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Why ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ Is a Stealth Best Picture Frontrunner

Martin McDonagh's crowdpleaser is more than just a showcase for Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson.

Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell in the film THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN. Photo by Jonathan Hession. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

When Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” won the People’s Choice audience award at TIFF this year, it seemed like an obvious Best Picture frontrunner. That may still be true, but another fall festival hit opening this week has potential to change the equation.

Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin” has been celebrated for its touching and funny dynamic between Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as old friends on an Irish island who experience a falling out. Farrell in particular is seen as a Best Actor frontrunner for his sensitive turn. But the fixation on these performances ignores the broader potential of the movie. Ever since “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” McDonagh has been widely respected by the Academy, and “Banshees” is his best-reviewed movie to date. Could this affable Irish dramedy sneak its way ahead of “Fabelmans” for the big prize?

In this week’s episode of Screen Talk, Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson make the case. They also devote much of the episode to two other key areas of awards season — documentary and international — both of which have intensified in recent weeks.

Watch the full episode above or listen to it below. 

Screen Talk is produced by Azwan Badruzaman and available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify, and hosted by Megaphone. Browse previous installments here, subscribe here, and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the hosts address specific issues in upcoming editions of Screen Talk. 

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