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Oscar Profile: The Beguiled


The Beguiled
Focus Features – limited 6/23, wider 6/30
Dir: Sofia Coppola
Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning, Colin Farrell

What It’s About: Based on the novel by Thomas Cullinan and previously made into a film by Clint Eastwood, Oscar-winner Sofia Coppola adapts this post-Civil War western/thriller about a house of sheltered women (led by Oscar winner Nicole Kidman) who take in a wounded Union soldier (played by Colin Farrell). While the original film had a deeper Western vibe, Coppola’s version feels like a southern gothic version of Picnic at Hanging Rock and definitely remains firmly in her aesthetic.

Pros: The film just landed a spot at this year’s Cannes Film Festival as an In Competition film and comes from a previous Oscar winner (Coppola). A win here would definitely boost the film’s awards profile through the summer. 2013 Cannes jury member Nicole Kidman has another film In Competition at Cannes (The Killing of a Sacred Deer) and her performance in HBO’s Big Little Lies has garnered some of the best reviews of her career. The female-driven angle could be the right counter-programming in the usual male-dominated summer.

Cons: Landing on June 23rd in limited release (and going wider a week later), this summer effort might get lost in the shuffle of superheroes (Wonder Woman), movie monsters (The Mummy) and Transformers. It will need major reviews to keep it a player throughout the second half of the year. Focus Features already has a handful of fall and winter awards films (Darkest Hour, Victoria and Abdul, Paul Thomas Anderson’s fashion drama) and could just, well, focus on those.

Bottom Line: I feel like this early summer release will ultimately not end up a player. Cannes will be its only festival, box office is unlikely to light a fire and bigger, more awards-friendly dated films lie ahead.

Here is the new trailer but beware, if you aren’t familiar with the source material or previous film, this gives away quite a bit of the story.

About Erik Anderson

Erik thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

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