What’s with the narration, or more particularly the narrator’s weirdly dated speaking style? It’s meant to be processed as a form of mock-ironic commentary (right?), but that suggests that Queen of Earth is some kind of dry comedy and not, as the copy states, “a psychological character study about an emotionally fragile woman (Elizabeth Moss) on the verge of a mental breakdown during her stay at a lakeside retreat with her seemingly unsympathetic best friend (Katherine Waterston).” IFC Films will open pic on 8.26.
Jason Segel has stood up and officially thrown his hat into the Oscar ring. His 9.26 interview with the N.Y. Times Oscar-season “bagger” Cara Buckley about his attention-getting performance as the late David Foster Wallace in James Ponsoldt‘s The End of the Tour (A24, 7.31) pretty much constitutes an official announcement. The theme of Segel’s campaign will be one that any working actor can relate to — the occasional need to gather one’s courage in order to stretch and break the mold and defy typecasting.
The End of The Tour‘s Jason Segel.
Segel “had grown weary of rote rom-com roles and was ravenous for change,” Buckley writes. Portraying a much-worshipped writer “was such a U-turn from Mr. Segel’s regular fare [that it] made the part only more tantalizing. ‘I knew I was going to try it, immediately,’ Mr. Segel said in an interview in the lounge of Manhattan’s Bowery Hotel. ‘When you start repeating yourself, it gets boring for everybody.'”
But if Segel and his handlers are smart, they’ll focus on the Best Supporting Actor race rather than Best Actor. The Best Actor situation is already half-locked down at this stage, and there’s just no way in hell that Segel will be able to elbow aside Black Mass‘s Johnny Depp, The Revenant‘s Leonardo DiCaprio, Trumbo‘s Bryan Cranston, Steve Jobs‘ Michael Fassbender, The Danish Girl‘s Eddie Redmayne (that’s five already!) and Snowden‘s (or The Walk‘s) Joseph Gordon Levitt (six!). Not to mention Love & Mercy‘s fully deserving Paul Dano and John Cusack, who’ve been looking at an uphill climb since last June.
On Tuesday morning (7.28) organizers of the Toronto Film Festival (9.10 to 9.20) will announce many of the major award-season contenders that will be screened as world gala premieres (first time anywhere), North American premieres (already seen in Cannes or Berlin but not slated for Telluride) or Canadian premieres. The latter category will include films that have chosen to premiere at Telluride and have therefore accepted either (a) a lesser Toronto venue if they want to screen during TIFF’s first four days or (b) a premiere at a first-class theatre anytime after the first four days.
In other words handicappers, like last year, can again work backwards from Toronto’s Tuesday announcement. If a toney, big-name film is classified as a Canadian premiere, it’s playing Telluride first. A film can also be identified as a Telluride-firster if it’s playing at a less-than-deluxe venue over the first four days, but when will venue info be available?
It seems as if Toronto is, as usual, playing hardball and doing everything it can to elbow Telluride in the ribs whenever possible. In some ways Toronto’s gangsta strategy appears to be working but in other ways Telluride (9.4 to 9.7) is still the coolest and fairest festival of them all.
I’m hearing that Scott Cooper‘s Black Mass, a true-life melodrama about Boston crime lord Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp), is a definite Telluride preem. If nothing else the Telluride debut will serve as a launch pad for Depp’s Best Actor campaign.
Oscar-wise Depp will be up against The Revenant‘s Leonardo DiCaprio, Trumbo‘s Bryan Cranston, Steve Jobs‘ Michael Fassbender, The Danish Girl‘s Eddie Redmayne (I’m starting to get irritated by the LGBT club hanging over everyone’s head…show your love for this touching portrait of transgender humanism or you may be suspected of being a closet bigot) and possibly Joseph Gordon Levitt in either (a) Oliver Stone‘s Snowden or (b) for his Pepe Le Pew performance in Robert Zemeckis‘s The Walk.
It’s entirely possible that Marc Abraham‘s I Saw The Light (Sony Pictures Classics, 11.27), the Hank Williams biopic costarring Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen, will have its first peek-out at the 2015 Telluride Film Festival (9.4 through 9.7). SPC and Telluride have longstanding ties, and it’s already understood the SPC’s Truth and Son of Saul (which world-preemed at Last May’s Cannes Film Festival) will screen at that Colorado gathering. Or…whatever, it could also debut at the Toronto Film Festival. We’ll know on Tuesday when Toronto announces some of the bigger films on its slate.
I Saw The Light costars (and the off-screen entwined) Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen.
Andrey and Hank Williams with their two kids sometime in the late 1940s.
I’ve heard from a research-screening source about I Saw The Light, which apparently runs in the vicinity of two hours. Hiddleston is said to be strongly invested as Williams but Olsen’s performance as his wife and musical partner Audrey is said to be the real-stand-out. The second-hand source passed along adjectives like “unreal” and “scene-stealing,” and said Olsen could wind up as a Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress contender, as her performance is right on the edge between lead or supporting. Hiddleston and Olsen have been in a relationship since the film shot last year, but if she does indeed steal the film acting-wise (and again, this is just one guy talking so take it with a grain)…well, do the math. Hiddleston is no doubt expecting Light to be a major career-booster.