3:32pm PT by Scott Feinberg
Sony Pictures Classics Plans Kristen Stewart Oscar Push for 'Still Alice' (Exclusive)
Julianne Moore, this year's clear best actress Oscar frontrunner for her work in Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland's Still Alice — a drama in which she plays a middle-aged academic diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's Disease — won't be the only person associated with that film to get a major Oscar push this year, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Sony Pictures Classics, which picked up the film's U.S. distribution rights at the Toronto Film Festival, intends to mount an all-out campaign for several others associated with the film, especially Kristen Stewart in the best supporting actress category, who plays the daughter of Moore's character.
"The picture is just a major achievement," Michael Barker, co-chief of Sony Pictures Classics, told The Hollywood Reporter on Friday. (Sony Pictures Classics also distributed Glatzer and Westmoreland's Quinceanera, the winner of the 2006 Sundance Film Festival's grand jury and audience awards.) "It's a drama that embraces life and that captures the complexities of life. We see that very rarely in movies, although we at Sony Classics saw that not so long ago with Amour."
"In addition to the depth of its screenplay and direction, it features several major performances," Barker continued. "There's no question that Julianne Moore gives the greatest performance of her career to date — it's a performance of such amazing depth and subtlety — but one of the reasons it comes off so spectacularly well is that the actors around her are so strong. Kristen Stewart has never been better than she is in this film. Alec Baldwin gives one of the strongest performances of his career. In addition to that, you've got Kate Bosworth and Hunter Parrish also giving really strong performances."
Many observers have zeroed in on Stewart's performance — depicting the daughter who both spars with and cares for her declining mother — as being particularly impressive, and Barker, who has never worked with the 24-year-old before but has long admired her from afar, agrees with that assessment. "Kristen Stewart is someone we have seen in many movies over the last several years — four in 2014, with three coming up in 2015 so far — and she has shown great range in such a wide variety of genres," he said. "But there is something about this performance that has new depths that she hasn't shown before. She's really terrific in the film."
So what will an Oscar campaign for Stewart, as well as the others, look like? "Not only do you send the DVDs, but you have ads and screenings and try to point out these categories for attention." And will Stewart, one of the busier A-listers in the business, be available to do the interviews, glad-handing and baby-kissing that have become essential to most successful Oscar campaigns in the present day? "As far as I know, she's fully supportive of this film in a major way," Barker said. "We certainly are."