Whether you're Matt Damon, Joaquin Phoenix or another seasoned award winner vying for success next year, don't expect to be called by your name during the Oscar Award ceremony in 2018. It's a harsh truth, but anyone who's seen the queer masterpiece Call Me By Your Name knows that voters will already be split straight down the middle between #ArmieHammer and Timothée Chalamet, the two leads who breathed life into Luca Guadagnino's sumptuous coming of age story.
Adapted from Andre Aciman’s acclaimed novel, Call Me By Your Name explores a summer romance between 24-year-old Oliver and 17-year-old Elio on the Italian Riviera in 1983, played by Hammer and Chalamet respectively. While neither actor has ever been nominated for an Oscar before, both stars deliver career-defining performances here that immediately elevate Call Me By Your Name to iconic status, ensuring that the pair will be recognized for their work on 4 March, 2018 — So kick back, grab a glass of Barolo wine and join us as we break down their chances at Oscar glory in 2018.
First Up, It's Hammer Time
Rumors that Hammer could play a superhero such as Shazam or Green Lantern should come as no surprise given the actor's physical stature, but that's not the only thing that impresses audiences about Armie in Call Me By Your Name.
Like Chalamet's character, audiences can't help but be entranced by Hammer's Adonis-like frame. His physique looks like it could be hewn from marble, much like the Greek statues that Elio's father pulls out from the ocean. It's no wonder that the archaeologist's son unearths his own desires upon meeting Oliver, excavating his feelings with initial trepidation before finally embracing them with the unbridled passion of teenage lust.
However, if Hammer's Oliver was simply a seductive Ken doll in human form, then Guadagnino's story would lose much of its impact, dissipating like the haze of a summer's day. Fortunately, the heat of Oliver's relationship with Elio smoulders thanks to the endearing vulnerability which lies under Oliver's initial bravado and almost overbearing confidence.
Oliver's unforgettable dance moves at a local nightclub kickstart an unusual courtship that's more involved and intricate than the most erotic of mating rituals. There's something almost animalistic in the way that Hammer's character shows off his body, seducing Elio through seemingly innocuous interactions that inevitably lead to something more; something unspoken, yet charged with passion.
A lesser actor would have been reduced to nothing more than a collection of finely chiseled body parts in a role like this. However, if you look past the short shorts and seductive peach-devouring, you'll see how Hammer uses his physicality in surprisingly insightful ways, tentatively making moves towards Elio with a curiosity that slowly gives way to longing. Without words, Hammer perfectly conveys Oliver's hesitancy with an understated poise. Call Me By Your Name reminds us exactly why his breakout performance in The Social Network caused such a stir in the first place.
We're Head Over Heelio For Elio
Hammer may be the sun-tinged focus of our gaze in Call Me By Your Name, but his Oscar-worthy portrayal would mean nothing without fervent work from breakout star Timothée Chalamet. His previous roles in the likes of Homeland and Interstellar won't prepare you for the cerebral performance that Chalamet gives here.
Much like the film itself, Chalamet combines a highbrow sensibility with carnal urges. In the character of Elio, Timothée celebrates both intellectual and physical concerns while evoking a young Louis Garrel or Xavier Dolan in the process. Sure, Elio has already mastered three languages and impresses with his musical acuity. However, his self-assured exterior belies the confusion that Oliver's tanned body awakens within him during this long, hot summer.
While Oliver's journey is all about relinquishing fears for the future by living in the moment, Elio's is one of personal growth as he learns how to differentiate lust from love, falling head over heels for this new arrival in a way that only teenagers can.
Just like Hammer, director Luca Guadagnino teases fragility out of Chalamet's performance. Under Elio's home school intellect and teenage cockiness lies the heart of a young boy whose world comes crashing down when the summer comes to an end.
Above all else though, it's the final scenes of Call Me By Your Name which ensure that Chalamet will be taken seriously by the Academy. In one excruciatingly long take, Timothée runs the entire gamut of human emotions, moving through hurt and grief to a reluctant acceptance that is somehow harder to sit through than his pain. Guadagnino challenges both the audience and his young lead in this moment, forcing us to confront the uncomfortable reality of heartbreak with an unflinching yet universal honesty that resonates regardless of your sexual identification.
As Elio's father Mr Perlman says in the film's most touching monologue:
"To make yourself feel nothing? What a waste. Right now there's sorrow, pain. Don't kill it."
Call Me By Your Name And I'll Call You By Mine
Love is woozy. Love is awkward. Love is visceral. Love is all of these things and more, something which Hammer and Chalamet somehow encapsulate together in just 130 minutes, recreating the overwhelming and intoxicating lust of summer romance on the big screen.
Guadagnino discussed the casting process with The Hollywood Reporter, explaining why he chose Hammer and Chalamet to play his leads.
"I only cast the actors and actresses I fall in love with — truly having an emotion for them, an anticipation and enthusiasm when seeing them — and I believe that my emotional confidence in them blends into chemistry."
Just like Guadagnino, Academy voters will undoubtedly fall in love with both Hammer and Chalamet next year. They are inextricably bound together in every scene they share, intertwining their stories into one seamless performance that makes it impossible to imagine one being nominated without the other. The problem, of course, is that only one performer can win the award for Best Actor at the #Oscars, despite them being deserving of an unprecedented tie. It's likely that the studio will nominate the pair strategically and put one forward in the category for Best Supporting Actor instead, earning them both a shot at winning. If that happens, then there's a chance that we could hear both Armie Hammer and #TimotheeChalamet called by their name at the Oscar Awards Ceremony in 2018, and deservedly so.
However, even if neither star earns the recognition that they deserve, the influence of #CallMeByYourName will still live on, like the love that Elio and Oliver continue to share years later, helping audiences worldwide navigate their own understanding of love and identity, no matter how painful that can be.
Who do you think should win the Oscar for Best Actor in 2018? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below and watch Call Me By Your Name when its hits theaters on November 24, 2017!
(Source: Hollywood Reporter)