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“Love Is Strange”: What’s Up with the 2015 Awards Race

Love Is Strange 600x312
Directed by: Ira Sachs
Written by: Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias
Main Cast: John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei, Tatyana Zbirovskaya, and more…
Past Oscar relations: John Lithgow is a two time Best Supporting Actor nominee (Terms of Endearment and The World According to Garp, while Marisa Tomei won Best Supporting Actress for My Cousin Vinny and also has two other Supporting Actress nominations (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead and The Wrestler) to her credit

Today is another brand new article in this ongoing series of mine concerning the 2014 releases hoping to compete for some sort of notable Oscar attention as a contender at the upcoming 2015 ceremony. Next up for us here folks is the Sundance romantic drama Love Is Strange, which hopes to be the latest love story to transition from Park City to the Academy’s heart. Can it do it? Let’s discuss below…

This film follows a same sex couple played by John Lithgow and Alfred Molina in the later years of their life as they’re about to get married in New York City. Life then makes things less comfortable than they’re used to, but I don’t want to say much more than that. Marisa Tomei also co-stars and well regarded filmmaker Ira Sachs co-writes (along with Mauricio Zacharias) and directs here. The ingredients are in place for something that voters could take a shine to, that’s for sure.

What this flick has going in its favor is the strong reviews and tremendous acting on display. It’s a very well done story, rightly getting all of the praise that it’s been getting. Lithgow and Molina especially are top notch, doing some of their best work in some time. Lithgow hasn’t been nominated in some time and Molina has criminally never been cited, so one or both of them certainly could be in play. Both deserve consideration in either Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor, depending on what a campaign sees as the smart play, while the screenplay itself has an outside chance at being recognized. If Academy members are as moved as critics were at Sundance and also the Tribeca Film Festival, it could be a real player.

Working against Love Is Strange is the fact that it’s a Sundance release that potentially could be lost in the shuffle. We’re about to see a ton of high profile Oscar contenders descend on voters in the next few months, so something small like this will literally have to fight in order to survive. Also, while neither Lithgow nor Molina is a supporting player (they’re clear co-leads), Best Actor seems like a rough category for either one to crack, so the better chance is in Best Supporting Actor, but that could come off as category fraud to some. It makes for a tough needle to thread here.

So, can this be a player at all? My hunch is that Love Is Strange will ultimately fall short of any nominations, with the caveat that it’s possible Lithgow or Molina could sneak into Supporting Actor with a proper campaign. It’s not quite a long shot contender, but it’s not amazingly likely either. We’ll see in the coming months how things play out for the film, but regardless of that it’s a movie well worth seeing, so I hope you make time for it. Love Is Strange is a high quality flick, plain and simple…

Grade: Possible Contender (provided someone goes Supporting)

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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