Awards Profile: The Diary of a Teenage Girl

The Diary of a Teenage Girl (1)


Directed by: Marielle Heller
Written by: Marielle Heller, based on the graphic novel by Phoebe Gloeckner
CastBel Powley, Alexander Skarsgård, Kristen Wiig, Christopher Meloni

Synopsis: A teen artist living in 1970s San Francisco enters into an affair with her mother’s boyfriend.

Why it may succeed

The Diary of a Teenage Girl is one of those coming-of-age films that people love to see. In many ways, it could be this year’s Boyhood. That is, without the 12-year shooting schedule. A period film set in the 70s that deals with teenage angst and illicit relationships just sounds like the kind of film that will get a lot of attention, as have similar films like An Education. And it already has been noticed by Sundance festival-goers back in January. Early buzz will make this a highly anticipated film.

And if those festival attendees are any indication, we are in for some excellent performances here from the film’s stars. Kristen Wiig, particularly, could be a draw as audiences look for something different from the normally comedic actress.  Bel Powley, whose previous work has mostly been in the form of British television, is getting a lot of positive attention as the titular Teenage Girl, Minnie.

Why it may not succeed

One of the challenges of this film is that it comes from a first-time director. And while that in no way means that it may not be good (there have been some exceptional debut films, of course) it DOES mean that it may be more difficult for this one to get the attention it deserves. Additionally, this first-time director happens to be a woman, and as we all know, it is much less common for female directors to receive accolades in Hollywood.  And when you add to THAT the fact that this is a debut film from a female director about a female protagonist? Well, I’m just going to be honest here and say that The Diary of a Teenage Girl has an uphill battle. Not only does it have to be a great film, it has to be exceptional. That’s a tall order.

Impossible? Of course not.

But difficult, indeed.

Awards Speculation

Even though this has been picked up by Sony, it doesn’t have a US release date yet. It releases in August in the UK and will, presumably, follow in the US sometime soon after. If that’s the case, conventional wisdom says that an early release date bodes poorly for the film as it will have time to be long forgotten by Academy members. But I think this is one of those rare cases where an early release date could help. Because this is the type of film that needs to generate word-of-mouth type of attention. And being released early in the season just gives it time to build an audience.

Oscar Potential

Best Picture
Best Director–Marielle Heller
Best Actress–Bel Powley
Best Supporting Actor– Alexander Skarsgård
Best Supporting Actress–Kristen Wiig
Best Adapted Screenplay–Marielle Heller
Costume Design
Makeup & Hairstyling
Film Editing