Awards Profile: Anesthesia



Welcome to the 2015 Awards Profiles series.  For the next two months, every day (except for Saturday), we will bring you a run down of a future 2015 film that we see as a potential awards vehicle for next year’s Academy Awards.  This is all speculative since with just about all these films, we haven’t seen a frame yet.  Nonetheless, we venture on.  If you miss a film, then click on the tag “2015 Awards Profile.”

Directed by: Tim Blake Nelson
Written by: Tim Blake Nelson
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Corey Stoll, Glenn Close, Michael Kenneth Williams, Gretchen Mol, Tim Blake Nelson, and Sam Waterson
Synopsis: Multiple lives intersect in the aftermath of the violent mugging of a Columbia University philosophy professor.

Why It Might Not Succeed:

While Anesthesia is Tim Blake Nelson’s fifth feature film as a director, he has yet to score higher than a pallid 58 on Metacritic (while capping out at 68 on Rotten Tomatoes.) It’s still early enough in his career behind the camera to assume he might still breakthrough, but we certainly can’t point to his pedigree at this point as a reason the film might be an awards player.

The April 22 release date also makes it look like this is a film that will come and go and be forgotten by awards season. If Hello Please – the studio behind Anesthesia’s release – had more faith in the film as an award contender, they might have done what Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures did with In the Heart of the Sea (originally scheduled for March 13) and move it to a more awards-friendly October-December release date.

From the onset, Anesthesia looks like it was never intended to be a movie with awards potential, and was probably crafted more as an imaginably good film just excited to tell its story to anyone interested in listening. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that.

Why It Could Succeed:

While I might not think Anesthesia has a lot to lean on for awards attention, you never know where your acting nominees will come from. Over the past few years, we’ve seen several smaller films that might not have lookedanesthesia2 like much on paper (awards-wise) receive consideration for their performances. Films like Two Days, One Night, The Sessions, The Impossible, Warrior, A Better Life, Animal Kingdom, Blue Valentine, Rabbit Hole, The Last Station, A Single Man, Rachel Getting Married, The Visitor, In the Valley of Elah, Venus, and Half Nelson are all recent examples of films that managed an acting nom or two, and nothing else. So who’s to say we might not get an awards-worthy performance from stars Kristen Stewart, Glenn Close, Corey Stoll, or Michael Kenneth Williams?

If Anesthesia is going to show up anywhere, I’d imagine it would be for one of its performances. What about you?

Oscar Potential:

Kristen Stewart (Supporting Actress)
Glenn Close (Supporting Actress)
Michael Kenneth Williams (Supporting Actor)
Corey Stoll (Lead/Supporting (?) Actor)

View more on Anesthesia here.