Oscar Watch: Hands of Stone

Having premiered at the Cannes Film Festival yesterday, the boxing biopic Hands of Stone hopes to be the next film in that genre to garner Oscar attention, much like Rocky, Raging Bull, and The Fighter before it.

The pic focuses on the legendary Roberto Duran, played here by Edgar Ramirez and casts Robert De Niro as his trainer Ray Arcel. Of course, Mr. De Niro won his only lead Actor gold statue for his lauded role as Jake La Motta in Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull in 1980 and he would competing here for Supporting Actor.

Hmmm. A legendary actor with an acclaimed pugilist picture to his credit maybe making a return to the Red Carpet? Sounds a bit like last year when Sylvester Stallone was nominated for Supporting Actor for Creed and surprisingly lost to Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies. In order for Hands of Stone to receive serious Academy attention for the big race (Picture), it would’ve needed even better reviews than Creed. While early reviews are fairly solid, that didn’t happen and you can pretty much count out that possibility. Same goes for Ramirez in Actor.

As for De Niro, the Weinstein Company (who are no slouches at awards campaigning) may pull out all the stops for their actor being recognized. It’s unlikely to occur, however. The great story with Stallone was the near 40 year lay-off between nominations and the connection with him playing the same role being recognized so many decades apart. De Niro, on the other hand, was just nominated four years ago for his work in Silver Linings Playbook. 

While Hands of Stone (being released domestically on August 26) could be a mid-size hit come late summer, Cannes has shown it’s improbable that it’ll be on the minds of Academy voters.

 

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