“Chef” – What’s up with the 2015 Awards Race

CHEF movie with sofia vergara 600x290

Directed by: Jon Favreau
Written by: Jon Favreau
Main Cast: Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt, Emjay Anthony, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., and others
Past Oscar relations: Both Robert Downey Jr. and Dustin Hoffman have Academy Award nominations under their belt, with Hoffman actually having an Oscar win for Rain Man

It’s Wednesday ladies and gents, so here now we have the newest article in this series of mine on 2014 contenders hoping to compete for some sort of Oscar attention at the upcoming 2015 ceremony. Next up is Jon Favreau’s Chef, which hopes to finally get Favreau into the awards race.

Favreau writes, directs, and stars in the film, along with an A list supporting cast that includes the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Dustin Hoffman, and Scarlett Johansson, to name just a few. The story of a chef reinventing himself, it’s a purely entertaining bit of cinema that we rarely see these days, so with the right combination, there’s a chance that Academy members could become interested in this one. It’s hardly a sure thing, but it’s not the longest of long shots either.

What this flick has going in its favor is how purely enjoyable it is and how much fun it is to watch this cast having a good time. It’s one of my favorites of the year so far, and I know I’m not alone there. Favreau especially is excellent in all three of his responsibilities here, while the supporting players all make a mark with their scenes. If the film is a hit, I can certainly see the Screen Actors Guild perhaps considering it for their SAG Best Ensemble category. If it were to hit there, then anything would be possible.

Working against Chef is that it’s a pretty small scale movie without anything too heavy going on to entice Oscar voters. Without a particularly deep message at its core, one can imagine plenty of voters who like Chef ultimately supporting something else that spoke to them in a stronger way. That doesn’t take away from the terrific script that Favreau wrote (which is probably its only real Academy play), but it does make it less likely to be nominated in the end.

So, can this be a player at all? I’d say that in all likelihood it’s more of a long shot than anything else, but with the Academy Awards, Best Original Screenplay has to at least be a consideration at this early juncture. If the category breaks in a certain way, Chef can potentially be a middle of the road Oscar contender for Original Screenplay, but I wouldn’t bet any money on that. Regardless, it’s a lovely film that really deserves to be seen, so with it beginning to hit theaters this weekend, I urge you all to seek it out. You won’t regret doing so!

Grade: Long Shot Contender (with some slight potential in Best Original Screenplay)

Stay tuned for another one of these profiles coming your way next week!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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