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Hollywood Contenders – “Brooklyn” might be an under the radar Academy favorite

brooklyn saoirse ronan
Up until it began its theatrical release last week, I’m not sure how many people really knew just how good Brooklyn was. It’s one thing to read reviews praising Saorise Ronan and company, but the loveliness of the work only fully reveals itself when you see it. All the way up and down the line this is just a wonderful film that really does feel like something that could potentially turn into an Oscar juggernaut. The fact that some are underestimating it has me wondering just how well it could wind up doing, which is what we’ll be discussing here today. Here we go…

The movie is a romantic drama/period piece about Eilis (Ronan), an Irish girl planning to immigrate to America. When she arrives, she meets and falls for an Italian boy from Brooklyn (Emory Cohen), opening her eyes to a new world. When she has to briefly return to Ireland, she meets another suitor (Domhnall Gleeson), forcing her to choose between old and new in more ways than one. John Crowley directs here, while Nick Hornby adapted the bestselling book. The cast is obviously led by Ronan, with supporting players, in addition to Cohen and Gleeson, including and Jim Broadbent, Eileen O’Higgins, Julie Walters, and more.

Well directed by Crowley (who has an eye for simple period details that elevates the look of things) and tremendously well written by Hornby (who is at his most earnest, but also his most romantic), what really sets Brooklyn apart is the acting. From Ronan’s top notch lead performance to Cohen’s breakthrough supporting turn, as well as Walters’ scene stealing part, it’s just lovely. Especially with Cohen and Ronan, both has moved me before, but this represents career best work for the both of them. Their budding romantic chemistry is just a delight to witness. It’s one of the best couple pairings of 2015, if you ask me.

Awards wise, as previously mentioned, this could be a big time player. The precursors will have to be kind to it, of course, but if they are, the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards could really take a shine to it. With the Oscars especially, look for campaigns in Best Picture, Best Director (for Crowley), Best Actress (for Ronan), Best Supporting Actor (for Cohen and Gleeson), Best Supporting Actress (for Walters), Best Adapted Screenplay (for Hornby), Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, and Best Film Editing. The Globes will chime in a bunch too, but when it comes to Oscar, I’d be shocked if the bare minimum for Brooklyn wasn’t Picture, Actress (for Ronan), and Adapted Screenplay (for Hornby), with plenty more on the table. If voters are as fond of it as I think they might be, Director (for Crowley) and Supporting Actor (likey for Cohen) is definitely in play as well. You’d be foolish not to have this one high up in a bunch of places. The wins might not come, but the odds favor a solid amount of nominations coming its way.

Overall, this is another delightful awards player that deserves all of the praise that it has received so far. Audiences got a chance to scope Brooklyn out as of last Wednesday in limited release, with further expansions to come. I think it’s safe to say that this is one Academy hopeful that isn’t likely to get shut out come nomination morning. Exactly how it does remains to be seen, but there’s a chance that it dominates the nominations. Sit tight, as we’ll see how the precursors treat it, but don’t sleep on this one’s chances. That would be foolish, to say the least. More importantly, go see this movie…

Stay tuned for more on Brooklyn, which is in theaters now!

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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