A number of recent Oscar Watch posts on this here blog has made one thing abundantly clear: the Best Actress race looks to be a competitive one in 2016. Already, Emma Stone (La La Land), Ruth Negga (Loving), Rooney Mara (Una), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins), and Amy Adams (Nocturnal Animals or Arrival) have established themselves as possibilities. And there’s still performers such as Viola Davis (Fences), Annette Bening (20th Century Women), Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train), Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane), and Jennifer Lawrence (Passengers) waiting in the wings.
Yet the race potentially got more interesting at the Venice Film Festival as Jackie has screened to some rave critical reaction. A biopic of First Lady Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy, it’s directed by acclaimed Chilean filmmaker Pablo Farrain and stars Natalie Portman in the title role. Early trade reviews have been over the moon with Portman’s portrayal, with one of them claiming that it may surpass her Oscar winning work in 2010’s Black Swan.
Interestingly, unlike most biopics, this is not based on a book or series of them. Therefore, this could qualify for an Original Screenplay nod. Based on the buzz so far, the love could perhaps extend to the Picture itself and Mr. Farrain.
Yet Jackie is most likely to garner attention for the woman playing her (whether costars such as Greta Gerwig, Peter Sarsgaard and Billy Crudup get noticed remains to be seen). Portman hasn’t really had a buzzed about awards role since Swan six years ago and this appears to be just that. As long as Jackie finds a distributor to give it 2016 consideration (something that will probably occur this week), we appear to have another major factor in an already crowded category.