If 2011 was The Year of The Fassbender, then 2013 is The Year of The Batch. With a blockbuster (Star Trek Into Darkness), another installment of the popular TV show that made him (Sherlock), and a trio of Oscar-y projects that showcase his talents from period drama to modern leading man (12 Years a Slave, August: Osage County and The Fifth Estate), like him or not, you cannot deny this is Benedict Cumberbatch’s year. And The Hollywood Reporter agrees with that, as they have put him on the cover of their “new A-list” issue, declaring him to be “Hollywood’s new A-lister”. Rejoice, Cumber Collective. Your man is In.
As part of this declaration, THR has an interesting profile piece on The Batch, which makes for a good read. He certainly has a lot of personality, which the reporter notes as their interview takes a Mulligan to start over when they get off to a bad start. I like this for two reasons. 1) Here is an interviewer (Stephen Galloway), who can admit his interview is going badly and that it’s partially his responsibility to get it back on track, and 2) here is an actor who can admit his interview is going badly and it’s partially his responsibility to get it back on track. So they start over, and it goes much better (take notes, Bruce Willis).
Cumberbatch doesn’t say anything earth-shattering. He’s talked about being carjacked in South Africa before, addressed his discomfort with his fans’ nickname and his dislike of the internet, but you can definitely see the strides made in his presentation. His poshness never comes up—instead they talk about his growing celebrity. There’s a focus on work and projects, not background. I mentioned it earlier this year, that he needed to change the conversation around him, and he’s done so, to great effect. This Cumberbatch is spiky and intellectual, and isn’t afraid to display actual humanity in front of a member of the press. He might not enjoy it, but he’s got the presence to be as good a celebrity as he is an actor.
One thing I want the Collective to promise right now, though, is to not put too much emphasis on the Oscars. This is a CRAZY competitive year, and while The Batch has three horses in the race, the conversation is already being dominated by others, and it’s also largely about how this could be the year with multiple nominees of color, in multiple categories. The Collective should enjoy the bounty—most of us have been waiting years for the rest of the world to catch up—but award season isn’t going to be about him. Still, with a strong showing at TIFF behind him, three prestige projects coming up, Sherlock on the horizon and THR throwing his cotillion, Benedict Cumberbatch is having a banner year.