Oscar Watch: The Boys in the Band

Two years ago, there was a Broadway revival of the groundbreaking play The Boys in the Band on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. History repeats itself as the cinematic version of that revival debuts on the Netflix this weekend. That is what happened a half century ago when William Friedkin directed the adaptation of the first show (this was right before Friedkin would move on to Oscar winners and contenders like The French Connection and The Exorcist).

Joe Mantello, who helmed the 2018 stage production, reunites with executive producer Ryan Murphy and screenwriter Mart Crowley (he penned the 1968 production as well). Cast members from the play including Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, and Matt Bomer reprise their roles. Ahead of its streaming start, Band has screened for critics and the result is a current 92% Rotten Tomatoes rating.

Both the original play and movie adaptation were considered innovational at the time due to its gay characters taking center stage. Times have progressed and critics are noting this iteration works well as a period piece and current social commentary.

That said, I’m doubtful that awards voters will take notice. As has been mentioned before in my Oscar Watch posts, Netflix has a very full slate of contenders for 2020 and they will need to be choosy about their campaigns. The 1970 pic didn’t receive any nominations. Despite generally positive reviews, the same will probably hold true again. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

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