Awards Profile: A Bigger Splash

Luca+Guadagnino+Luca+Guadagnino+Portrait+Session+kjdtWs4FZbrlWelcome to the 2015 Awards Profiles series.  For the next two months, every day (except for Saturday), we will bring you a run down of a future 2015 film that we see as a potential awards vehicle for next year’s Academy Awards.  This is all speculative since with just about all these films, we haven’t seen a frame yet.  Nonetheless, we venture on.  If you miss a film, then click on the tag “2015 Awards Profile.”

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Writer: David Kajganich

Starring: Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson

Synopsis: An American couple, Paul and Marianne, spend their vacation in Italy and experience trouble when the wife invites a former lover and his teenage daughter to visit, which leads to jealousy and dangerous scenarios.

Why It Might Succeed:

The last time Tilda Swinton and Luca Guadagnino teamed up it was in 2009’s “I Am Love.” The film garnered a lot of attention from critics, turning it into a sleeper hit that pulled in some nominations for Best Foreign Language Film with various award groups. That success will likely have people more excited out of the gates for Swinton and Guadagnino’s third go around. Not having to fight an uphill battle to even get noticed can have a big impact on a film’s overall success as far as awards contention.

“A Bigger Splash” will be ripe material for its impressive cast as well. With Swinton, Ralph Fiennes and Matthias Schoenaerts you have a proven of trio of actors who can handle almost any material, but the prospect of that trio attacking a film that will deal with past loves, jealously and the open-ended ‘dangerous situations’ is like dangling a juicy steak in front of them.

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But even more enticing might be what Dakota Johnson will bring to the table. It will be hard for the young actress to outshine for co-stars, but what “A Bigger Splash” offers is our first real chance to see what Johnson is capable of as an actress. To date, she is best known for her brief scene in “The Social Network” and “Fifty Shades of Grey,” neither have exactly shown of her range of talent This film could reveal just what type of actress Johnson can be.

Sometimes these contained – the cast is only credited six people – dramatic films strike the right chord with the academy. “Amour” and “In the Bedroom” are a couple of films that come to mind that certainly weren’t the typical Oscar-bait type movies but received a respectful cume of nominations. “A Bigger Splash” could fit in that little niche.

 

Why It Might Fail:

Or it could be like “Carnage.” Roman Polanski’s adaptation of the acclaimed play starred Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, Jodi Foster and John C. Reilly. Hype was there, the quartet of actors seemed perfect for the material and yet nothing came of it in the end. “A Bigger Splash” can fall into similar trappings if it becomes too melodramatic.

There are other question marks as well. How will Guadagnino fare with his English language deubt, and only his fourth feature film in a nearly 20-year career? Can screenwriter David Kajganich make the jump from horror to drama? Will Dakota Johnson be able to live up to her co-stars or will she end up dragging them down?

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There are almost more questions than answers right now and it will likely stay that way until the first eyes are laid on it.

The problem with not being traditional Oscar bait is that it will be easier to write off when it comes to its chances with the academy.

Awards Speculation:

“A Bigger Splash” will have to make a pretty big entrance to get itself in any real position to be a major contender at the Oscars. Sure, any of the actors could find themselves in a competition for a slot if one of the fields, but it might have to be career bests from all involved to truly make a dent. “A Bigger Splash” could very much follow in the footsteps of “I Am Love,” a critical hit, with a number of recognitions from smaller award bodies, but left out from the big dance.

Potential Nominations:
Best Picture
Best Director
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Original Screenplay

About Michael Balderston

NoVA native who has returned to the Washington D.C. area after two years in L.A. My biggest annoyance since leaving L.A. is not having immediate access to indie films on their first weekend, but I'm making due. When I'm not tracking the year's Oscar players or exploring film history, I'm rooting for my Philadelphia sports teams.