The pre-Oscar class photo?
Vivien Killilea/ Getty Images
Take a look at this low key, chilled out group picture with some of the most buzzworthy stars and filmmakers of 2016, all together, sitting on the ground. And check out Amy Adams’s beaming smile. Pure joy… and stamina.
Last week, Lainey wrote about her one-two punch of Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival and Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals in Venice that will likely have her back in the Oscar conversation once again. And in Telluride? The critics and pundits appear to agree about Arrival. Awards Daily’s Sasha Stone said it was her favourite of the fest.
Arrival still no 1 if I had to pick. https://t.co/fys9bN5LdY— Sasha Stone (@AwardsDaily) September 5, 2016
But, how different will this class photo look in five months, when the Oscar nominees all pose together at the annual Academy luncheon in February? Will these marquee names look just as relaxed then, when more is on the line?
There’s still so much to see (Collateral Beauty, Hidden Figures, Jackie (my queen, Natalie), 20th Century Women (Annette Bening)) and The Girl on the Train) so right now it feels like it’s a wide open race, but let's speculate about what could be developing starting with who is standing next to whom.
First, there’s already a sisterhood forming: Amy, Emma Stone and Rooney Mara (Una) are all hanging near the bottom left. Rooney has her classic “aloof” resting face on, while Emma seems to be soaking up her Best Actress frontrunner buzz that Lainey wrote about earlier. These are all former nominees, and they’re all hoping, again, that this could be their year.
Then, there’s the Moonlight crew, which runs deep. Naomie Harris, Andre Holland and Janelle Monae all stand side-by-side just left of centre — behind Tom Hanks — while Mahershala Ali and Trevante Rhodes hold court on the right side. Moonlight made quite an impact at Telluride – and when I saw it in Toronto last week at a pre-TIFF press screening, I felt the exact same way. It’s completely arresting, gorgeous, and so deliberately restrained in the way it shows the complexities of black masculinity and homosexuality. I’ve been thinking about it all weekend. (We’ll have the review for you during TIFF.)
If enough people, or critics, see it in Toronto, it could be the movie that launches a thousand think pieces. Janelle Monae is a real star, and finally, after a stalled run for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Naomie could finally receive the recognition she deserves for her scenestealing ways. The Moonlight squad is in it for the long haul, and they’re in it together.
And then there’s this factoid – Moonlight could become Plan B’s fourth straight Best Picture nominee after 12 Years a Slave, Selma and The Big Short. Lainey wrote about this a little while ago, about how Brad Pitt might be the most “woke” man in Hollywood, and how he’s quietly shepherded diverse stories to make sure they receive the love they deserve from critics. David Oyelowo also routinely gives him props in interviews, too.
Beyond Moonlight’s power and awards potential, there’s some other friendships and alliances brewing that we could be seeing a lot more of. Laura Linney sits next to her You Can Count on Me director and Manchester by the Sea helmer Kenny Lonergan, while the film’s star, Casey Affleck put in the schmoozing time and was photographed with his Ain’t Them Bodies Saints co-star, Rooney.
Who would you want to see Rooney work with again? Amy Adams or Casey Affleck pic.twitter.com/gOqD0Elw4j— Rooney Mara fan (@RooneyMaraSlay) September 5, 2016
Sally Hawkins is also receiving buzz for her work as a tortured Canadian artist in Maudie, as is Aaron Eckhart for his two roles in Sully and Bleed for This. And then there’s Miles Teller – who is also earning some love for the latter film… yet another boxing movie.
My favourite gossip photo, though, has to be this airport sighting of Emma and Miles caught in a “just like us” moment while on their way out of Telluride. It’s a great shot of “what could have been,” since Miles was originally set to star in La La Land as a follow-up to Whiplash, and Emma came on board early as the female lead when another Emma, Emma Watson, could not commit to the film:
Just like us: Emma Stone and Miles Teller also waiting for the Montrose Airport to get its act together. pic.twitter.com/SMsHGwKMOZ— Scott Feinberg (@ScottFeinberg) September 6, 2016
If you’re looking for Miles in the class photo? He’s in the back left – behind film critic Leonard Maltin.
More importantly though, how similar will what happened in Colorado look to what will happen at the Dolby Theatre on Feb. 26, 2017?