Clear favourite to win big
Olivia Colman’s stunning performance one of many jewels in royal drama
IT is the fag end of the year for most industries, but in the movie business spring is about to be sprung. The awards season proper begins on January 7 with the Golden Globes, followed by Bafta nominations on January 9 and Oscar shortlists on January 22.
From then until the lights dim on the Academy Awards ceremony at the end of February it is going to be busy, busy, busy, with Yorgos Lanthimos’s aptly named period drama figuring largely in the fuss. Boasting not one, not two, but three terrific performances from women, a deliciously witty screenplay and a director so hot you could fry an egg on his CV, The Favourite looks set to be just that with awards juries.
Whether it will find wider acclaim is another matter. It has taken 20 years for The Favourite to get from script to screen. The very factors that make it stand out – the women leads, the obscure setting during the reign of Queen Anne, its director’s daring – could count against it in an age that too often plumps for the safe choice.
Here is hoping the reigning queen of British drama, Olivia Colman, has name power enough to draw audiences in. The star of Broadchurch, who is set to play Queen Elizabeth in the new series of The Crown, here takes the Queen Anne part.
Oscar-winning Emma Stone (La La Land, Birdman) will be a similar draw to Colman among Americans of a certain age. Her performance as a former lady reduced to servant status is sure to put her toe to toe with Rachel Weisz, playing Anne’s confidante, in many a best supporting actress tussle.
As Lanthimos begins his tale the 18th century is in its infancy. England is fighting the French, and MPs are bickering with each other. Pummelled by ill health in general and a martyr to gout, the Queen finds affairs of state draining and is content to be guided by her friend Lady Sarah (Weisz), the wife of Lord Marlborough. Two women joining forces against ranks of men, their relationship extends far beyond politics.
As the clear favourite of the Queen, Lady Sarah guards her position fiercely.