In my recently-posted piece about the 2014 New York Film Critics Circle winners, I expressed profound puzzlement about Marion Cotillard winning the Best Actress prize for her performances in Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes‘ Two Days, One Night as well as James Gray‘s The Immigrant. “Where did this Immigrant love come from?,” I asked. “What cabal of James Gray loyalists got together and rammed this through?”
A few minutes ago a friend explained that nobody has been talking about Cotillard as a Best Actress candidate at least partly because of the lackluster backing of the Weinstein Company.
“Even after The Immigrant trounced all other Weinstein titles (most notably, The Imitation Game) with both the Spirit Award nominating committee and now the NYFCC, the Weinstein Co. does not even list The immigrant on its ‘awards season’ screening RSVP website or its guild-friendly site, and until sending out an online screener to members of NYFCC in the middle of Thanksgiving weekend, had made no visible efforts to promote the film whatsoever.
“This in spite of the fact that The Immigrant had rave reviews pretty across the board when it opened last spring (76 on Metacritic to Imitation Game‘s 71 and Theory of Everything‘s 72). But I know, I know…it’s so much more interesting to theorize a burgeoning James Gray loyalist cabal in the NYFCC than going off the empirical evidence!”
I thanked my friend but added, “You aren’t trying to tell me there’s no such thing as a James Gray cabal, are you? I know there is. It’s all out of New York. Gray’s critic homies. They all know and email each other and high-five each other at parties.”‘ To which he replied, “The real Gray cabal is in Paris” — a reference to Cannes Film Festival topper Thierry Fremaux and his homies. He admits, however, that “the London critics despise Gray.”
My initial response to the Cotillard win: “Let me explain something very clearly: Nobody has been talking about Marion Cotillard as a Best Actress contender of any consequence. Nobody at all. She’s clearly genuine and stressed-out and crumbling in a non-actressy way in the Dardennes Brothers film but c’mon, going door to door and asking her co-workers for the same consideration in scene after scene after scene? Does this really amount to a performance of great reach and depth?
“In my book Cotillard phoned in her performance in The Immigrant,” I added. Here’s a quote from my 5.24.13 review: “Cotillard isn’t playing a character named Ewa as much as playing herself playing a character named Ewa. I only know that Ewa/Marion never seems to play her cards with any kind of deception or cleverness, like anyone would. She’s always just surveying the sordid nature of 1921 New York City with those big, watery, guilt-tripping eyes.”