‘Amelia’ is Apparently Better Than Anyone Imagined


Well, I guess the egg might be on my face. I had all but counted out Amelia from the 2010 Awards race because there was no buzz about the film, no early screenings, and the trailer looked pretty generic. It looked like a poor man’s The Aviator that was just too Oscar bait to be taken seriously. However, I shouldn’t have jumped to such conclusions. Ray Bennett of The Hollywood Reporter has released the first review of the film and it is an all-out rave.

He starts his review by hailing Hilary Swank’s performance and making a wild and daring comparison:

Freckle-faced, prairie-voiced and fiercely independent, Hilary Swank’s depiction of aviator Amelia Earhart in Mira Nair’s biographical film “Amelia” is of a high order. It ranks with recent real-life portrayals of Ray Charles by Jamie Foxx and Truman Capote by Philip Seymour Hoffman and could be similarly awards-bound.

As I expected, the biopic is similar in its linear narrative to recent films like Ray or The Aviator. Although it might be overdone, it is a formula that Oscar continues to fall for and Bennett predicts audiences will fall for it as well:

The classically structured bio will appeal to grown-ups, history buffs and lovers of aeronautics, but in showing how the flier was one of the most lauded celebrities of her time, it also might appeal to youngsters. Smart marketing will expose the film to students and educators, and Swank’s sparkling portrayal could help attract younger women.

He also lauds the technical aspects of the film:

Stephanie Carroll’s handsome production design re-creates the 1920s and ’30s vividly, and Stuart Dryburgh’s cinematography captures the wild sensation of being alone high in the sky. Composer Gabriel Yared’s orchestral score — muscular in the aerial scenes, jovial where it needs to be and foreboding in its evocation of Earhart’s fate — ranks with his Academy Award-winning music for “The English Patient.”

Well, color me a fool. If other critics echo this attitude, it seems I am going to have to find a place on my next Oscar prediction update for Mira Nair’s biopic.

Amelia hits theatres on October 23, 2009.

[Source: Awards Daily]

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  • Looks good. By the way, if you haven’t seen Mira Nair’s “The Namesake”, you should. It was one of the most underappreciated films of 2007.

  • filmfan

    yeah, and variety flat-out hates it:
    “To say that “Amelia” never gets off the ground would be an understatement; it barely makes it out of the hangar. ”

  • Haha, thanks for that link, filmfan. I guess I was right, after all.

    I trust Justin Chang of Variety more than Ray Bennett of THR.

  • markus

    Your best actress predictions are total crap. This is a dead heat between Streep & Mulligan. How you can place Streep in 4th postition is beyond imagination. She is the one to beat. By the way, Love Ranch is not even going to be distributed in 2009. Try doing your homework…

  • I know Streep is in contention, but I think Gabourey Sidibe has a great shot at an upset. The whole race is so up in the air at this point that for you to call me wrong is ridiculous.

    And ‘Love Ranch’ doesn’t have a release date yet. Early last week there was a rumor that Sony Pictures Classics might be distributing the film this year. If it gets an official release date in 2010 I will change my predictions appropriately.

  • markus

    I doubt Sidibe can win (she may not even score a nod). All preditciton sites see it a Streep vs. Mulligan duel (see the Film Experience). Love Ranch does not have a distributor so it is unlikely to pick one up at this late date…I realize it is still early but you have to admit Streep has momentum, sentiment, and a biopic performance that she nails. This could be her year for her 3rd Oscar…

  • I hope it is the year for her third Oscar, but people have been saying that for years.

  • markus

    All I can say in reply is that Streep is a definite threat to win in March 2010. And if you dispute that then I give up…

  • If I had a dispute, she wouldn’t be on the Oscar chart in the first place.

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