Sunday, October 17

Carey Mulligan and Riz Ahmed brace for Oscar surprises after 2021 Spirit Oscars

Thursday’s Independent Spirit Awards confirmed what now seems inevitable for Sunday’s Oscars: Nomadland will win best picture and best director.

Chloé Zhao’s drama about older Americans living in their trucks and RVs took home two top awards at the Spirit Awards, following a nearly uninterrupted streak of victories at ceremonies including the Golden Globes and Baftas.

Such an Oscar result would make Zhao the second woman to win the best director award, after Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010.

But other victories at the Spirit Awards revealed the unpredictability of the best actor and actress career. Carey Mulligan, 35, won Best Female Lead for the revenge rape comedy drama Promising Young Woman, while Riz Ahmed, 38, won Best Male Lead for her losing drummer role. the audition at Sound of Metal.

Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman.
Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman. Photograph: Supplied by LMK

Accepting his award on Zoom from a Hollywood hotel, where he is in quarantine before the Oscars, Mulligan dedicated his award to the late Helen McCrory, who died last week. “She was a true independent spirit and actress that I looked up to, and will continue to look up to, for the rest of my career,” Mulligan said.

Ahmed, who has lost two family members to the coronavirus, ended his speech by wishing peace to all those who have been affected by the pandemic.

Both Brits are increasingly viewed as outside bets for Sunday, with Ahmed inclined as capable of pulling off the kind of surprise seen in 2003, when The Pianist’s Adrien Brody snatched the Oscar win from favorites Daniel Day-Lewis and Jack Nicholson.

Ahmed’s main competition is Chadwick Boseman, who if he wins would become the second best actor posthumously for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Anthony Hopkins, for his role in the dementia drama The Father.

Riz Ahmed in Sound of Metal.
Riz Ahmed in Sound of Metal. Photograph: Landmark Media / Alamy

A win for Hopkins, 83, would make him the oldest Oscar winner in history, but there is said to be a sense in Hollywood that, despite a belated surge in support for Florian Zeller’s adaptation of his own work, Hopkins hardly needs more silverware. to add to your cabinet.

And while Boseman remains the favorite, Ma Rainey has underperformed in awards season. As with Mank and The Trial of the Chicago 7, his fall Netflix release appears to have resulted in a spring sinking from which he has struggled to recover.

Anthony Hopkins in The Father.
Oldest Best Performance Winner? … Anthony Hopkins in The Father. Photograph: Film4 / Allstar

However, Promising Young Woman has enjoyed the opposite reception, with a Christmas Day premiere in the US and an early April debut in the UK, sparking new momentum for the film. debut of Brit Emerald Fennell, who is probably the winner of the original script. Oscar.

Although the film has divided audiences, its passionate champions could push Mulligan to the finish line before McDormand, whose turn at Nomadland is less flashy than those (at Fargo and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) who won his previous Oscars. .

Also in the running are Andra Day for her role in Lee Daniels’ Billie Holiday biopic, Viola Davis for the lead role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Vanessa Kirby for Pieces of a Woman. Kirby, 33, remains a dark horse on the run for her astonishing performance as a woman whose baby dies shortly after birth.

This year’s Oscars ceremony is expected to be one of the most unusual in its 93-year history, with Union Station in Los Angeles as the main venue, with 170 guests. The London and Paris centers will host nominees who cannot travel.

Producers, including Contagion director Steven Soderbergh, have promised an event more like a movie than a conventional awards ceremony. Masks will not be worn on camera, Soderbergh said last week, but they will play “a very important role in the story.”

He added: “If that’s cryptic, it’s meant to be. That theme is very central to the narrative. “

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