Up till now, the only real contenders for Best Actor have been Austin Butler and Brendan Fraser (largely based on working with Darren Aronofsky in a physically transformative role), and while Fraser declared himself a legit contender this weekend in Venice, Colin Farrell has also entered the chat. He’s one of the stars of The Banshees of Inisherin, Martin McDonagh’s new film. You might remember McDonagh’s last film, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which received seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and won two acting awards (Best Actress for Frances McDormand and Best Supporting Actor for Sam Rockwell). So, this is not a film to take lightly this award season, especially as it got a rapturous response in Venice. 


All the reporting on standing ovation length is f-cking embarrassing, but to be fair to Venice, I feel like all the headlines about Elvis’s record ovation at Cannes kicked this dumb trend off. Suffice to say, Banshees was a hit. The film reunites McDonagh with Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, co-stars of modern cult classic In Bruges, as friends in Ireland who deal with the consequences when one man decides their friendship is over. I love McDonagh and his work, I am very much looking forward to this film, but I ALSO need to emphasize that Colin Farrell showed up in Venice looking like THIS:


This reminds me of the time Colin Farrell looked directly at me and I almost peed my pants. Colin Farrell is coming for his accolades looking like an entire snack pack! 

There is always a chance that Banshees is a victim of festival hype, wherein a roomful of people high on new cinema and pretty people fumes, overhype a mediocre movie. But, historically, McDonagh, Farrell, and Gleeson have done great work together. In Bruges stands UP. And Farrell also worked with McDonagh on the underappreciated film, Seven Psychopaths (one of the best films about writing I’ve ever seen). We know McDonagh can get great performances from Farrell, let alone what Brendan Gleeson can do. That man can give tremendous performances in a vacuum, never mind when working with a McDonagh (Gleeson also collaborates with Martin’s brother, John Michael McDonagh, and gave a barn-burner of a performance in his Calvary).


Banshees is a two-hander with Farrell and Gleeson, and it’s not clear yet if distributor Searchlight will submit them both for Best Actor, or put one—likely Gleeson, if so—into the supporting category to prevent cannibalizing votes. Regardless, Colin Farrell is now a Best Actor contender, and Brendan Gleeson is hovering in the vicinity, too, as soon as his category is sorted. 

Which presents a challenge at TIFF. Banshees is screening Tuesday morning, head-to-head against the screening for Florian Zeller’s The Son. This is Zeller’s follow-up to The Father, for which Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor. In The Son, Hopkins plays a younger version of his character, and Hugh Jackman stars as “the son”, dealing with problems with his own son, too. So Hugh Jackman is ALSO waiting in the wings, to see if he can drum up some Best Actor momentum. But I can’t review both out of TIFF. It’s one or the other. So I put it to you, readers, which would you rather see? A review for Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson’s anti-buddy movie, or Hugh Jackman’s family drama?