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When it comes to the Oscars, it is not a good idea to bet against Cyrano de Bergerac (Jose Ferrer won a best actor Oscar for playing the title character in a 1950 adaptation of Edmond Rostand‘s 1897 play) or performers in films directed by Joe Wright (who have received noms for 2005’s Pride & Prejudice, 2007’s Atonement and 2017’s Darkest Hour, with Gary Oldman winning best actor for the third).
This would seem to bode well for the prospects of Peter Dinklage — and perhaps Haley Bennett and Kelvin Harrison, Jr., too — of Wright’s new movie musical Cyrano, which was written by Erica Schmidt (Dinklage’s wife) and features music by The National, and which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on Thursday. And indeed, many Telluride festivalgoers — generally good proxies for Academy members — have responded very favorably to their performances.
It must be said, though, that the film itself has proven more divisive. Even with the heightened reality of the musical genre, the story feels mustily old-fashioned (a woman falls in love with a man through his writing?), if not outright creepy (it could be described as an incel deceiving a woman he has a crush on but who has decidedly friend-zoned him), and the tunes are not exactly ones one leaves the theater singing. This version of Cyrano was previously performed off-Broadway in 2019, and might have worked better on the stage.
Regardless, Dinklage, who is best known as Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones, is an immensely gifted and watchable actor, here playing a part tailored for him, and so he must be taken very seriously in the best actor race.
MGM will release Cyrano on Dec. 31.
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