2018 Awards Profile: Felix Van Groeningen’s ‘Beautiful Boy’ from Amazon Studios

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Welcome to the 2018 Awards Profile series, where we talk about films coming to a theater near you at some point this year (at least at this time of writing). We will analyze the potential for these films to be players for the Academy Awards, and while many of these have the potential to be recognized, many will not, either by quality or being pushed back to the following year. For the next few weeks, we will bring you a film every Monday through Friday to talk about their awards hopes and analyze the film’s chances for success. If you have a suggestion, please include it in the comments below. If you missed a film, click on the tag or category Awards Profile.

FILM: “Beautiful Boy”
PRODUCERS: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Brad Pitt
DISTRIBUTOR: Amazon Studios
DIRECTOR: Felix Van Groeningen
WRITERS: Luke Davies, based on the memoirs by David Sheff and Nic Sheff
CAST: Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan, Timothy Hutton
SYNOPSIS (from IMDb): Chronicles meth addiction and recovery through the eyes of a father who watches his son as he struggles with the disease.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCCEED:

Beautiful Boy” has all the ingredients for an award-winning film. First, there’s the powerful producing team at Plan B Entertainment. Out of 28 films, they have 40 Academy Award nominations, 7 of which were for Best Picture, and 3 won the top prize. While not all of those winners were produced by the combination of Gardner/Kleiner/Pitt, they have proven themselves to be very skilled at pulling together a great film that resonates.

Next, there are Academy Award nominees Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet. They co-star as the father and son at the heart of the story. Carell was nominated for his role as John du Pont in the 2014 film “Foxcatcher.” But he has been in the awards conversation other times, too, even when those discussions didn’t yield nominations. Coming off of last year’s “Battle of the Sexes” and “Last Flag Flying,” there could be a push to get Carell his second nomination. The Academy has three chances to do so this year, and “Beautiful Boy” seems like the most likely vehicle. This film is timely. Carell’s role as a father who must love and support his son through addiction and recovery is sure to draw a lot of attention. Especially when his son is played by recent Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet.

In 2017, Chalamet became the third youngest nominee for Best Actor in Oscar history. His work in “Call Me By Your Name” put him front and center in the attention of Academy voters, as well as the public. And that could be key. Looking at Plan B’s list of nominated films, most of them did reasonably well with audiences, in addition to critics and guilds. No, they aren’t $200 million+ blockbusters, but they tend to appeal to wider groups than some other awards players.

Director Felix Van Groeningen has 5 feature film credits to his name. His 2012 film “The Broken Circle Breakdown” scored a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. And he directs from the adapted screenplay by Luke Davies. Davies was nominated for the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for “Lion” in 2016.

WHY IT MIGHT NOT SUCCEED:

This film may simply get crowded out. Plan B is also producing “Backseat” and “If Beale Street Could Talk,” both of which are also expected to pop up in awards talk. In the end, there just might not be room for “Beautiful Boy.”

And, of course, there is always the possibility that the film simply doesn’t come together. It may not work in reality as well as it does on the page.

AWARDS POTENTIAL:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director—Felix Van Groeningen
  • Lead Actor—Steve Carell
  • Supporting Actor—Timothée Chalamet (could also be lead)
  • Supporting Actress—Amy Ryan, Maura Tierney
  • Adapted Screenplay—Luke Davies

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CHECK OUT THE FIRST OFFICIAL SET OF
YEAR-IN-ADVANCE OSCAR PREDICTIONS
AND SEE WHERE “BEAUTIFUL BOY” RANKS!