TIFF 2010: Praise and Oscar Hopes for ‘Black Swan’

After Black Swan premiered at the 2010 Venice Film Festival to adoration and praise it was obvious that the movie was going to be one of the critical hits of the year. However, what was left unclear were the movie’s Oscar hopes because of its dark subject matter and the Academy’s past aversion to Darren Aronofsky in the Directing and Picture categories. Earlier this morning Awards expert Sasha Stone tweeted:

There is always one movie the web embraces and loves that the AMPAS does not. I don’t think that film is Inception. I think it’s Black Swan

I was also skeptical, thinking that the other Fox Searchlight film, 127 Hours, was much more likely to get the Best Picture attention because of its uplifting story. However, that opinion does not seem to be shared by some of the critics who are in Toronto. In his recently posted review of the film Jeffery Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere says of Black Swan:

Darren Aronofsky‘s Black Swan (Fox Searchlight, 12.1) is immediately admitted into the Best of 2010 club. It stands head and shoulders over every previous Aronofsky film — it’s way in front of The Wrestler and don’t even mention Requiem for a Dream. It’s also cinched a Best Picture nomination (obviously) and totally locks in Natalie Portman as a Best Actress nominee. Done, settled, no arguments.

Drew McWeeny of HitFix is similarly enamored by Black Swan as he seems to be about every Aronofsky film. He raves about how excited he is that the Toronto Film Festival has started with such a strong movie:

I have a strong suspicion this will end up on my list at the end of the year, so there will be plenty of time to discuss it.  We haven’t even gotten into the discussion about Mila Kunis and her work or Winona Ryder’s role or Vincent Cassell or the use of color or the influence of Powell and Argento.  For now, I’ll just say that Aronofsky is a master, and “Black Swan” is an amazing meal, rich and worth another visit as soon as possible.

Michael Phillips the esteemed critic from The Chicago Tribune doesn’t speculate on its Oscar chances, but he does make it sound like a gripping visceral experience:

At once deeply self-serious and essentially ridiculous, it’s also a jolt of ripe, and then overripe, cinema — a requiem for an en pointe dream. The further Aronofsky pushes the torment, the harder he shoots and cuts to the rhapsodic Tchaikovsky score, the more stimulating it becomes on a sensory level.

Sasha Stone said it best with this follow-up Tweet, predicting that Black Swan will by loved by the Academy as much as it is by critics, but probably won’t win.

What do you think? Is Black Swan a top competitor a backup pick or even in contention?

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  • I don’t think “Black Swan is going to cut it for Best Picture. It looks like a genre film, and in that respect, I’m sure it will do great. I just don’t think the Academy is going to go for it.

  • Davin Lacksonen

    I could easily see it missing out, I haven’t seen it, but it just seems too dark and too paranoid. A film like Silence of the Lambs can make it in for it’s content, but the seemingly first person perspective of insanity could easily scare the academy away. I could be completely misinterpreting the trailer and the reviews though, like I said, I have not seen it. Go Natalie Portman!

  • Andrew R.

    I’ll settle for a nomination for Best Picture, which is a little iffy at this point because, like all Aronofsky films, it’s depressing-seeming and creepy. The Wrestler is Aronofsky’s only film that was a Best Picture contender. (It would’ve made it had there been 10 slots).

    However, I do think Portman will get a Best Actress nod. She will probably continue the tradition started by Burstyn and Rourke of an Aronofsky lead deserving the Oscar and not winning it.

  • Armin Z.

    I just finished a screening of “Black Swan” at the New Orleans film festival and I can say without reservation that it should win the best picture and best directing categories. I watched “127 Hours” a few nights ago and while Boyle is once again fantastic, Aronofsky has made a brilliant picture that announces to the world that he will not wait twenty years for the recognition his films deserve. It is certainly not a genre film. It is glorious.

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