Awards Profile: The Danish Girl

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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.”

THE DANISH GIRL

Directed by: Tom Hooper
Written by: Lucinda Coxon
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard and more
Synopsis: Inspired by the true story of Danish artists Lili Elbe and her wife Gerda, this tender portrait of a marriage asks: What do you do when someone you love wants to change?

Why it could succeed:
Ever since the Emmy triumphs of his John Adams miniseries, director Tom Hooper has become an awards magnet, winning Best Picture with The King’s Speech and steering 2012’s Les Miserables to 3 Oscar wins and another Best Picture nod. It stands to reason therefore, that his next film The Danish Girl will be another Oscar play for the British director. It stars Eddie Redmayne in the lead role as Lili Ebe – one of the first known persons to undergo male to female gender reassignment surgery – and it’s arguably an even baitier role than last year’s Stephen Hawking. Could we have our first back-to-back Best Actor winner since Tom Hanks in the 90s? It certainly seems possible. Oscar fans should also keep an eye on Alicia Vikander, who seems set to have a breakout year, having already received good notices for her work in Ex Machina. We can also expect some strong visual craft from former nominees Danny Cohen (cinematography), Eve Stewart (production design) and Paco Delgado (costume design).

The film certainly ticks the boxes as a period biopic and the subject matter may also unexpectedly tap into the zeitgeist, following the recent media attention given to Bruce Jenner’s own gender transition.

Why it may not succeeed:
The rising profile of transgender issues could also be problem for the film however. We’ve already seen some backlash towards Hollywood’s practice of casting straight cisgender actors in LGBT roles. Voters may be reluctant to laud yet another straight man playing queer.

The history of this production has also been quite challenged to say the least, changing directors (it was previously being helmed by Tomas Alfredson and then Lasse Hallström) and most notably, a drastic re-casting of the lead role from Nicole Kidman to Eddie Redmayne. It makes you wonder if there’s a clear vision for the film.

Finally, there’s also the possibility that the film may also feel too perfectly calibrated for Oscar and could meet the same fate as other biopics like J. Edgar and last year’s Unbroken. That seems unlikely at this early stage, but anything could happen.

Oscar Potential:

Best Picture
Best Director
Best Actor (Eddie Redmayne)
Best Actress/Supporting Actress (Alicia Vikander)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography
Best Costume Design
Best Film Editing
Best Makeup & Hairstyling
Best Production Design