The early days of the awards season bring buzz and promise, but they mean it’s time to brainstorm the studios’ strategy and strike.
With the Toronto International Film Festival handing over its prestigious People’s Choice Award to Kenneth Branna’s “Belfast”, Focus Features has the potential to declare itself the best-runner-up for this award-winning season of drama কিন্তু but the throne will not be easy to hold.
Speaking of the throne, the adaptation of Joel Quinn’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth”, which led to his first solo directing without his brother Ethan, starred as a gangbuster on the opening night of the New York Film Festival on September 24.
Accepting William Shakespeare has always been a difficult task, some films have had success (such as Brana’s 1996 “Hamlet” or Buzz Luhrmann’s 1996 Romeo + Juliet version) and others not so much (e.g., Michael Almereder’s 2014 “Symboline”).
Set as a black-and-white period piece of A24 and Apple Original Films, Macbeth’s tragedy, production design (Stefan Dechant and Nancy Haig’s set decoration), cinematography (Bruno Delbanel), sound (to be determined) and original score (car) . Consumer audiences can’t crowd the cinema hall on Christmas Day, but voters don’t need that kind of narrative of the film to translate.
Denzel Washington as Macbeth will be an ultimate rival to Will Smith’s Richard Williams in the crowd-memorial “King Richard”. It marks a possible recurrence of an Oscar, claiming victory over Smith’s “Ali” 20 years after Washington’s performance on “Training Day”. It should also be noted that Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”), Clifton Collins, Jr. (“Jockey”), Peter Dinklage (“Sirano”), Joaquin Phoenix (“C’mon C’mon”) and Simon Rex. (“Red Rocket”) is already making noise – with other prospects waiting in the wings (Javier Bardem, Bradley Cooper, Leonardo DiCaprio, Adam Driver, Andrew Garfield and Cooper Hoffman).
Supporting players are the brightest spot in the film, which is not uncommon with the “Macbeth” adaptation. Corey Hawkins ’McDuff is emotionally involved in his limited scene, and vengeful words have flowed through his veins. If Washington is the real contender for its third Oscar, someone like Hawkins could come on this ride.
With only 10 movie credits in the last 30 years, Katherine Hunter’s Wizards (and Old Man) has been innovatively complex and beautifully arranged through compression and soul-piercing dialogue offerings. She could become a critical darling this season (probably a NYFCC future winner?), Which could attract some supportive actresses. Surprisingly in one scene, the recent Emmy nominee Moses Ingram (Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit”) has announced to Hollywood that he’s not going anywhere, and every producer has to be ready for his role. It will probably be one of those that people like me will play drums, but it will probably be short. But we can pray.
Francis McDermott, who played Lady Macbeth, was nominated last year as the first woman in history to win a third and fourth Oscar for “Nomadland” the same year, respectively. He can also take two awards for “Macbeth”.
I’ve heard rumors that the studio is considering her for a supportive run this time around, although Lady Macbeth’s part has always been thought of as the lead role. A close source in the studio shared that the decision to support is very unlikely and she will once again compete for the lead actress. But when voters hear the delivery of McDormand’s “Out, Diamond Spot,” they’ll probably do what he wants.