The test screenings for the anticipated musical adaptation of Nine have begun and Nathaniel over at The Film Experience has heard from two readers who have seen the film. It seems that each reader is in pretty heavy disagreement about most elements of the film, which immediately raises red flags about its overall Oscar chances. However, there is one element that they are absolutely in agreement upon: Penelope Cruz and Marion Cotillard are phenomenal.
The first screener says its Cruz’s best performance of her career:
Curse Cruz for winning the Oscar for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. This is easily her best performance and she steals every single scene she’s in. She has the meatiest role of anyone in the film and milks it for all its worth. Think Catherine Zeta Jones in Chicago – Cruz juices this orange down to the pith and drains it of every delicious, sexy drop. “A Call From the Vatican” is probably the single sexiest moment I’ve ever seen in a filmed musical, even with more clothes on than I expected. The only reason I wouldn’t consider her a lock in Supporting Actress is her recent win.
More from the reviewers and new Nine pictures after the jump…
The second screener also calls her performance a scene-stealer, but says because her character is so early on in the film, she might be forgotten:
The two best performances were definitely Cruz and Cotillard. As a PenÃ©lope fanatic, I’d give the edge to her. She KILLS in her musical number and is quite funny and sexy throughout her entire performance. However, her musical sequence is the second in the film and the film forgets about her early on… I wouldn’t bet on a nomination.
Both screeners agree that Marion Cotillard is the most likely to get a nomination. Screener 1:
Marion Cotillard is the safest bet for a Supporting Actress nomination. With so much of the music eliminated from the film, Cotillard is the only one to benefit from clear additional screentime. She gets to show the most range in her vocals, from soft and vulnerable to raunchy and wild. It’s pure Oscar Bait suffering wife, only with singing and dancing and sexy costumes.
And screener 2:
If anyone gets Oscar-nominated, it’s likely to be Marion Cotillard. She has the most sympathetic role, and she pulls it off. Her first musical number is fairly low-key but it’s generally moving and she pulls off a great second musical sequence. Ultimately, she’s the character you care about and the one people will likely remember.
In certain ways this is and isn’t a surprise. I’m not surprised that Penelope Cruz and Marion Cotillard both knock out another performance. Each actress has proven their abilities in their last several films and earned their respective Oscars. However, I am surprised that of the bountiful amount of supporting actresses in the film, the two who most recently won Oscars are the two who are getting the most buzz. Repeats are something the Academy rarely allows for people who are not Tom Hanks.
The screeners also comment on Daniel Day-Lewis’s role, with one of them calling it “great” and another calling it one of his “weaker efforts.” Dench is highly praised by both of them, but neither feel she was substantial enough to garner a lot of awards attention. The two disagree on almost all of the other actors in the film. As a film overall, neither hails it as a stunning success, but both appreciate the effort. I’m assuming that the film is going to be a kind of Dreamgirls affair, where it is not universally loved, but has enough Oscar-bait to score a bunch of nominations. And with 10 Best Picture nominees this year, I would say it’s almost a sure thing to score in the main category.
Check out the rest of what the test screeners had to say at The Film Experience.
Below are several new pictures from Nine, courtesy of Killer Film.