Awards Profile: The Great Gatsby

Directed by: Baz Luhrmann
Written by: Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher, Amitabh Bachchan, Joel Edgerton, Elizabeth Debicki, Jason Clarke, Brendan Maclean, Callan McAuliffe

Synopsis: Nick Carraway, a Midwesterner now living on Long Island, finds himself fascinated by the mysterious past and lavish lifestyle of his neighbor, Jay Gatsby. He is drawn into Gatsby’s circle, becoming a witness to obsession and tragedy. (Provided by

F. Scott Fitzgerald had his novel “The Great Gatsby” published in 1925. He began writing it two years earlier and in his wildest dreams could not imagine, the effect the book would have not only on the literary world but its many attempts at translating it to the world of cinema.

In 1974, Jack Clayton directed the most famous adaptation of the story to date starring Academy Award winner Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. The film was nominated and won two Oscars at the 1975 ceremony for Best Costume Design and Best Music. The film made an impressive run on the awards circuit after being nominated for four Golden Globe awards and winning one for Supporting Actress, Karen Black. The film was also nominated and won three BAFTA awards for Art Direction, Costumes, and Cinematography.It was first attempted to the cinematic world in 1926. The film starred Warner Baxter and was directed by Academy Award Nominee Herbert Brenon. The film was a moderate success but didn’t leave an impression like Brenon had hoped. Elliott Nugent took another stab at the story in 1949 with stars Alan Ladd and Betty Field as Gatsby and Daisy. The film, unfortunately did nothing for the story and was not received with the highest praise.

Could the remake be headed for the same track record or will it elevate the resume that the story has garnered thus far?

Why It Could Succeed:
When it was announced that the acclaimed director of “Moulin Rouge” and “William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet” Baz Luhrmann would be helming this remake to the big screen, the visual aspects that have elevated his past endeavors seem to fit the spectrum of “The Great Gatsby” like a glove. Luhrmann has had decent citations from critics groups and the Academy in regards to technical aspects of his films.

More than the techs, the cast encompasses some of the finest actors working today. Three-time Academy Award nominee Leonardo DiCaprio has landed the lead role of Jay Gatsby. There are many who find his casting one of the most brilliant in a long while. DiCaprio has come close to pigeon-holing himself into a specific type of character where they are either clinically insane or have a tortured soul of some sorts. Perhaps Jay Gatsby can breathe some fresh air into his acting arsenal.

Academy Award nominee Carey Mulligan, who just gave two terrific turns last year in “Drive” and “Shame,” has landed the pivotal and complex role of “Daisy,” the attractive and shallow woman who dominos a whirlwind of trouble of our characters. Mulligan has shown tremendous promise since her performance in Lone Scherfig’s “An Education.” She continues to challenge and push herself into multifaceted and demanding roles that showcase every element of her talent.

Tobey Maguire has been an actor who has remained on Oscar’s backburner for quite some time. Maguire has delivered some terrific work in Jim Sheridan’s “Brothers” where he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor (Drama), and some would call his turn in Curtis Hanson’s “Wonder Boys” one of the unforgivable snubs of the 2000 season. Landing the role of Nick Carraway, an intricate and delightful character in the story that will provide Maguire with plenty of substance for performance value. From this far out, Maguire seems like the most viable contender to be recognized from the film.

Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson and Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan are two roles that could find themselves in Oscar talks given the nature and outcome of their roles. Fisher seems fully capable of such a damaged character while Edgerton will command and provide an authoritative-type man that will mirror his similarly to his Brendan Conlon from “Warrior,” one of the forgotten works of 2011.

Why It Could Fail:
Luhrmann is a completely capable director, concentrating on the beautiful details of his fast features like “Australia,” Luhrmann can paint a beautiful canvas for his audiences. When it comes to “The Great Gatsby,” where many of the details are already outlined for him unlike his other original works, Luhrmann will need to rely on his storytelling ability and make it feel as cohesive and as non-copycat as possible. It can be argued that Baz has struggled with his storytelling ability which would explain the mediocre reaction to “Australia.” Can he pull back when necessary and soar when able? We’ll see.

The cast has a hurdle in front of them by attempting to revolutionize roles that are familiar to fans of the book and the past film endeavors. DiCaprio, Maguire, and Mulligan, who will naturally have the most scenes to chew through, will need to express something new and authentic for its audience to engage with. Anything less will likely not be received well by critics. Many consider the book not the most exciting, Luhrmann will need to change that perception.

The film opens in theaters December 25, 2012 and will be distributed by Warner Brothers.

Oscar Potential:
Best Motion Picture
Best Director
Best Actor – Leonardo DiCaprio
Best Actress – Carey Mulligan
Best Supporting Actor – Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton
Best Supporting Actress – Isla Fisher
Best Adapted Screenplay – Craig Pearce & Baz Luhrmann
Best Art Direction
Best Costume Design
Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing
Best Makeup
Best Sound Mixing and Editing