Awards Profile: Carol


Welcome 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.”


Directed by: Todd Haynes
Written by: Phyllis Nagy
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson and more
Synopsis: Set in 1950s New York, a department-store clerk who dreams of a better life falls for an older, married woman.

Why it could succeed:
Todd Haynes’ long awaited follow-up to 2007’s I’m Not There will finally be landing in theaters and will be one of the most anticipated titles of the year. It stars Cate Blanchett in the title role of Carol, a lonely woman of high society who becomes the object affection for a shopgirl (played by Rooney Mara). The screenplay was adapted from a Patricia Highsmith novel, which will surely deliver some intriguing characters. Haynes has brought a stellar cast to bring them to life too, including further supporting players like Kyle Chandler (as Carol’s husband) and Sarah Paulson (as Carol’s confidante). As such, multiple acting nominations are definitely a possibility.

It’s all set in the 1950s, so we can expect some stunning design work from the various craftsmen. Indeed, Haynes has assembled a murderers’ row of talent behind the scenes – composer Carter Burwell (True Grit), cinematographer Edward Latchman (Far from Heaven), production designers Judy Becker and Heather Loeffler (American Hustle) and the legendary Sandy Powell on costumes. Powell and Latchman both worked on the gorgeously wrought Far from Heaven, so if this film turns out anything like that, we’re in for a real treat.

With a team of esteemed collaborators and Haynes’ fairly strong Oscar pedigree, this one will be high on prediction lists once the awards season gets going in the fall.

Why it may not succeed:
Though his films have earned nominations in the past, the top categories of Picture and Director have remained elusive. Patricia Highsmith adaptations have never really landed with the Academy either (outside of the “tech” categories), so it’s hard to know whether this will be the Academy’s cup of tea. There’s also of the issue of the prominent lesbian subtext of the material, but we’ve moved on from the Brokeback Mountain days, right?

Honestly, it’s hard to imagine Academy members not getting excited about this. The star power of Blanchett alone should attract may eyeballs to the screen. So despite any drawbacks we may think of, I’m anticipating a possibly high nomination count on Oscar morning…

Oscar Potential:

Best Picture
Best Director
Best Actress (Cate Blanchett)
Best Supporting Actress (Rooney Mara)
Best Supporting Actress (Sarah Paulson)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography
Best Costume Design
Best Film Editing
Best Makeup & Hairstyling
Best Original Score
Best Production Design