What’s even scarier than “Us” is the idea that Oscar voters won’t remember the film at all. Writer/director Jordan Peele achieved the same success as “Get Out,” his directorial debut that was another early release in awards season. “Us” has a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed $254 million worldwide. One question that still remains, though, is whether it can replicate the same awards success as its predecessor.
As Joseph Braverman said on the “Genre Circuit” segment, Lupita Nyong’o is at least in the Best Actress race. Toni Collette being snubbed for “Hereditary” last year might induce skepticism over her chances. However, Nyong’o has some advantages that Collette didn’t have. Particularly involving the film which outgrossed the entire domestic run of “Hereditary” in its opening weekend. Also, despite being a horror film, “Us” is still less arduous than Collette’s vehicle form last year.
Regarding the performance itself, Nyong’o has plenty to chew on. In addition to portraying dual roles, she showcases heavy emotional beats including a number of haunting monologues. One of them, where her character, Red, retells a story about a princess living happily, could be her Oscar clip. After winning a Supporting Actress Oscar for “12 Years A Slave,” Nyong’o gets to fully demonstrate her range in her first starring role.
Lupita Nyong’o has the performance, the pedigree, and the film to be a contender. It’s just a matter of reminding voters of her work due to its early release. If the film can be a player outside of Best Actress, that’d be an added benefit.
Given how Peele won this category a few short years ago, Best Original Screenplay is also a possibility. Unless his role is considered a straddler, Winston Duke could contend in Best Supporting Actor. Lastly, there’s Best Picture which is arguably a long shot. It isn’t mustering the same enthusiasm in that category the way “Get Out” did. Yet, even without Best Picture, the film should still be in the awards race.