Hollywood Contenders – Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl” hopes for the rare back to back Best Actor win

the danish girl eddie redmayne alicia vikander
As we all know, biopics are catnip for Oscar voters, and tomorrow one of the most baity of the year opens in theaters…Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl. Starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, the film is sure to be considered by Academy members across the board. Having seen it a while ago, I can vouch for the acting and the look of the movie, though Hooper’s direction is likely to be as divisive as it was previously in Les Miserables, along with The King’s Speech, to a lesser extent. That being said, it could very well wind up being the biggest biopic in contention this year, though that remains to be seen. Still, this is a player worth paying a lot of attention to, especially this week as it gets ready to hit theaters in limited release.

Eddie Redmayne Danish Girl640
Here’s a bit about the film, in case you’re not aware what it’s about. The Danish Girl is a dramatized look at artist Einar Wegener, who would better be known later on as Lili Elbe after becoming a transgender pioneer by going through the first ever male to female sex reassignment surgery. Redmayne plays that baity role, while Vikander is Gerda Wegener, his wife and fellow artist who was there every step of the way, supporting the process. Tom Hooper directs, Lucinda Coxon adapted the book, and the cast in addition to Redmayne and Vikander includes Amber Heard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ben Whishaw, and more. Alexandre Desplat contributes the score and the cinematography is by Danny Cohen. Redmayne is excellent, I’ll once again say that, nearly as good as his award winning role last year in The Theory of Everything, but he’s upstaged by Vikander, who’s even better.

I found the film to be good, not great (better than Les Miserables, not as good as The King’s Speech), with Hooper’s usual choices behind the camera potentially distracting, but the look of the flick is excellent, with sumptuous production design. More importantly though, the acting is great, with Redmayne (doubling down on his strong performance last year in The Theory of Everything) and especially Vikander (topping what she did earlier this year in Ex Machina) doing top notch work. They’re what really makes this work, and without them, I don’t think this would be an Oscar player. With them, however, it’s likely to be nominated in a few categories for sure.

Speaking of awards, look for this one to be in contention across the board. Campaigns are expected to be heavily mounted in Best Picture, Best Director (for Hooper), Best Actor (for Redmayne) Best Supporting Actress (for Vikander, provided she doesn’t go Lead), Best Adapted Screenplay (for Coxon), Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Hairstyling & Makeup, and Best Original Score. The Danish Girl should score two acting nominations, getting Redmayne into Actor for sure and Vikander into Supporting Actress (or likely even Actress), along with potential for multiple citations in the technical categories. Of course, Picture could come along for the ride too, if the Academy falls for this one.

Time will tell if The Danish Girl truly is a huge Oscar play like Hooper’s last two films as well as Redmayne’s last one or if they somewhat disappoint in that realm, but this is certainly good enough to contend. It’s not great, again, but it does the trick, if that makes sense. Audiences will get their first glimpse at it starting tomorrow, and if it does well in limited release, that certainly will help things along. Regardless, it’s a classy and important biopic that’s worth looking out for, especially if you like Hooper’s work and/or the performances of Redmayne so far. The acting in particular makes this something to see…

the danish girl poster
Be sure to check out The Danish Girl, out tomorrow in limited release!

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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