Later this year, Netflix is set to drop a seemingly major awards player. The film in question has A-list talent, will screen at upcoming high profile festivals, and is the latest effort from a highly respected director with New York roots. “Marriage Story” from Noah Baumbach, a movie that could be the film pundits are underestimating. If nothing else, it’s a tremendously intriguing film with exciting prospects.
“Marriage Story” is labeled as a dramedy, very much in the realm of what Baumbach as done well in his career. The plot, according to IMDb, is as follows, with the filmmaker citing Ingmar Bergman‘s “Persona” as the main influence:
“A stage director and his actor wife struggle through a grueling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes.”
Written and directed by Baumbach, with a cast led by Academy Award nominee Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. Joining, are the likes of Oscar-nominees Alan Alda and Laura Dern, with Ray Liotta, Mickey Sumner, Merritt Weaver co-starring. DP Robbie Ryan shot the film while being scored is by legendary composer Randy Newman. There are a strong group of players, both in front and behind the camera.
Reflected on the Circuit Hub’s latest Oscar Predictions, Baumbach sits in the top spot in Supporting Actress (Laura Dern) and Original Screenplay as placed by Awards Circuit Editor Clayton Davis. Coincidentally, Driver, Johansson, and Alda are all in the top five of their respective categories, leading them to
Baumbach has long flirted with the Academy, suggesting to have one day, an across-the-board Oscar player. Two years ago, he joined forces with Netflix for “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected),” which ultimately was passed over despite strong reviews.
In 2005, his deeply personal “The Squid and the Whale” earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Long considered a filmmaker on the cusp of being embraced by the group, this latest endeavor sounds like his most vigorous play for that sort of attention yet.
Stars Driver and Johansson will have other roles within the awards conversation this year, but “Marriage Story” represents perhaps their best chance to grab some gold. Driver has a role in the Sundance hit “The Report” from Scott Z. Burns, while Johansson will seemingly chew on scenery in “Jojo Rabbit” from Taika Waititi. In Baumbach’s picture, their collaboration together could lead to sparks flying.
Grounded relationship tales such as this used to be mainstays in Hollywood, as well as awards season. Nowadays, they’re rarer beasts, creating a palpable hunger within the industry. Netflix could very well take advantage and position it as a throwback to what AMPAS used to heavily embrace. Incredibly confident, the streaming giant is confident the elements are sure to deliver. That’s reason enough to be excited. The talent and original narrative only increase the anticipation.
After the festival bows, look for “Marriage Story” is set to hit Netflix’s streaming platform late in the fall. From there, Oscar glory could be on the horizon. Even if that’s not the ultimate outcome, Baumbach and company seem poised to unleash something truly unique on the filmgoing world. The cinematic zeitgeist could be better for having a dramedy like this in their Rolodex of movie-watching. This is a hotly predicted venture that the excitement factor is clearly tangible.