They say it's like waiting for a bus: you wait years for an Oscar, and then two come along at once.
They don't actually say that, but by the end of the 2017 Oscars, a ceremony which could in theory see Amy Adams nominated twice and taking home the coveted golden statuette, they just might. Adams is having one hell of a year, with two movies set for release in November — Arrival and Nocturnal Animals — both receiving rave reviews out of the prestigious Venice and Toronto film fest this month.
The question is not whether the five-time nominee will be recognized, but which movie will actually nab her the nomination, and in which category. Let's break down each movie's chances, and talk about why 2017 could, and should, be the year Adams finally cements herself as one of her generation's greatest talents.
Arrival is a strange beast: A sci-fi movie with a reasonable budget ($50m) that plays more like an indie movie in terms of its themes, creativity and message. Whereas The Martian received a Best Picture nomination at this year's ceremony, Arrival doesn't feel like a guaranteed box office hit. If it doesn't connect with audiences, the Academy will probably snub it in all categories other than acting.
But, it will be difficult for the Oscars to overlook Adams's delicate and introverted performance as Dr. Louise Banks, a linguistics professor dealing with a personal tragedy who is recruited to discover a way of communicating with a race of aliens hovering above Earth's surface in 12 pod-like spacecrafts.
Who or what stands in Adams' way?
If she's nominated for Arrival, it will be in the Best Actress category, but there will be stiff competition from Emma Stone in the musical-romance La La Land. Other rivals include Natalie Portman in Jackie (the Oscars love a good biopic of a real-life woman who wore vintage designer clothing) and Meryl Streep for Florence Foster Jenkins. Streep will be nominated purely because she's Meryl Streep.
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- The Best Of Venice Film Fest 2016: 'Arrival' to 'Nocturnal Animals'
Overall, although Adams has a definite shot at being nominated for Best Actress at a push, it would be a minor miracle if she won — even though it's so overdue. Which brings us to...
In Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals, Adams's character (an LA art gallery owner) receives the manuscript of a novel from an ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal) whose heart she broke twenty years earlier. Reading the violent novel, she imagines the lead character, a man pushed to the brink of insanity by the kidnap of his wife and daughter, as her ex-husband, effectively giving Gyllenhaal a double role.
There's every reason to think the Academy will show Nocturnal Animals some love: For one thing, it's directed by Tom Ford, a man who is first and foremost a fashion designer but has obvious, effortless ability to switch careers like an absurdly well-attired chameleon. If these stylistic credentials aren't enough, Ford's debut movie, A Single Man, received a Best Actor nomination as an irrefutable stamp of quality. Along with a prime directorial pedigree, Nocturnal Animals is also dripping in dark sex appeal, and the movie-within-a-movie structure differentiates it from everything else vying for attention this Oscars season.
Who or what stands in Adams' way?
The biggest roadblock to a Best Actress nomination for Nocturnal Animals (which feels like the more Oscars-friendly of the two movies) is probably the fact that Adams is the lead role in half of the movie (the real-life half) but doesn't appear in the fictional crime noir part, in which Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon take the lead. Therefore, you could argue the role is technically closer to Supporting Actress, and that might be the category Focus Features decide to pigeonhole Adams in.
The competition? Naomie Harris in Moonlight, Michelle Williams in Manchester By The Sea, and Kristen Stewart (seriously) in Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Work. In general though, Best Supporting Actress looks pretty open right now, and there's no reason Adams couldn't emerge as frontrunner, especially if Animals performs well.
The fact that this is Amy Adams's time, much like Leonardo DiCaprio at this year's ceremony, should guarantee the redhead is right in the thick of it come next February.
The last time an actor was nominated in two categories was Cate Blanchett in 2007, and history seems unlikely to repeat itself. Right now, I'd hedge my bets on a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Nocturnal Animals. Whether you think that's the better movie or just the flashier one, it's a sexy role guaranteed to grab The Academy's attentions.
We'll know by January whether or not Adams has a sixth shot at taking home that statuette. Arrival hits theaters November 11, Nocturnal Animals follows on November 18, and if you work your way through the movies Adams was previously nominated for once a week thereafter, it'll be Christmas before you know it.
Which Amy Adams-fest are you more excited to see?