As you may have noticed on the blog over the past couple of weeks, the array of recent film festivals that includes Toronto, Telluride and Venice has assisted in making the 2015 Oscar race a bit clearer. These fests have vaulted such titles as The Danish Girl, Carol, Steve Jobs, The Martian, Suffragette, Spotlight and Black Mass into the conversation for various nominations. On the flip side, these festivals can also pretty much crush the hopes of other pictures that are screened and receive a negative reaction.
That appears to be the case with I Saw the Light, the biopic of country singer Hank Williams that has been mentioned as an Oscar contender. Then it screened and critical reaction has not been kind. In fact, it currently sits at a troubling 14% on Rotten Tomatoes. While the pic itself has been met negatively by reviewers, the performances are receiving high marks. Tom Hiddleston (known to most as Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) stars as Williams. His work has gotten high marks but the bad reaction to the film itself probably means he won’t make the cut in the Best Actor race. Playing his wife, Elizabeth Olsen has had even better notices from critics. In my initial round of predictions a couple of weeks back, I included her as a nominee for Supporting Actress. She could still make the cut, but I’m far less certain than I was before. Don’t be surprised to see her name left out when I do my second round of predictions.
Bottom line: while these festivals do a great job at showcasing future Academy contenders, they can bury others. I Saw the Light appears to be just such a casualty.