2016 Awards Profile: ‘The Light Between Oceans’ from Derek Cianfrance

the light between oceans

the light between oceans

Welcome to the 2016 Awards Profiles series, where we talk about high and low-profile films coming to a theater near you at some point this year. We will analyze the potential for these films to be players for the Academy Awards, and while many of these have the potential to be recognized, many will not either by quality or being pushed back to the following year. For the next eight weeks, we will bring you a film every weekday to talk about their potential. If you have a suggestion, please include it in the comments below. If you missed a film, click on the tag or category Awards Profile.

Director: Derek Cianfrance

Writer: Derek Cianfrance, adapted from the M.L. Stedman novel of the same name

Cast: Alicia Vikander, Michael Fassbender, Rachel Weisz

Synopsis: Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender), a lighthouse keeper, and his wife Isabel (Alicia Vikander) are living off the coast of Western Australia. When they discover a baby girl who has washed up on a lifeboat, they decide to adopt her as their own child. But as the child grows older, they discover the consequences of passing off the child as their own, especially after they meet a woman (Rachel Weisz), who lost her baby daughter and husband at sea around the same time Tom and Isabel adopted their child. (Per Wikipedia)

Why It Might Succeed: The heavy-hitting cast and crew could propel “The Light Between Oceans” to several Academy Award nominations next year. Director and writer Derek Cianfrance has several critically acclaimed films under his belt already, including “The Place Beyond the Pines” and “Blue Valentine.” Then, of course, there’s the cast. Weisz won Best Supporting Actress for her work in 2005’s “The Constant Gardener.” Vikander won this past year for her turn in “The Danish Girl,” and Fassbender was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for “12 Years a Slave” and for Best Actor for last year’s “Steve Jobs.” Producer David Heyman, who produced all eight of the “Harry Potter” films, also nominated for an Academy Award for producing a little film called “Gravity.” Cinematographer Adam Arkapaw is best known for his award-winning work on HBO’s “True Detective.” And of course, acclaimed composer Alexandre Desplat can always be counted on to create beautiful scores that are nominated for Oscars more often than not (he has been nominated a whopping eight times and has won once, for “The Grand Budapest Hotel”). Its cast and crew aside, the film is a period piece (always Oscar bait in categories such as production and costume design), with a rich story stewing with drama and emotion.

Why It Might Fail: Without having seen the film, it’s almost impossible to predict a hindrance to its Oscar chances. However, like any of the films being covered in the Awards Circuit Awards Profile series, the film may look perfect on paper, but if it fails to execute and lands negative or mixed reviews come Sept. 2 when the film is to be released, its Oscar chances will disappear in the blink of an eye. Luckily, the film is rumored to be a potential for May’s Festival International du Film de Cannes. If the film does premiere there, and it receives good reviews, look for it to be a big name in contention for next year. If the reverse is true, its Oscar chances are next to nil.

Oscar Potential:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Actor
  • Best Actress
  • Best Supporting Actress
  • Best Original Score
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Adapted Screenplay

Share your thoughts in the comments or on the message forums!

Check out the first official set of
Year-In-Advanced Oscar Predictions
and see where The Light Between Oceans ranks!