Now that we’ve gotten Roger Deakins his Oscar (two, in fact), the consensus seems to be that it’s time the Academy righted some other wrongs, most notably in the acting categories. There are six actors in the history of the Academy Awards who have been nominated 6 or more times and never won. Four of them, Peter O’Toole (8), Richard Burton (7), Thelma Ritter (6) and Deborah Kerr (6) have passed away, which means the two living actors with the most nominations without a win are Amy Adams (6) and Glenn Close (7). Ironically, the last time both actresses were nominated and lost (again) was just two years ago, when Adams lost the Best Supporting Actress race to Regina King and Close lost to Olivia Colman in a massive upset. Close was considered the far-and-away favorite for her performance in The Wife, but Colman, who’s performance in The Favourite seemed to win over the Academy, put Close in the loser’s seat again.
Well, it didn’t take long for Close and Adams to get back on the horse, so to speak, and the even more ironic (or at least fun to talk about) part is the new Ron Howard film Hillbilly Elegy features both actresses together, in performances that look to not only get them back on the horse, but fully in the race…again.
Based on the best-selling memoir by Marine-turned-Yale Law student J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of an Appalachian family dealing with addiction, as Vance’s mother Bev (Adams) struggles with opioids, and his grandmother Mamaw (Close), is the resilient rock of the family who is trying to keep everyone together.
Adapted by Vanessa Taylor and directed by Academy Award-winner Ron Howard and also starring Gabriel Basso, Haley Bennett and Freida Pinto, Hillbilly Elegy looks to be a moving and emotional story about three generations and their unique struggles. From the looks of the trailer, both Adams and Close are in top form in the types of performances the Academy usually rewards. Could this be the one movie that finally breaks through for both actresses? We shall watch with bated breath.
Hillbilly Elegy opens in select theaters in November and premieres on Netflix November 24.
I can’t think of a better time to release a movie that vaguely gestures at possible systemic reasons for economic disenfranchisement before coming to the inspirational and heartwarming conclusion that it all comes down to individual choices and we just need to take personal responsibility for our lot in life, based on a book written by wealthy venture capitalist who clerked for Justice Brett “I Like Beer!” Kavanaugh.
If it helps, Ron Howard likely will dilute it all into inoffensive mush…