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“Maleficent” – Angelina Jolie: Awards Race

Maleficent Movie 600x358Directed by: Robert Stromberg
Written by: Linda Woolverton
Main Cast: Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Janet McTeer, and others…
Past Oscar relations: Angelina Jolie won Best Supporting Actress for Girl, Interrupted

Here now we have the newest article in this series of mine on 2015 contenders hoping to compete for some sort of Oscar attention at the upcoming 2015 ceremony.
Next up for us is Robert Stromberg’s Sleeping Beauty re-imagination Maleficent, which looks to put a decidedly new spin on an old Disney tale.

Next up for us is Robert Stromberg’s Sleeping Beauty re-imagination Maleficent, which looks to put a decidedly new spin on an old Disney tale.

Stromberg makes his directorial debut here on the film (after a long career behind the scenes), while Disney vet Linda Woolverton writes. This is obviously an Angelina Jolie vehicle, with her starring in the title role. The story looks not at Elle Fanning’s Princess Aurora, but at Jolie’s Maleficent, a wronged fairy who isn’t quite the evil-doer that many a Disney fan previously thought her to be. The other players include Sharlto Copley, Lesley Manville, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, and Juno Temple. That being said, the real star is Jolie and I’m sure Disney has designs on getting her into the Best Actress race.

What this flick has going in its favor is how visually interesting it is. Stromberg used to be a production designer, and it shows. The makeup, production design, and visual effects are all very strong, so that’s one place where the Academy might see fit to recognize this one. Jolie certainly brings star power and audiences seemed to eat up Alice in Wonderland, so there’s potential here for the flick to show up in a few categories.

Working against Maleficent is that it’s actually a fairly boring take on the story. Woolverton doesn’t bring much to the proceedings, leading to a sense that you’re not necessarily getting the epic story that you were promised. More so than that, it’s just not revolutionary enough in any way to be the sort of blockbuster that goes on to bigger and better Oscar glory. The technical categories are a possibility for sure, but I wouldn’t go any further than that.

So, can this be a player at all? I’d say that in all likelihood it’s a real long shot for anything not in the tech categories, though I’m sure it’s possible that a voting body like the Hollywood Foreign Press Association could give Jolie a Best Actress citation. This isn’t really meant to be a big awards player though, so don’t expect it to make any real moves outside of those aforementioned tech spots. Even then, I wouldn’t be shocked if Maleficent got shut out entirely. My guess is that this won’t be what happens, but it’ll be a while before we know for sure. In the meantime, feel free to check the movie out for yourself this weekend and see what you think of it…

Grade: Long Shot Contender (though it’s a middle of the road contender for tech nominations)

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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