And just like that, we have an official new contender enter the race. From an exclusive from Deadline, Pablo Larrain’s “Jackie” starring Academy Award winner Natalie Portman has been acquired by Fox Searchlight Pictures.
It was rumored that several studios had been circling the project over the past few weeks since its début at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals. Outstanding reviews trickled in, hinting that the film could be a dark horse contender in the Oscar race this year.
Written by Noah Oppenheim (“The Maze Runner”), “Jackie” tells the story about the days following the tragic death of John F. Kennedy, from his widow’s perspective. Oppenheim won Best Screenplay at the Venice Film Festival this past weekend.
“Jackie” also stars Peter Sarsgaard (“Shattered Glass”), Greta Gerwig (“Mistress America”), John Hurt (“The Elephant Man”), and Billy Crudup (“Almost Famous”). Sarsgaard also has a role in Antoine Fuqua’s “The Magnificent Seven,” which also screens at TIFF. Gerwig is already generating Oscar buzz for her upcoming performance in “20th Century Women” from Mike Mills, and alongside Crudup. The film will screen as the Centerpiece at NYFF.
The film’s score has also found praise on the circuit, coming from Mica Levi. Levi’s previous works have included “Under the Skin,” which generated award buzz back in 2013. The film is shot by Stéphane Fontaine, who also worked on two other awards hopefuls, “Elle” from Paul Verhoeven and “Captain Fantastic” from Matt Ross. “Jackie” is also edited by Sebastián Sepúlveda, who worked on Larrain’s previous film “The Club,” which earned the film a Golden Globe nomination for Foreign Language film.
Fox Searchlight enters the fray with another Oscar hopeful after Nate Parker’s past rape allegations resurfaced. Parker’s film, “The Birth of a Nation,” was purchased at the Sundance Film Festival back in January for a record $17.5 million, the largest acquisition in festival history. The studio will also be mounting campaigns for “A Bigger Splash” and its stars Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton.