Oscar Predictions: Mothering Sunday

Eva Husson’s romantic British period piece Mothering Sunday sure looks like an awards contender on paper. Based on a 2016 novel by Graham Swift, the Lionsgate release (out stateside November 19) originally debuted at Cannes and has made its way to the Toronto Film Festival. Starring Odessa Young and Josh O’Connor, Sunday also features a trio of Oscar winner in its supporting cast (Olivia Colman, Colin Firth, Glenda Jackson).

Reviews thus far are pleasing with a 93% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Calling it a bleaker story set in a Downton Abbey world, this could find a niche audience. Yet even the positive critical reaction doesn’t indicate to me that it will resonate with the Academy. Competition could simply be too steep to make a play in the major races like Picture or Adapted Screenplay. Furthermore it’s said the high-profile supporting cast may not receive enough screen time to contend. Don’t cry for Colman, however. She’s already in the mix in Best Actress for The Lost Daughter.

Bottom line: perhaps Sunday could pop up in Production or Costume Design (though I doubt it) and that’s about the best hope. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…

Oscar Watch: Shirley

In 2019, The Handmaid’s Tale lead Elisabeth Moss picked up a bit of awards buzz for Her Smell. That speculation never really went anywhere and she came up empty-handed at the majors. Moss might have another contender in 2020 with Shirley, which premiered over the weekend at the Sundance Film Festival.

Moss stars as horror novelist Shirley Jackson with a supporting cast including Michael Stuhlbarg, Odessa Young, and Logan Lerman. This is the follow-up to director Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline, which nabbed some attention on the indie awards circuit two years ago. Early reviews are encouraging.

What’s currently unknown is how much exposure Shirley receives over the course of the year. The limited visibility of Her Smell might have prevented Moss’s first real Oscar attention. If Shirley can mount a vibrant campaign, perhaps that dynamic will change. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Michael Stuhlbarg and Elisabeth Moss appear in Shirley by Josephine Decker, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Thatcher Keats.
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