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]