A producer friend tells me that Todd HaynesCarol, an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith‘s 1952 lesbian romance (i.e., initially published under a nom de plume and called “The Price of Salt“) is being called “the female Brokeback Mountain” by an industry crony or two and that “it’s going to get a lot of Oscar buzz early on.” She believes that Cate Blanchett, whose titular character endures most of the story’s heartache and anguish, will be a likely recipient for a Best Actress nomination. The drama will have its big debut next month at the Cannes Film Festival, and open in the fall, of course, with all the attendant Oscar hoopla. Harvey is back in the game!

Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett in Todd Haynes’ Carol, which some are allegedly calling a “female Brokeback Mountain.”

The Cannes reception will have a lot to do with it, of course, but if the script is as good as my friend claims Carol could well end up as a Best Picture contender, and Haynes, who’s been churning out a string of sublimely realized, indie-level films for many years (including the fascinating Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There), could benefit from Best Director chatter. It’s certainly conceivable that Rooney Mara, who plays Carol’s love interest Therese Belivet, might also lure some heat as a Best Supporting Actress contender. Maybe. I don’t know anything.

My pally read Phillis Nagy‘s script sometime back and “loved it. It’s Cate Blanchett’s next Oscar, or at least her next Best Actress nomination. I really think I’m going to be proved right on this one. It’s a great story of a woman in a cold, affluent, unhappy marriage who sleeps around with women and decides to seduce a young engaged shopgirl — and then falls hard for her.”

It’s commonly known that “The Price of Salt” was a kind of autobiographical novel by Patricia Highsmith (Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley). Producer pally: “Women just had to stay hidden in the closet back then and this was Highsmith’s love story.” Or one of them, at least.

Highsmith’s Wiki page notes that “The Price of Salt” was published under the pseudonym Claire Morgan, and that “it garnered wide attention as a lesbian novel because of its rare happy ending. Highsmith didn’t publicly associate herself with this book until late in her life, probably because she had extensively mined her personal life for the book’s content.”

Principal photography on Carol began on 3.2.14 in Cincinnati and wrapped on 4.25.14.

Blanchett and Mara during Blanchett’s big night at the 2014 Santa Barbara Film Festival.