Two awards seasons ago, Florian Zeller’s The Father premiered at Sundance all the way back at a time known as January 2020. For over a year (and with the Oscars delayed due to COVID), the performance of Anthony Hopkins stayed in the minds of voters and he scored an upset Best Actor victory over the late Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom). The pic nabbed five other nominations including a win for its Adapted Screenplay.
Zeller’s follow-up is The Son and prognosticators including me anointed Hugh Jackman as the Best Actor frontrunner sight unseen. That dynamic has changed as it’s screened at Venice before moving to Toronto (the actual release is November 11th). The supporting cast includes Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby, Zen McGrath, and Hopkins.
Unlike The Father where reviews were basically all laudatory, the Italian buzz for The Son is wildly mixed. Some are calling it an emotional gut punch and highly effective. Others are claiming it’s a big failure. If there seems to be agreement on one item, it’s the potency of Jackman. He still seems likely to make the Actor cut for his second nod after 2012’s Les Miserables. Yet I’m feeling more confident that I made the right call by placing Brendan Fraser (The Whale) in 1st place on Monday’s update and sliding Jackman to second.
Beyond its star, any other nominations for The Son appears questionable at press time. Perhaps Toronto reaction will help flesh it out – for better or worse. From the initial reaction, I’d say Kirby and McGrath could be possible in the supporting fields. Hopkins is said to have a smaller role and Dern’s character reportedly has less to work with than Kirby. It could find its way into Adapted Screenplay, but a win seems like a reach already.
Bottom line: Jackman should be safe though nothing else is with this one. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…