September 20, 2015
        “Inside Out”: Looking at potential Best Animated Feature Contenders                "Black Mass" could get Johnny Depp back in the Oscar game                J.J. Abrams and Denis Villeneuve: Ten potential first time writer/director nominees for Oscar in 2015                Roger Deakins offers up some of his very best cinematography in "Sicario"                "The Martian" launches itself as an awards hopeful at the Toronto Film Festival                "Steve Jobs": Oscar predictions for September                "Sleeping with Other People" is one of the most charming films of 2015                Sandra Bullock looks like a contender in the Trailer for "Our Brand is Crisis"                Sam Smith will sing the theme song for the upcoming 007 film "Spectre"                Richard Gere is an under the radar Best Actor contender for "Time Out of Mind"                Telluride and Venice launch festival debuts into the Oscar race                “The Hateful Eight”: Looking at potential Best Original Screenplay Contenders                David O. Russell and Ridley Scott: Which filmmaking contenders this year are most due for their first win?                Telluride Announces 2015 Lineup - Steve Jobs, Black Mass, Suffragette                “Sicario”: Ten Films to see in September        

Can “Tyrannosaur” stomp into the Oscar race? – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell I arrived late to the “Tyrannosaur” party, though I’d read the attempts at Hollywood Elsewhere, In Contention and elsewhere to drum up support for Paddy Considine’s indie cast, particularly Olivia Colman as Hanna, a shop keeper who opens herself up to a surly, destructive drunk (Peter Mullan) with devastating physical, spiritual and emotional results.

The film won trophies out of Sundance and gradually has been picking up support on the awards circuit. It recently nabbed a pack-leading seven nominations from the British Independent Film Awards, putting it in the company of Steve McQueen’s “Shame” and Tomas Alfredson’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”

And do you know what? It belongs there.

As suspected, Considine’s directorial debut is a redemption project, with broken souls leaning on each other as they find their way through difficult times. Like a traditional Irish wake, it is, at times, depressing, celebratory, devastating and boisterous. Yet the script’s honest probes of such taboo subjects as rape, alcoholism and savage, blue-collar violence are unflinching, which pushes “Tyrannosaur” past like-minded, melodramatic Sundance pap.

What you’ve heard about Colman is true. Her Hanna is a bruised and battered individual hiding behind her wavering faith. And when her belief system’s is challenged by an abusive husband (Eddie Marsan), the actress allows numerous difficult emotions to flood across her tranquil face. Considine’s focus shifts from Colman to Mullan at times, though both are so good at wallowing in the human pain of this raw story that “Tyrannosaur” rarely misses a step.

Can grassroots efforts help Strand Releasing get “Tyrannosaur” in front of enough Oscar voters to push the challenging drama into awards consideration? Anything’s possible. The performances are worthy. But every year, we see casualties of the awards marathon that, while deserved, can’t gain or maintain traction. It will be interesting to see how “Tyrannosaur” fares.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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