Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Trailer for "Two Days, One Night" Shows Cotillard in Top Form

Left to right: Fabrizio Rongione and Marion Cotillard
During this past Cannes Film Festival, one of the films that received a lot of acclaim, including a nomination for the Palme d'Or was director Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's Two Days, One Night. With critical acclaim, it quickly received recognition for its impressive commentary and a performance by Marion Cotillard as Sandra in a tight position that may cost her her job. With the first trailer released, it is time to consider if Cotillard has what it takes to make it back into the Oscar race and if the film stands any chance at going from Cannes to the Academy Awards in any logical way.

While there have been many great French actresses, there have been few that have the perplexing qualities of Marion Cotillard when translating to English films. Her win for Best Actress in La Vie En Rose is more than deserved as she embodies the role of Edith Piaf with such vivacity. Even her blockbusters with Inception and Public Enemies finds a deeper charm. It wouldn't be too rude to consider however that with English being her second language that her native tongue of French has produced far better roles. Her work in Rust and Bone was phenomenal and overlooked in 2012's race. Still, she packs a vulnerability that makes her seem charismatic and compelling when given great source material. While I have yet to see The Immigrant, the great buzz has me believe that this will be a big year for Cotillard, and with this Palme d'Or nominee, she may be back in the Oscar race.

It would be interesting, considering that the Academy has had a shaky relationship with foreign films in categories other than Best Foreign Film. While Amour managed to show up strong with multiple nominations in 2012, this past year's selection was less impressive with all of the nominees in acting, directing, and writing all came from English-speaking sources. This isn't a problem, provided that the material is great. However, the choice to ignore the "Best" Picture's recognition of all styles and genres has been egregious, especially since last year saw all Best Picture nominees released post-October. While it was an excellent list, it was kind of embarrassing and makes a call for change. Will it come? Hopefully, but not likely.

Because of my interest in Cotillard, I have been curious to see how this film would perform. Along with great reviews, the premise alone seems interesting. Here is the trailer:

Looks pretty good. Here's the plot description according to IMDb:
"The film follows Sandra, a young woman assisted by her husband, who has only one weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses so that she can keep her job."
Sounds pretty simple. Hopefully Cotillard will deliver with surprising impact the value of the subject matter. Even if the film is specifically French, the economic struggles do resonate with American audiences. While I doubt that the film will have any major box office success, it does at least stand a chance of being one of the best films of the year. It all lies on her shoulders, which looks to already be successfully in play here. I don't see the film getting any other major nominations, save for Best Original Screenplay, but that is from plot synopsis more than personal draw from the film.

When all is said and done, I do want to see this film succeed provided that it is as good as the Cannes Film Festival critics have stated it to be. Since it competed against Foxcatcher, it has the issue of being able to stand out against a film that almost seems tailored for this type of awards ceremony. It is too early to determine if the Academy will have one of those years with a vast variety, or if we're stuck with another English-speaking batch of films. Otherwise, I want to hopefully at least raise the profile of the film and get people to check it out. I guess that I also need to check out The Immigrant and comment on that. Anyways, I have a lot to catch up on.

Is Marion Cotillard primed for another Best Actress nomination? Will the Academy recognize foreign films in major categories this year? What will be the film's biggest competition to a nomination?

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