The presumption that Eddie Redmayne may have already won the 2015 Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe in Tom Hooper‘s The Danish Girl (Focus Features, 11.27) has been kicking around for five or six months. Different folks have been hinting at this in different ways. On 3.6 Deadline‘s Pete Hammond wrote that Redmayne’s performance will be “obvious catnip for Academy voters.” On 4.30 Danish Girl costar Matthias Schoenaert told Hitfix’s Greg Ellwood that he’s “sure” Redmayne’s perf is “gonna get a second Oscar nom…it’s probably [his] second Oscar, period. Not even just a nod.” On 7.29 L.A. Times columnist Glenn Whipp stated that the combination of “a hot button issue with two Oscar winners (Redmayne and Hooper) and a talented newcomer (Vikander), and you have the makings of an Oscar juggernaut.”
Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl.
And then there’s the Hollywood Elsewhere way of acknowledging the all-but-inevitable, which is a half-serious suggestion that the producers of the 2016 Oscar telecast should get Caitlyn Jenner to present the Oscar. It would have to be done in secret, of course, but why not? It’ll surely get the ratings, and this has been a year in which Caitlyn and the transgender community have caught fire in the media, and we all know this will be a contributing factor in guild and Academy voters voting for Redmayne (let’s go with the flow, don’t want to be seen as bigoted or small-minded). So why not accept and embrace what’s happening and make obvious ratings hay? Obviously Jenner walking on stage to present the Best Actor Oscar will kill the suspense element, but what kind of suspense could there be next February (i.e., six months hence) with everyone having more or less predicted a Redmayne victory since the previous March?
Yes, of course, it may be that the emotional current in Redmayne’s performance and the sheer quality of The Danish Girl (which will be noted or not after it screens in Venice and Toronto) will make Redmayne the compelling favorite without any trendy pokes coming from the cultural conversation, but you can’t separate these things. We all have bowls of transgender casserole sitting in front of us and there really isn’t much choice about whether we’re hungry or not. We are! Because nobody wants to deal with the consequences of saying “oh, uhm…please, no more…I just ate and I’m stuffed!”
On 3.8 I noted that while “the Redmayne performance and corresponding campaign already seems ‘too calculating by half‘, Hollywood Elsewhere would nonetheless be honored to run Phase One ads on behalf of this sure-to-be-striking, discussion-worthy film, which will open in New York and Los Angeles on the extremely baity date of 11.27.15.”