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Awards: Can Jillian Bell Snag Awards Attention for ‘Brittany Runs a Marathon?’

Independent dramedies that play on the film festival circuit often have a bias against them. The indie scene is filled with quirky flicks that are too twee to ever appeal to voters over the course of the awards season. Occasionally, one shows potential to break through. This week, we have a possible entry in “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” in particular with regards to a breakthrough performance by its star Jillian Bell.

“Brittany Runs a Marathon” is a dramedy about a 27-year-old woman finally making changes in her life. Brittany (Bell) is inspired to take up running and give up her partying ways when a trip to the doctor goes awry. Previously a slacker, she finds new self-confidence and drive while training to run the New York Marathon, discovering a lot about herself in the process, not all of which is flattering. Paul Downs Colaizzo wrote the screenplay and directs. Rounding out the cast, aside from Jillian Bell in the lead, are Utkarsh Ambudkar, Lil Rel HoweryAlice Lee, and Micah Stock.

Debuting earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, the movie received tremendous praise, leading to a huge acquisition by Amazon Studios. Its opening this weekend to a rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes is notable, as indies need critical acclaim to get on Oscar’s radar. Our highly positive festival review here on the site includes the following accolades:

Brittany Runs a Marathon” is one of the more unexpected delights this year. This is a very funny comedy that also asks viewers to think, feel, and reflect. As the title character, Jillian Bell is ready to take her place as one of the funniest ladies working today.

Amazon Studios should invest heavily in appealing to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). While the Academy Awards could see this as too little to honor, the Golden Globes, with their musical/comedy categories, are a perfect fit. In particular, Jillian Bell represents a chance to cite as an actress on the rise. The HFPA went for Melissa McCarthy in “Spy” and Amy Schumer in “Trainwreck,” so there’s recent precedent here of tapping a comic actress for a nomination.

On AwardsCircuit’s Aug. 20 prediction updates, the film was not currently ranked in the Best Picture and Best Actress predictions for the Academy Awards. However, it is currently number fifteen in the Golden Globes predictions for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy) and number fourteen for Jillian Bell in Best Actress (Musical or Comedy).

“Brittany Runs a Marathon” could score gold with the Globes. The movie has more than enough drama and pathos to allow voters to feel like this isn’t just a lark, while never skimping on the laughs. HFPA voters would be making an inspired choice by citing Bell and the film itself. Stay tuned!

Do you think “Brittany Runs a Marathon” can be a surprise Golden Globe or Oscar player? Let us know in the comments below! 


What do you think?


Written by Joey Magidson

When he’s not obsessing over new Oscar predictions on a weekly basis, Joey is seeing between 300 and 350 movies a year. He views the best in order to properly analyze the awards race/season each year, but he also watches the worst for reasons he mostly sums up as "so you all don't have to". In his spare time, you can usually find him complaining about the Jets or the Mets. Still, he lives and dies by film. Joey's a voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.


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