Most Known For: “Mean Girls,” “Wedding Crashers,” “The Notebook”
Snubbed For: “A Most Wanted Man”
Every March the buzzword surrounding the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is bubble. Which teams are on the right side of the bubble to get in to the tournament, which teams are on the outs. If we were to bring that analogy to Oscar hopefuls and focus in on Rachel McAdams, her career has most assuredly been on the wrong side when the bubble burst. When, or will, her time come to land on the right side? Before we try and answer that, let’s take a look at what she’s done so far.
The Canadian-born McAdams made her big-screen debut in 2002, though 2004 was her true breakout year. She first starred as the queen of high school Regina George in “Mean Girls,” where she terrorized the halls with her devilish performance. She then was then one half of Nicholas Spark’s most iconic love-story when she starred opposite Ryan Gosling in “The Notebook.”
So in 2004 we learned her name, but in 2005 she showed her range. McAdams had a trio of films that were all extremely different, but she proved her worth in each. In “Wedding Crashers” she was more of the straight-faced love interest surrounded by a bunch of wackos. She got to show off more of her comedy skillset in the family Christmas movie “The Family Stone.” Then, in “Red Eye,” we saw her in a different kind of horror/thriller.
Over her first few years, and for the rest of the decade, McAdams would prove she has what it takes to have a long Hollywood career, but she never could quite reach the top tier of stardom, nor could she find that role that would really get her in contention for an Oscar. Again, the bubble analogy comes into play. She was flirting with where her career would end up, but no one was, or even still is, quite sure.
But in 2011 she started making some moves to push her in the direction that could lead to an eventual Oscar chance. Her supporting role in “Midnight in Paris” was small and not given all that much to do, but she brought out the characteristics of what that character needed to be. She would work with a few other legendary filmmakers over the next couple of years. First, for Brian DePalma’s “Passion,” which crashed and burned and few have even seen the remains. Then for Terrence Malick in “To the Wonder,” which is a total bore, but her brief role is certainly not to blame for that.
McAdams lone gripe with the academy thus far comes in a film that was unfortunately totally overlooked altogether. Anton Corbjin’s “A Most Wanted Man” was easily one of the most underrated films from last year, with overlooked performances across the board, from the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman in his final completed role (“Hunger Games” was not finished when he passed away) to McAdams. McAdams plays an immigrations lawyer who gets caught in the middle of a terrorist controversy. A strong performance in a film that deserved more attention than what it got, though we could say that about most of Corbjin’s films.
Now, McAdams is poised to have the biggest year of her career. She already has been apart of two high profile projects, “Aloha” and “True Detective” season 2 – one was a complete bomb, and the other we’re still waiting for a final verdict. In addition, she still has boxing-drama “Southpaw” and the true-story drama “Spotlight.” Early reviews show “Southpaw” is clearly Jake Gyllenhaal’s movie, but a solid stockpile of performances in a year never hurts your Oscar chances. If McAdams will have any chances at Oscar it will be for “Spotlight” where she is currently top-billed in Tom McCarthy’s film on the Boston Catholic church scandal.
I have to admit, I like McAdams, so I’m rooting for her to land on the right side of things when the bubble pops, but she is still waiting for that signature role to come along, and when it does, that’s when we’ll know where she stands.
“True Detective” has three episodes remaining in its second season and “Southpaw” is slated to open this Friday, July 24.