Oscar Watch: Stan & Ollie

Stan & Ollie has just closed out the London Film Festival and reviews are piling up. The film centers on legendary comedy duo Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly) in the waning times of their career. Jon S. Baird directs with a screenplay from Jeff Pope, who was nominated for his adapted screenplay along with Mr. Coogan five years ago for Philomena.

Most early reviews indicate this a winner. Some point out flaws in the picture itself, though praise appears to be unanimous for its two leads. Distributor Entertainment One has reportedly made the choice to campaign for Coogan and Reilly in the lead Actor race at the Oscars. That could be tricky. That category is already looking very crowded. Beyond that, the two could cancel each other out. Additionally, Reilly faces competition with himself when you include his performance in The Sisters Brothers.

Bottom line: I don’t see Stan & Ollie as a factor in Best Picture. In a weaker year, Best Actor (for Reilly especially) could be reachable, but is more of a long shot. Pope could find himself in the mix for Original Screenplay if this gets enough exposure, but that also appears unlikely right now. Its best chance at any nod may well be Makeup & Hairstyling with Reilly’s transformation into Hardy.

Stan & Ollie opens December 28 stateside in limited release. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…