Awards Profile: Les Misérables

Directed By: Tom Hooper
Written By:  William Nicholson

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Amanda Seyfried, Samantha Barks, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveilt, George Blagden, Bertie Carvel


In 19th Century France, Les Misérables tells the story of a prisoner Jean Vaijean and his quest to begin a new life after 19 years of imprisonment. After his release, Vaijean breaks his parole and the ruthless policeman Javert hunts him down. When Vaijean agrees to care for a factory worker Fantine and her illegitimate daughter, Cosette, their lives are changed forever.

Many adaptations of Les Misérables have been seen on stage, television and screen. Most recently in 1998, Victor Hugo’s classic story was brought to the screen starring Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Uma Thurman and Claire Danes. The movie was deemed a masterpiece by watchers but failed to receive any attention from the Academy.

Another adaptation of the beloved story will be released in 2012, with Academy Award winning director Tom Hooper bringing the musical story to life. With a star studded cast that has gotten lovers of the story talking, will the film find love from the Academy and even more importantly, the dedicated followers of the musical?

Why It Could Succeed:

Les Misérables is one of the most treasured Broadway musicals and as we’ve seen with the Academy, if you can make a film adaptation of a musical correctly, you will be rewarded.

The cast though almost seems perfect. Hugh Jackman, who audiences know from the X-Men series, has dabbled in Broadway and seems a natural for the part and there is no doubt that his singing is flawless. His character does age 20 years over the course of the film and it is important that he age with the character. He has never taken on a role like this in film or stage and it’ll be interesting to see if he can hit the head on the nail with his performance. I have a feeling he will.

Russell Crowe is well cast for the role of Javert, but one of the main concerns of his casting will be if he can handle the vocals required for the role. If Crowe can pull off the vocal range required to play Javert, I think many will be quite impressed by him as an actor. With another talent to add to his belt, he could be looking at another acting nomination from the Academy.

Academy Award nominee Anne Hathaway, who has become american’s sweetheart, has proven that she has the vocal talent to portray this type of character. Right now speculation says that she is in contention for a supporting actress nomination for playing Fantine. But since it’s just March, we can only look at everybody talking as a good sign for her and the film.

Academy Award nominee Helena Bonham Carter is a wonderful actress and has proven in previous films that she has that capability to handle the singing required for this particular film. She received a supporting actress nomination in her last collaboration with Tom Hooper, can she do it again?

Taylor Swift is no longer apart of the cast. It may seem harsh but let’s be honest here, that would have been a case of terrible casting.

Why It Could Fail:

Tom Hooper is fresh off his Best Director win for The King’s Speech and many are in anticipation to see what he will do with Les Misérables, the only issue is he’s never done a movie like this before. Hooper has sort of stuck himself in a historical genre, and it’s a big jump from period drama to period musical. Plus, his movies are great the first time you seem them, then become quite forgettable, so that can pose a problem for a movie that is supposed to be extremely showy. On top of that, I’ve heard he’s making his actors sing live while filming which could harm the film in general.

If they change the story in any way, fans of Les Miserables will be extremely disappointed. Plain and simple.

Amanda Seyfried has been exceptionally mediocre for the past few years; could her portrayal of Cosette bring the film down?

Russell Crowe can either help the film or hurt the film. I stated up above the reasons why he can help the film, but the only way he will hurt the film is if his singing is done poorly. Many have questioned the casting regarding this role solely on his singing ability. Each actor that has been cast has sung before either in film or on Broadway, and from what I know, Crowe is in a rock band, but that doesn’t ease the minds of those who love this story. If he doesn’t sing his parts well enough he could ruin the entire flow of the story, because the few songs he has to sing are very important to the film and his character.

But then again, that statement above goes for the entire cast. It is very important that each actor sing there parts correctly and handle each character the way they are supposed to be portrayed. If it doesn’t work the way many hope it will, the film will be a complete mess.

This film has had a lot of attention on it since the cast was announced. This is a very well known and loved story and many are anticipating that it will be great. Les Misérables has a superb cast and a very good director, but the obstacle will be making an accurate adaption of the musical and succeeding, and Hooper’s execution will greatly depend on if the film will succeed. Just look at what Rob Marshall did with NineLes Misérables will either receive a bulk of Academy Award nominations or it will receive nothing.

The film opens December 14th, 2012 and will be distributed by Universal Pictures.

Oscar Potential:
Best Motion Picture
Best Director
Best Actor – Hugh Jackman
Best Supporting Actor – Russell Crowe, Sacha Baron Cohen
Best Supporting Actress – Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Samantha Barks
Best Adapted Screenplay – William Nicholson
Best Art Direction
Best Costume Design
Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing
Best Makeup
Best Sound Mixing and Editing
Best Original Song