Ethan Hawke, subject of an earlier post today, starred in a film that was released earlier this year called Maudie. We posted an exclusive first look at Maudie a few months ago. You can also read Joanna’s review here. When Jacek first saw the preview, based on just a two minute clip, he wanted Sally Hawkins to win an Oscar. She is an extraordinary performer. Maudie is an excellent showcase for her talents. And early, early, early in the season, there were some who thought that Sally might have an outside shot for a nomination. That might change though during festival season – not that she’d be taken out of the race, but that she could make it into the race, only for another film.

Sally’s in Venice right now in support of Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape Of Water. The Shape Of Water is scheduled for release December 8th. In December, as I’m sure you know, there is one movie that will eat up most of the box office, leaving everyone else to fight over what’s left. That would be Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The Shape Of Water comes out the week before Star Wars. I guess that’s the not-so-great news? What’s encouraging though is that clearly the studio thinks The Shape Of Water is a holiday movie. That there will be an audience for its story. And the story is…

It’s always better to show than tell, so here’s the trailer:

I don’t have much of a heart. But I think I felt something watching that. It may have to do with the fact that I have a soft spot for Guillermo del Toro because I’ve interviewed him a few times and he is just so nice. Nice isn’t even the word. He’s sweet. He’s so, so, SO sweet. And this movie… seems sweet without being cloying? Maybe it’ll be cloying over 2 hours. The reviews coming out of Venice so far are strong though. The Guardian says that The Shape Of Water has a “monster-sized heart”; Variety calls it “ravishingly imagined”. And The Hollywood Reporter was high on it too. This is a film led by a charmingly passionate director with an impressive cast that also includes Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon, and Richard Jenkins. Oh, you know, just your regular ensemble, right? All of them casually coming in with their Oscar nominations.

Right now, and I know we have six months to go but some of us live for this sh-t, while there’s already a Best Actor frontrunner (Gary Oldman is playing Winston Churchill, everyone get the f-ck out of the way), there is no clear lead for Best Actress. Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Annette Bening, and Frances McDormand are all part of the conversation. But so is Sally Hawkins. If the reviews for The Shape Of Water continue to hold up and it finds an audience in December, she could be back at the Dolby Theatre. Although before that, if you can, watch Maudie. It’s on iTunes now. She’s amazing.