If one were to pay attention to the day-to-day award season chatter, the critics groups and what not, they might get the sense that films like “Boyhood” are the frontrunners, while movies like “Wild” (which have received almost no nominations or wins in these groups) are losing steam. But that would ignore the fact that Academy members are not as dialed in to the minute-to-minute up and down of temperatures of awards season, and generally feel a different want. And as much as some people are cold on Jean-Marc Vallée’s “Wild” (see our review), make no mistake Reese Witherspoon is pretty much a Best Actress nomination certainty. The Academy loves a “comeback” story after all.
Witherspoon has been pretty candid about “losing her way,” rediscovering her passion for making movies, and trying to tell empowering stories for women in film. This feels like a nomination sight unseen it’s such a perfect narrative. The Golden Globes nominations are on Thursday, and I’ll bet you anything that Witherspoon gets one (hey, even “The Tourist” with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie got nominated there, the HFP ain’t very picky), followed by an Oscar nom and SAG nom. Will she win? Well, that’s something different.
Award season cynicism aside, Vallée is certainly attracting a lot of name talent, directing both his “Dallas Buyers Club” stars, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, to Oscar wins. Up next he’s working with Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts on “Demolition,” and then Amy Adams in a Janis Joplin film. Has he helped Witherspoon reinvent herself? That might be a bit subjective, but the overall narrative is certainly in her favor. “Wild” is in limited release now. Watch seven clips from the film below, a 10-minute Academy conversation clip, plus director Vallée’s breakdown the film’s wildest scene.