Can London Critics Save Lesley Manville?
London Film Critics give Lesley Manville's dead Oscar hopes a revivifying jolt that means a lot more than their bow to The King's Speech.
Most headlines about this week's London Film Critics Circle nominations focused on King's seven noms, but I doubt many Oscar voters will dance like marionettes at the hands of a pack of royals-revering, tea-swilling swells across the pond. If the King wins or loses, it will be for strictly American reasons.
But it's at least conceivable that the seven noms for Another Year might prompt more voters to put it at the top of their screener pile, instead of behind the stack, where it's been since Manville's many other awards snubs sank her candidacy from sight. She also just beat Annette Bening, Nicole Kidman, and Michelle Williams on the LA Weekly/Village Voice film poll, and the film beat A Prophet, Inception, and True Grit.
Granted, the London critics only put Another Year in the Attenborough Award (British film of the year category), while Tom Hooper's film got both an Attenborough and an international film of the year nom.
However, Another Year got more noms for acting than Hooper's film. 2002's supporting Ocar winner Jim Broadbent is up for British actor of the year, and both Manville and Ruth Sheen (who plays Broadbent's conspicuously happily married wife) vie for British actress of the year.
Another Year's David Bradley and Peter Wight (playing Manville's character's equally sadly sodden loser suitor) are likewise 40% of the candidates for British supporting actor. Hooper's British director of the year rival Mike Leigh is a genius at making ensembles come to life, at once, in an utterly convincing simulacrum of spontaneity.
To stand out in this ensemble, as Manville does, she must really be doing something distinctive. Oscar gods: Check out what that something is before you cast your vote.
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Scott Feinberg, the lead awards analyst for The Hollywood Reporter, is one of the entertainment industry's most experienced and trusted experts about the Oscars, Emmys and Tonys. He started on the awards beat in 2001, writing for independent websites including his own ScottFeinberg.com before joining the Los Angeles Times and then THR, for which he writes “The Race” blog, which won the LA Press Club’s National Entertainment Journalism Award for best entertainment blog of 2012-2013. A voting member of both the Broadcast Film Critics' Association and Broadcast Television Journalists Association, he is also writing a book about film history for young people for which he has interviewed more than 500 high-profile Hollywood figures whose careers span the silent era through the present.
Follow Scott on Twitter at twitter.com/scottfeinberg.