To be perfectly frank, I fear that Variety (Claudia Eller, Cynthia Littleton) screwed the pooch when they offered a blanket apology to Carey Mulligan for that one paragraph in Dennis Harvey‘s 1.26.20 review of Promising Young Woman, despite editor Peter Debruge not changing a word of it during Sundance ’20 and no one else changing it for nearly a whole year after that.
Plus the faux pas of Variety not even allowing Harvey to write a follow-up to explain where he was coming from and to remind everyone that he LIKED Promising Young Woman.
I suspect that was a bad move in that it created empathy on Harvey’s behalf (and resentment of Variety‘s needless bludgeoning) among male Academy members of a certain age. All I know is that the buzz was building and building in Mulligan’s favor up until Kyle Buchanan‘s 12.23.20 N.Y. Times interview with her, and then a few days later came the Variety apology and then it all started to change. I know that the Carey momentum seemed to slow down if not stall after that.
I can’t believe that the Academy will give the Oscar to Viola Davis for lip-synching with a fat suit; I expect that despite Frances McDormand having won twice before, they might hand it to her. I personally would love to see the Oscar go to Mulligan, perhaps as a referendum on all her performances since 2009’s An Education as much as her work in PYW, but, like I said, I think Variety may have messed things up for her. Perhaps not but maybe.
HE to Academy members: It wouldn’t be fair to blame Mulligan for what Eller and Littleton did. She didn’t ask for an apology, remember. She just took issue, briefly, with Harvey’s alleged or perceived view that she wasn’t hot enough to play Cassie, the Promising Young Woman avenger.