According to Oscar prognosticators, there aren’t very many serious contenders for the Best Actress Oscar this year/next spring. Well, maybe it’s time to step outside of the box that forms the consensus of the prognosticators and ask folks to look at what is right in front of our eyes.
The Oscar blogosphere has such a herd mentality that films that don’t fit — studio or mini-majors releases — or actors who aren’t playing along by shilling themselves constantly get totally lost in the conversation. Yes, box-office performance and glad-handing do help to get noticed, but the fact that no one is talking about Mia Wasikowska in the beautiful Tracks is depressing. I thought the fact that it had current Hollywood It Boy Adam Driver as a co-star would help drive up the box-office take, but no, people are missing this wonderful film.
Juliette Binoche is poised for a terrific fall and winter, with the much-anticipated Clouds of Sils Maria opening early in 2015 and the widely acclaimed film 1,000 Times Good Night opening this Friday. 1,000 has won accolades on the festival circuit and is getting a small release through Film Movement (writer/director Erik Poppe will be in NY this weekend for Q&As). Binoche plays Rebecca, one of the best war photographers in the world, who struggles to connect with her family when she returns home to spend time with her family. She is there, but not really there.
The film begins with her being hurt in a bomb blast and her family’s desperation to keep her safe. But Rebecca isn’t sure that she wants to be with them more than she wants to get that next photo — an ambivalence that threatens to break up her family. 1,000 Times Good Night is a movie about a mother who doesn’t really know how to mother properly, which is a rare enough premise for a film. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) plays her marine-biologist husband with the primary parenting responsibilities. He comes off as the good parent and she as the monster, because in what world what a woman would choose dangerous work over her kids?
Rebecca makes the decision to step back from the dangerous assignments and get back in touch with her daughters, yet she is more lost after the decision. This is a woman who has to tell stories about war and its victims. (Granted, one of the biggest problems with the film is the white-savior issue and the fact that none of the people she is photographing speak. Her subjects are too far away for us to feel the connection.) But for all the problems with the film, Binoche’s is stellar, nuanced, and really interesting — and 1,000% worthy of Oscar consideration.
See for yourself in the following clip, in which Binoche’s wry, sad, passionate Rebecca explains why she became a war photographer and what she wants her work to accomplish.