcore Australian, nothing Brit about 'em.

Roark said...

i know i'm in the extreme minority on this one (i was on un prophet too), but i didn't care for animal kingdom at all. that said, i completely agree about weaver. what little of the film i did like was completely due to her performance.

Glenn said...

Jeff, as Paul said, they are very much Australian. Besides, not being able to understand the actors didn't hurt Trainspotting.