Oscar Predictions: TÁR

Four actresses have won three or more acting Oscars. Katherine Hepburn leads the pack with four while Ingrid Bergman, Frances McDormand, and Meryl Streep are the trio boasting three. Could Cate Blanchett join that elite club with Tár, which has premiered at the Venice Film Festival ahead of its October 7th bow? Based on early reviews, it’s very possible.

The psychological drama, which clocks in at over two and a half hours, is the third feature from Todd Field and his first in 16 years. His previous psychological dramas In the Bedroom (2001) and Little Children (2006) scored a combined 8 Academy nods (five of them for their respective casts). Playing a conductor whose drive borders on insanity, critics are heaping praise on Blanchett and the film itself. The Rotten Tomatoes meter is at a clean 100%.

In 2004, Blanchett won her first statue in Supporting Actress for The Aviator in which she played the aforementioned Hepburn. Nine years later, she took Best Actress for Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. With Tár, a third Oscar could follow nine years after that. Initial reaction is saying this is one of her greatest performances. This would be her 8th nomination overall and first since 2015’s Carol. I would go as far to say that her inclusion in the Actress final five is already close to assured.

What of its other prospects? It’s worth noting that Bedroom and Children both received adapted screenplays nods. This is Field’s first original screenplay in a category that could be jam packed. He helped his cause today with the Venice buzz (and that could include a directing mention as well). That said, even some of the gushing write-ups warn that Tár may not be accessible to mainstream audiences. This could potentially complicate its viability in Best Picture, but it certainly announced itself as a possibility.

I can’t help but think of 2010’s Black Swan from Darren Aronofsky as a comp. The two pics seem to share similar plot themes. It premiered in Italy 12 years ago and eventually received 5 Oscar nods including a win for its star Natalie Portman. Tár would love to follow that trajectory considering Picture and Director were among the quintet of Swan nominations.

Besides Blanchett, supporting actresses Nina Hoss and Noemie Merchant are picking up laudatory ink. I’m guessing Focus Features will mount a campaign for the former yet that remains to be seen. Cinematography and Score are among the chances for tech nods.

Bottom line: it’s hard to imagine Blanchett not being a major force in the Actress field for 2022. How far Tár goes beyond that is more in question. I do think its chances of being in my ten BP picks is better today than it was yesterday. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

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