Babylon Oscars: Do Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Diego Calva Have a Shot?

It starts with elephant poop and ends with a random clip from “Avatar.”

The history of the jump, one decorated with scatology and film history, summarizes the great 188-minute “Babylon” after its premiere, in an otherwise shocking screening at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on Monday night.

Chazelle’s film is one of the last awards expected to drop this season. It’s the latest project from the Oscar-winning auteur who seems to receive carte blanche on his projects, a trend that may be ending (as it should). As important fall festivals such as Telluride, Toronto, New York and AFI passed, speculation arose about the type of “Babylon,” since Chazelle’s previous films – “Whiplash” (2014), “La La Land” (2016) and “First. Man” ( 2018) – both of which had stopped at several festivals before opening. So can we imagine that Paramount was nervous about it?

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Considering the split process for testing and the testing restrictions that are requested to be done until “further notice,” you can safely assume so.

In front of a crowd that included Oscar voters, SAG members and entertainment journalists, the Hollywood epic was screened before Christmas Day, followed by a censored Q&A that included writer and director Damien Chazelle, as well as stars Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Diego. Calva, Jean Smart, Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li and Tobey Maguire. It was moderated by Stephen Galloway, dean of Chapman University’s college of film and media arts.

Robbie, who plays Nellie LaRoy, perfectly portrays the role of an aspiring actress from New Jersey who does parties. way, way so much. “I love him very much, but he is very tired,” he says during the conversation. “He took everything from me. He wanted everything from me.”

The character of Nellie was inspired by Clara Bow, a star of the silent era who helped popularize the image of the flapper.

Can Robbie play his way into the top flight? After all, it was already filled to the brim with famous performances from famous films such as Cate Blanchett (“Tár”), Viola Davis (“The Woman King”), Danielle Deadwyler (“Until”), Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”). ”) and Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere at Once”). That could be the difference between Robbie getting a seat at the table and him sitting out most of the season. He has already been a two-time winner for “I, Tonya” (2017) and “Bombshell” (2019), he is popular in the Actors’ department, but the critics of the film can prevent him from hearing his name called.

With a line around the block and dozens of attendees trying to find an easy parking spot, it’s unclear how many of the audience knew about the bloated running time they were about to endure.

Looking at the best picture field filled with traditional titles like “Top Gun: Maverick” and critically acclaimed films like “The Banshees of Inisherin,” it’s hard to see the epic going on with enough appeal to enter the Academy’s top race. While it captures important moments in the movie business, the favorite topic of the Oscars was given by their embrace of Tinseltown legends such as “Argo” (2012) and “Mank” (2020), they have never seen the old dream factory on display. like this. With dildos and ogs, followed by fatting and projectile vomiting, many consumers and industry people can miss the kind of glamor and beauty that is often shown in movies about people who make movies.

This marked Pitt’s first public appearance since his ex-wife, Angelina Jolie, filed a lawsuit alleging abuse of the couple’s children on a plane in September 2016. Château Miraval, a French winery bought by the former couple more than 10 years ago.

Will that have an effect on his Oscar chances for supporting actor? Based on the friendly reception in the house and his involvement with three other award hopefuls – “Blonde,” “He spoke” and “Women Talking” – it does not seem to be on their minds. However, he will face an uphill battle with veterans like Brendan Gleeson (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) and Judd Hirsch (“The Fabelmans”) vying for attention.

Chazelle, the executive director of “La La Land,” has a different vision. However, the script he wrote for the film might be too out there and unstructured to garner much support. In particular, some of the underwritten characters played by POC bothered me. It would be good if the script filled in more of their backgrounds and motivations. There is also a scene with Blackface that deserves a larger discussion.

Jovan Adepo plays Sidney Palmer in “Babylon”.
Scott Garfield

Fighting for the lead actor, newcomer Diego Calva hits many of the marks that the script calls for him to act as Manny Torres, a man who dreams of being on the movie set. However, what she is most hoping for is recognition from the Golden Globes in the music/musical category. Manny isn’t given much to do other than be relegated to “the guy watching in the corner” for most of the three hour epic. In fact, I feel that we know nothing about Manny except that he is Mexican and loves Nellie for “reasons.”

When it comes to the success of the actress Li Jun Li as Lady Fay Zhu, and “Fences” (2016) star Jovan Adepo as the trumpet player Sidney Palmer, their roles are given very little narrative agency and cannot encourage the awards discussion in the supporting groups. – especially since big stars like Pitt, Tobey Maguire and Jean Smart are also competing in their categories.

So where can a film get awards traction if not with the actors?

Lukas Haas plays George Munn and Diego Calva plays Manny Torres in “Babylon”.
Scott Garfield

Oscar-winning singer Justin Hurwitz jumps back in after his hit “First Man” to deliver a foot-stomping score that will be a crowd favorite, matching the film’s high-octane energy.

The period backdrop boasts a magnificent set by production designer Florencia Martin and decorator Anthony Carlino. At the same time, three-time Oscar nominee Mary Zophres (“True Grit,” “La La Land” and “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”) brings the threads of time to life, and the best results can come. in dress.

The makeup team has a tough job to do, showing how alcohol addiction affects the body, while the actors who have aged in decades are put on display. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it make the shortlist in December.

Chazelle’s regular collaborators, Tom Cross and Linus Sandgren, both former Oscar winners, are on design and editing and cinematography. But, of course, they all rely on the Academy’s status and those of the majority that show voting. For those members who like to reminisce about the good old days when Hollywood had stars and injected drugs, it can be a tempting option. Older voters, likely those who don’t stress about sex and body fluids, may be its biggest boost.

The film is produced by Olivia Hamilton, Marc Platt and Matt Plouffe. Paramount Pictures has the safest bet in the awards race with “Top Gun: Maverick,” which looks set to go far in this first-ever awards season.

“Babylon” is scheduled to open in theaters on Dec. 25.

To see the projected estimates for each category, visit Variety’s Oscars Hub.

GOOD IMAGE | DIRECTOR | ACTOR | ACTRESS | TECHNICIAN SUPPORT | SUPPORTING MUSIC | ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREEN PLAY | Animated Feature | PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING | LEARNING | OBSERVATIONS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | INTERNATIONAL FEATURE | Animated SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT | KEEP LIFE SHORT



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