A week and a half ago I added Tom Hooper‘s The Danish Girl (Focus Features, 11.27) to HE’s list of likely Oscar pedigree contenders. The presumption was that Eddie Redmayne‘s portrayal of Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe will be “obvious catnip for Academy voters,” as Deadline‘s Pete Hammond commented in a 2016 Oscar forecast piece that ran on 3.6. At the same time I was thinking that an Oscar-winning actor donning a wig, eyeliner and falsies to play a transgender pioneer seemed almost too Oscar-baity and calculating. Everyone is thinking this, I’m sure. On the other hand I figured “okay, don’t get too wound up…breathe out, calm down.”
Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl was initially listed in the IMDB as a February 2016 release, but on 3.4 Focus Features announced that it will open domestically on 11.27.15.
At the same time I was suppressing a notion that underneath that ubiquitous photo of Redmayne-as-Wegener is an invisible caption-quote that reads “how are you going to deny me a nomination for this, despite my having just won for The Theory of Everything?” As Hammond remarks, Redmayne’s all-but-assured Best Actor nomination for The Danish Girl will “position him for the rare feat of back-to-back Best Actor wins, something not accomplished since Tom Hanks in 1993 and ’94 for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump.”
I was nonetheless playing it cool and low-down until I read the following sentence in the same Hammond piece: “I even heard early in the 2014 season that [director Tom] Hooper joked to a friend that it would be fine for Redmayne to be nominated for The Theory Of Everything but he was going to win” for his performance in The Danish Girl.
That’s it! I was suddenly seized by the same pushback instinct I felt years ago when I saw that Time magazine cover proclaiming that Munich was Spielberg’s “secret masterpiece.” Forget the “almost.” Redmayne-as-Wegener is too strategically “baity.” That’s how it feels right now, at least. So the director of The King’s Speech is at it again, eh? Well, we’ll see about that.
I don’t want to get too nuts about this for fear of losing out on Focus Features Phase One ad buys. I need to chill and just wait for the film to come out on 11.27 and take things in my stride, etc. I’m open to that. That alleged Hooper remark just made me see red. Sorry.