“Gone Girl”: What’s Up with the 2015 Awards Race

gone girl ben affleck 600x378
Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: Gillian Flynn
Main Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Carrie Coon, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, and more…
Past Oscar relations: Affleck is a two time Oscar winner (co-writing Good Will Hunting and co-producing his Best Picture winner Argo), while Fincher is a two time Best Director nominee, having been cited for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Social Network

Today we have another article in this ongoing series of mine concerning certain 2014 releases hoping to compete for some sort of actual Oscar attention as a contender at the upcoming 2015 ceremony. Next up for us here is a major player in Gone Girl, which hopes to be the latest high profile book adaptation to appeal to the Academy. Can it actually do it after a raucous debut at the New York Film Festival? Let’s discuss that possibility a little bit below now…

This thriller is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the screenplay. The one and only David Fincher is in the director’s chair, while the cast is led by Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, with Carrie Coon, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, Emily Ratajkowski, Sela Ward, and more in supporting roles. With a very positive NYFF reception last week (I was there and can tell you for a fact that it played like gangbusters), the folks behind Gone Girl have to be feeling pretty good about its chances in the Oscar race.

What this flick has going in its favor is how amazingly well made it is as well as how strong the performances are on top of the directing and writing. David Fincher and Gillian Flynn make a good team, with Fincher’s unmatched technical proficiency and eye for perfection matched up with Flynn’s twisty and page turning idea. You really can’t wait to see what happens next. Rosamund Pike does awards worthy work here, while Ben Affleck deserves a nomination in a career best turn. Affleck and Pike are best in show, but both Carrie Coon and Tyler Perry steal their scenes in supporting roles as well. Affleck, Fincher, Flynn, and Pike should see their work heavily in play for awards love, on top of the film itself, not to mention the technical aspects. Look for cinematographer Jeff Cronenwweth, editor Kirk Baxter, plus composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to be up for Oscar love too.

Working against Gone Girl is the claims (unfounded, in my mind) that this is just a “trashy” story. Fincher and Flynn have a lot more on their minds than that, tackling the media, specifically tragedy vampirism by small town news outlets, male/female dynamics, and the difficulties of marriage. That being said, those unwilling to look below the surface or those disturbed by what they find might not want to consider this alongside more traditional “prestige” fare. There’s a possibility that voters might not be comfortable giving this the kind of nominations or even wins that many feel it actually deserves.

So, can this be a player at all? I think it’s a pretty safe bet to say that it’s going to be in heavy contention for a number of nominations, as well as potentially wins, but it all depends on how it plays to traditional Academy members. If they fall under its spell, it could be looking at between six and nine nominations. If they don’t, it could wind up just being one or two. We’ll find out in the next few months, but with Gone Girl opening up tomorrow, you all can see it for yourself and begin to see where you fall on the awards spectrum…

Grade: Very Likely Contender (in all categories)

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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