Oscar Moment: “Nowhere Boy”

15 10 2010

With the expansion of the Best Picture field, we have to take into account all sorts of contenders for Best Picture.  “Nowhere Boy” is a movie that wouldn’t have much of a chance in a field of five, but it seems like a good Golden Globes film that might have a nice shot at some Oscar nominations.

Based on the early years of John Lennon (Aaron Johnson of Kick-Ass fame), the movie leads into the founding of the world’s most famous band, The Beatles.  It also focuses on Lennon’s relationship with two important women, his aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas) and his mother (Anne-Marie Duff).  It’s an appealing biopic that has been certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and is expanding into over 200 theaters this weekend after doing respectable business in its American opening.

I say American opening because “Nowhere Boy” opened last Christmas in the UK, making it eligible for the BAFTAs, the British equivalent of the Oscars.  It fared pretty well there, receiving nominations for Outstanding British Film, Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer, and two nominations for Best Supporting Actress honoring Scott Thomas and Duff.  Given the press that the growing British faction of the Academy has received over the past few years, it would be unwise to discount a movie that they clearly liked quite a bit.

Since the movie is centered around the very musical Lennon, it will be considered in the Musical/Comedy category at the Golden Globes where it will not have a hard time scoring nominations for Best Picture and perhaps Best Actor for Aaron Johnson.  Scott Thomas and Duff, however, will be competing against dramatic supporting actresses.

In their favor, though, is that the category is still incredibly wide-open with no frontrunner or even sure-fire nominees.  Both is going to be hard for a movie that doesn’t have Best Picture written all over it, but one of them could find a nice slot.  My money is on previous Oscar nominee Kristin Scott Thomas, who found herself in contention for “The English Patient” 14 years ago.  Although if the voters are feeling younger this year – and they very well might with players like Hailee Steinfeld and Elle Fanning in the race – the pendulum could swing towards Anne-Marie Duff.  Hate to say it, but Johnson doesn’t stand much of a chance given his young age and the tight Best Actor category.

And in October, I don’t think we would be entirely remiss to say “Nowhere Boy” has an outside shot at Best Picture.  It’s an incredible dark horse, but if it finds an audience and does well at the Golden Globes, it might be able to sneak in.  It’s not looking good for “Never Let Me Go,” one of the movies I presumed would tickle the Academy’s British fancy, but “The King’s Speech” is looking strong, so who knows how much Brit they can take in a year?

BEST BETS FOR NOMINATIONS: Best Supporting Actress (Scott Thomas)

OTHER POSSIBLE NOMINATIONS: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Duff)


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2 responses

15 10 2010
Stu

I’m a big fan of the Beatles, and of Aaron Johnson after “Kick-Ass,” but this one looks a little trite.

16 10 2010
Marshall

I’m not saying it’s going to be good; I’m merely suggesting that it could have some HFPA/AMPAS appeal.

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