Eddie Redmayne has an Oscar worthy performance in “The Theory of Everything”


Today, the theatrical release is beginning for The Theory of Everything, a biopic about noted physicist Stephen Hawking. The role of Hawking is played to perfection by surefire Academy Award nominee Eddie Redmayne, while the role of his loving and supportive wife Jane is portrayed by almost certain fellow Oscar nominee Felicity Jones. With the film now out in limited release, it can attempt to win over audiences in the same that it won over critics on the festival circuit. From there on, it’s a matter of seeing if the movie can appeal to Oscar voters. Personally, I think it’ll do just fine, but I certainly hope that Academy members really do consider Jones and especially Redmayne for wins as well.

The biopic is of course a look at the life of Hawking, beginning with his time at University and continuing up until close to the modern day. We see Hawking go from an awkward young man to a sick but still mobile student to someone confined to a wheelchair, all the way to the distinctive images we have of the man now. Along the way, we spend just as much time with Jane as with Stephen, seeing how she interacts with her mate and staying strong in the face of adversity. She’s very much the co-lead of this story, with equal screen time and just as much of a character arc. Obviously Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne star, along with supporting players like Charlie Cox, Simon McBurney, Christian McKay, David Thewlis, and Emily Watson. James Marsh is in the director’s chair, while Anthony McCarten wrote the adaptation of the book by Jane Hawking.

Without question, the highlight here is Eddie Redmayne, with Felicity Jones not far behind. Redmayne is the cream of the acting crop in 2014 according to my tastes, blowing me away in a manner that I just did not expect. He’s going to deserve the Best Actor nomination coming his way…hell, he deserves the win, but that all remains to be seen. Similarly, Jones gives one of the best performances by an actress so far this year, so when she’s nominated for Best Actress and fights it out with Julianne Moore for the win, it’ll all be quite deserving. They’ll both get nods, which likely will help the film itself get a nom as well. Outside of those three citations, a best case scenario has Best Director (for Marsh), Best Adapted Screenplay (for McCarten), Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score coming through as well.

To play devil’s advocate for a moment, there is a chance that voters feel as I do, that this is a decent movie made memorable by two great performances (with Redmayne being downright extraordinary). In that case, while I still think they nominate both of them, that could keep them from being in serious contention for a win, as well as perhaps even costing the film a Best Picture nomination. That’s a toss up right now, though I’d say that The Theory of Everything is in a very solid position, particularly with a good shot at a tech nomination in Best Original Score to help branch out from just the actors. There’s also the chance that The Imitation Game hogs the British voting block, but that also remains to be seen.

With the film now in theaters, you all can see the performances for yourself and begin to chime in on just how big of a contender The Theory of Everything will be. As I’ve already said, the two main cast members are who to bank on hearing their names called on nomination morning. In a just world, they’d both be frontrunners right now as well, but it’s still early. Redmayne is transformative though, trust me there.

Stay tuned to see how The Theory of Everything does on the precursor circuit…

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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