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.”
Director: Jonathan Demme
Writer: Diablo Cody
Cast: Meryl Streep, Mamie Gummer, Rick Springfield, and Kevin Kline
Synopsis: Curtesy of IMDb, “In a film loaded with music and live performance, Streep stars as Ricki, a guitar heroine who gave up everything for her dream of rock-and-roll stardom, but is now returning home to make things right with her family. Streep stars opposite her real-life daughter Mamie Gummer, who plays her fictional daughter; Rick Springfield, who takes on the role of a Flash member in love with Ricki; and Kevin Kline, who portrays Ricki’s long-suffering ex-husband.”
Why It Could Succeed: Define “success.” Most Meryl Streep films don’t so much “succeed” at the Oscars in the sense of categories outside of whatever category in which Meryl is nominated. Further, (and Clayton loves pointing this stat out) Meryl movies rarely break into top categories like Best Picture and Best Director.
Nevertheless, a Meryl nomination seems predestined, barring Ricki and the Flash being totally awful. In the last 9 years, Meryl has been nominated 6 times. That’s incredibly impressive. Further, this comedy with music seems poised to be cat-nip for the Golden Globe contingent, so Meryl could easily be clearing room on her mantle for another Golden Globe. Heck, Meryl has plenty of Oscar nominations for singing or music-based roles, ranging from Into the Woods to Music of the Heart.
But Ricki and the Flash could succeed for reasons other than Meryl. Heck, the film is directed by Oscar winner Jonathan Demme, written by Oscar winner Diablo Cody, and co-stars Oscar winner Kevin Kline and Grammy winner Rick Springfield While none of them have found themselves back in the Academy graces since their respective wins, that shouldn’t be considered a con.
Why It Might Not: The Meryl bubble has to burst eventually…right? I mean, she’s the most frequently nominated performer in the last 10 years. Frankly, I find it difficult to root against her, ever, because she is a woman of a certain age in Hollywood, killing it, holding court, and commanding the screen. It’s impressive and uplifting that she’s become a constant presence at the Dolby Theatre, and deserves more respect that the chide “default nominee” moniker.
The talent involved is a double-edged sword. As hinted at earlier, Demme and Cody haven’t themselves been nominated since their respective wins. However, while Cody’s follow-up films haven’t been remotely close, Demme has given the Oscars films like Philadelphia and Rachel Getting Married since his 1991 victory. Kevin Kline has been around, giving solid supporting performances in decent films. It’s been a while since Juno, and even longer since The Silence of the Lambs and A Fish Called Wanda–but these are talented artists, who have strived in a creative environment these many years since their wins. I’m hopeful. However, both these creative artists have made films that aren’t the Academy’s cup of tea, so it will be difficult to forecast just what type of film Ricki and the Flash is until we see it.
Also, Rick Springfield. While casting Rick Springfield as a prominent support character in a film about rock’n’roll is the MOST DEMME AND CODY THING EVER, I gives me pause. This is an awesome idea, no question and I’m interested in it…but what type of sing-turned-actor is Rick Springfield?–a good witch, or a bad witch? He’s dabbled in acting before, with many notable season on TV’s General Hospital, but beyond that…
Awards Speculation: There’s only one obvious category to predict this in, and that’s Best Actress. Beyond that, it’s a bit of a question mark. Nevertheless, I always over predict just in case.
Best Director – Jonathan Demme
Best Actress – Meryl Streep
Best Supporting Actor – Rick Springfield
Best Supporting Actor – Kevin Kline
Best Supporting Actress – Mammie Gammer
Best Original Screenplay – Diablo Cody
Best Original Song – ????
Best Sound Mixing
Best Costume Design