2018 Awards Profile: Karyn Kusama’s ‘Destroyer’

Welcome to the 2018 Awards Profile series, where we talk about films coming to a theater near you at some point this year (at least at this time of writing). 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 few weeks, we will bring you a film every Monday through Friday to talk about their awards hopes and analyze the film’s chances for success. 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.

FILM: “Destroyer”
PRODUCERS: Fred Berger, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
DISTRIBUTOR: Awaiting US Distribution

DIRECTOR: Karyn Kusama
WRITERS: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi

CAST: Sebastian Stan, Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany, Bradley Whitford, Scoot McNairy, Natalia Cordova-Buckley

SYNOPSIS (via iMDB): A police detective reconnects with people from an undercover assignment in her distant past in order to make peace.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCCEED:

Never underestimate the power of a good crime drama when it comes to Oscar talk. Like “The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo,” “Mystic River,” and even “The Fugitive,” audiences love a good tale of justice. And when it’s a crime drama starring Academy Award/Golden Globe/Emmy winner Nicole Kidman, this is a film that we can’t ignore. Add to that Sebastian Stan, who has steadily grown in esteem over the years, and this could potentially be a perfect casting combination.

Kidman’s transformation (pictured above) is sure to gain some attention too.

A lot of people have been waiting for director Karyn Kusama‘s Big Film. Her debut film, “Girlfight,” won the Foreign Film Award of the Youth at Cannes in 2000. It also scored a nomination for Best First Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards, where star Michelle Rodriguez won the award for Best Debut Performance. Kusama went on to direct a few less well received films. She took a break from film to work in television, honing her skills. Her 2015 film, “The Invitation,” was praised for its intensity. If “Destroyer” falls along those lines, it could really stand out.

WHY IT MIGHT NOT SUCCEED:

For every “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” there’s also “The Snowman.”

Meaning, this film could be great, or it could be quite the opposite. “Destroyer” may simply not work out. For a number of reasons. The writing team of Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi wrote “Ride Along” and “The Tuxedo,” after all. But they also wrote “The Invitation.” Which version of this pair can we expect?

As for Nicole Kidman and Sebastian Stan? Kidman also has a potentially buzzy role in “Boy Erased,” which is garnering a lot of early attention. This year will finally see the release of “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” and “Aquaman,” both of which could either help or hurt her profile. Stan came off a great year with “I, Tonya,” but his role in that film was not nearly as attention-grabbing as those of his co-stars. He heads to theaters with the widely praised “Avengers: Infinity War,” and will star in two other films this year. Fans will be seeking out all of his work. But he has other projects that might potentially be more of a draw.

And, the other small issue is that this film currently has no US distribution. There’s a possibility it doesn’t get a qualifying release in 2018, pushing it to 2019. Of it may find its way to a streaming platform or VOD and skip the qualifying run altogether. We’ll just have to wait and see.

POTENTIAL AWARDS IN PLAY:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director—Karyn Kusama
  • Lead Actress—Nicole Kidman
  • Supporting Actor—Sebastian Stan
  • Original Screenplay—Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi
  • Production Design—Kay Lee and Eric Jihwan Jeon
  • Cinematography—Julie Kirkwood
  • Makeup and Hairstyling

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS!

CHECK OUT THE FIRST OFFICIAL SET OF
YEAR-IN-ADVANCE OSCAR PREDICTIONS
AND SEE WHERE “DESTROYER” RANKS!