“Foxcatcher” has announced itself as an awards player at Cannes

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Earlier this week, Bennett Miller’s third directorial outing Foxcatcher debuted at the Cannes Film Festival to pretty much rave reviews. In an instant, it went from a potential Oscar hopeful to a likely nominee. Ever since pundits like myself first thought the movie was hitting last year, it’s been spoken of a possible big player. Now, we can firmly discuss it in slightly more sure terms. To be fair, nothing is guaranteed for the film, but right now, nothing has better buzz than Foxcatcher. If it can sustain until its theatrical release this fall, it may very well even become a Best Picture frontrunner.

Many of my colleagues at Cannes have said that this is Miller’s best film yet. Considering that his first two films are Capote and Moneyball, both of which were Best Picture nominees, that’s saying something. Miller is a previous Best Director nominee as well, so not only is he likely to be back in that race, he’ll probably contend seriously for the win as well. I recently spoke of the danger filmmakers face when making passion projects, but it seems like Miller has avoided all of the traps there, resulting in what a ton of folks are calling a brilliant film.

The cast are receiving tons of praise as well. Steve Carrell and Channing Tatum are the subject of career best reviews, while Mark Ruffalo is being highly spoken of as well. With Sienna Miller and Vanessa Redgrave also on hand, there’s no shortage of talent in play for awards consideration now. I can’t imagine Carrell being snubbed now, whether it’s in Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor, while Ruffalo and Tatum will likely be in contention now as well. Miller and Redgrave weren’t given too many notices, but if Best Supporting Actress turns out to be a weak field, one could certainly sneak in there as well.

Of course, anything is possible for the movie. Sometimes the acclaimed films from Cannes don’t sustain throughout an entire season. Sometimes a similar flick can take the wind out of this one’s sails. Sometimes a different work just captures all the attention. There’s no way of knowing what’s going to happen to Foxcatcher between now and then, so there are absolutely no guarantees. There is, however, educated guesswork to be done, and that puts the film in a solid spot. It doesn’t seem like the sort of one to be forgotten about.

I’ll have lots more to say about Foxcatcher between now and the end of the year, but it’s excellent to know that the quality is there with this one. Especially when it comes to flicks at Cannes, it’s a positive when more works are well received. Time will tell what happens to Miller’s work, but at least right now, it’s in heavy contention…

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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