Streaming platforms are gearing up for yet another attempt to win the affection of the Academy. While one streamer has yet to win the grand prize for Best Picture, Netflix has put together a solid list this year, at least judging by the reception at the Telluride Film Festival.
Saturday was the streamer’s big day, with Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut “The Lost Daughter” and Oscar-winning Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” unveiled in North America. .
In the case of “Power,” Campion threw in the gauntlet and orchestrated the best film of her impressive career, even surpassing “The Piano,” for which she became the second woman to be nominated for directing. Judging from the reception, the film has performed quite well for festival goers and could be the ace of the hole for Netflix for awards season. If Campion is nominated for directing, she would be the first woman to return for a second name. Kathryn Bigelow was snubbed for “Zero Dark Thirty” (2012) after winning for “The Hurt Locker” (2009).
The legs of “Power” rest on the actors. Benedict Cumberbatch, who hasn’t been nominated since Morten Tyldum’s “The Imitation Game” (2014), appears to be in a good position to attempt his second name. His dominant and terrifying Phil Burbank scares those who meet him, and this is one of his strongest turns. Along with three other films this year – “The Courier,” “The Electric Life of Louis Wain” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” – he will be splashed in the media landscape for his campaign.
It could also present a long-awaited chance for the Academy to finally name the talented Kirsten Dunst. After a breathtaking career that began with a snub for “Interview with the Vampire” (1994) by Neil Jordan, she delivered great performances in films like “The Virgin Suicides”, “Melancholia” and “The Beguiled”. If she campaigned to support the actress, voters might be ready to show their appreciation and gratitude for a long and impressive career. His co-stars Kodi Smit-McPhee and real-life partner Jesse Plemons are exquisite in their roles and divide their time in the film accordingly, with Plemons heavier in the first half and McPhee taking charge of the second.
Smit-McPhee, who began his Telluride journey in 2009 with “The Road” alongside Viggo Mortensen, is an invigorating presence in the film, emerging as a young Anthony Perkins. Plemons has the film’s line and could help Campion compete in an adapted script. It is not known which of the two men, if one or the other, will appeal to the Academy the most.
With one of Campion’s largest budgets, she makes every dollar count. Production design, cinematography, costumes, editing and sound are all on the table. Composer Jonny Greenwood could have a double mention himself in the Oscar nominations morning as he did the music for “Spencer” with Kristen Stewart, who also performed at the festival.
“The Power of the Dog” is now heading to Toronto and the New York Film Festival, where Netflix will aim to build on its momentum and solidify its status.
As for Gyllenhaal’s first feature film, the dense and heavy material showcases his talents as a filmmaker and storyteller. As we continue to see many of our talented actresses take the helm behind the camera – like Regina King (“A Night in Miami”) or later this year Halle Berry (“Bruised”) – it’s an exciting landscape for interesting stories to tell. Recount. “The Lost Daughter” could make inroads into the adapted screenplay, with its exploration of themes surrounding motherhood and society’s expectations of a woman’s place in it.
The cast is dynamic, with Oscar winner Olivia Colman (“The Favorite”) leading the charge. A year after nearly landing her second for “The Father”, she could once again be a competitive force. Similar to her winning turn in “The Favorite,” she’s not clearly a prime contender, especially if the plan is to campaign for her co-star Jessie Buckley, who plays the younger version of Colman’s character, in The Favorite. supporting actress category.
If people realize that Stewart left her “Twilight” days behind, then it’s time to move beyond the “Fifty Shades” series by discussing the gorgeous Dakota Johnson. As Bombshell Nina, she exudes confidence and vulnerability, causing her most demanding and electric turn to date. If Buckley campaigns to support, there could be a storyline that finds the two nominated women, which is not uncommon in the support categories. (“The Favorite” was nominated twice for Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz). Netflix will have to work its campaign magic to give it a fighting chance.
Netflix also has “The Hand of God”, the autobiographical film by Paolo Sorrentino, which directed the Italian international winner “The Great Beauty”, and his most recent could also remain in this category. It’s only been a year since Thomas Vinterberg fell in love with the lineup of “Another Round”, but Sorrentino’s feature film is a bit too bloated and insular to appeal to the award masses. The film tries to navigate macho characters and behaviors, which might be hard for American viewers to digest. The European public risks swallowing it.
Coming later this year, Netflix still has Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up” and “tick, tick… Boom! By Lin-Manuel Miranda. to potentially add to the mix of rewards season.