Oscar Circuit: Is Brie Larson a Contender for Supporting Actress in ‘Trainwreck?’


trainwreck_brielarson_amyschumerIn the face of a $30 million opening weekend, Judd Apatow’s “Trainwreck” has received mostly positive notices from the nation’s critics.  Star and writer Amy Schumer has been cited for her comical and witty jokes, in the shadow of a very well-executed performance.  One name that has been popping up, and deservingly so, is the work of Brie Larson as Amy’s sister Kim.

Coming on the beat through the years on television (“Raising Dad” and “United States of Tara”) and with small parts in some memorable gems (“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” and “Greenberg”), the 26-year-old actress has offered another prime example for awards consideration.  In a sea of comedy, interventions, and vomiting during a surgery, Larson’s interpretation of a sister harboring anger towards her ill father, concern about her sister’s life choices, and her sensitivity to being both a mother and step-mother is a sensational piece from Apatow’s rom-com.

If you listened to our previous podcast episode, you heard the staff and I talk about the work of Larson.  Even Robert, who isn’t a fan of the film, thought she was fantastic in her role.  As Kim, Larson is offered an opportunity to showcase some powerful dramatic moments, all of which rest as the movie’s key moments.  The funeral scene in particular is a true highlight.

Looking back on Apatow’s filmography, you can notice the presence of strong supporting players sprinkled throughout.  There were some banging the drum for Leslie Mann’s work in “Knocked Up,” resulting in citations from Chicago Film Critics, and I still look upon Catherine Keener’s work in “The 40 Year Old Virgin” as the superior performance to her nominated turn in “Capote.”

Others may feel strongly about other supporting players.  Obviously LeBron James and John Cena have received the lion’s share of people talking by the water cooler, and Tilda Swinton finds herself in a similar fashion of Tom Cruise’s work in “Tropic Thunder” (don’t be shocked if the Golden Globes come knockin’ for her), but if we’re looking for something with emotional heft and deliverance, you can’t do much better than Larson in a comedy this year.

After blazing onto the scene in a big way in 2013 with an outstanding performance in Destin Cretton’s “Short Term 12,” a turn that should have seen her as an Oscar nominee, Larson’s star is quickly rising to a new height.  She has an anticipated work in Lenny Abrahamson’s upcoming “Room” opposite William H. Macy and Joan Allen, and adapted by the book’s author Emma Donoghue.  From those who have read the book, they consider her a “shoo-in” if they nail the material and her character.  She’ll also be in “Basmati Blues” from Dan Baron opposite Donald Sutherland, also due out later this year.  If anything, “Trainwreck” could help some of those campaigns if they come to fruition.

Is this super likely? No, especially since there are many screaming from the roof tops for Rose Byrne’s work in “Spy,” and as you know, women in comedies don’t typically do well at the Academy.  But you never know…

“Trainwreck” is distributed by Universal Pictures and is currently in theaters.

What do you think of Larson’s work and Oscar chances?