Oscar Predictions: The Whale

The Venice Film Festival is where filmmaker Darren Aronofsky debuted 2008’s The Wrestler, which was a career resurgent role for Mickey Rourke that resulted in a Best Actor nomination (he was probably runner-up after Sean Penn as Milk). In 2010, his follow-up Black Swan‘s premiere in Lido began Natalie Portman’s eventual trip to the Academy’s stage in Best Actress.

Prognosticators have been expecting the same from Aronofsky with The Whale as it seeks to bring Brendan Fraser into the Oscar fold. Based on Samuel D. Hunter’s 2012 play, the pic takes place in one apartment with Fraser as 600 pound teacher attempting to reconnect with his daughter (Sadie Sink of Stranger Things). Costars include Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins, and Samantha Morton.

Reviews are just starting to surface and they are of the mixed variety. Some are claiming it’s an effective tearjerker while others say it misses the mark. However, Fraser’s work is being lauded to the extent that his first Best Actor nomination seems assured. Any other nods are iffy (with the likely exception of Makeup and Hairstyling due to the prosthetics work involved). In Supporting Actress, Chau is being singled out more than Sink and she appears to have a fair shot. As for Picture and Adapted Screenplay, let’s see how the coming days (it will hit Toronto as well) play out with the buzz. With the critical reaction varying widely, Fraser can at least plan his trip to the red carpet. Other races are up in the air. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

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