2017: The Year of Kumail Nanjiani

It was early in 2017 when The Big Sick started garnering buzz from its screening at the Sundance Film Festival. Nearly one year later, the unique rom com was a smashing box office success and established its star/co-writer as a fresh and exciting new voice on the big screen.

Kumail Nanjiani was best known for his role on HBO’s “Silicon Valley” and stand-up. He had appeared in numerous supporting roles in comedies such as Central Intelligence and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, but The Big Sick was something else entirely.

The Pakistani born performer penned the screenplay with wife Emily V. Gordon. Loosely based on their relationship and their dealings with her illness and cultural issues, the pic resonated with critics and audiences. The reported $5 million production took in $43 million stateside with a sizzling 98% Rotten Tomatoes score. Sick could soon attract Oscar attention, especially for Best Original Screenplay and Holly Hunter in Supporting Actress.

For Nanjiani, the year began with a festival screening that turned his movie into an audience favorite throughout the year. 2017 ends with his many new fans eager to see his next move.

Oscar Watch: The Big Sick

Another day, another Sundance Film Festival write up of a film that could have 2017 awards hopes. The Big Sick has emerged as a huge audience favorite in Utah. This romantic comedy was written by Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon and borrows from their real life experiences as a mixed faith couple. Nanjiani (who you may recognize from HBO’s “Silicon Valley”) also headlines and costars include Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, and Ray Romano. Judd Apatow serves as a producer.

Sick is said to be a crowd pleaser and Amazon showed a lot of their faith with it when they plunked down $12 million for the distribution rights. When it does receive its stateside release, it could have a sleeper status potential.

Will that translate into awards chatter? It’s doubtful as comedies always have an uphill battle for recognition. Yet one category where it could pop up is Original Screenplay, depending on level of competition.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

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