One of the oldest award-season prejudices is to deny consideration to any film that feels the least bit romcommy — anything that feels a little too fast or frothy or up-moody. And especially a performance in a film that dances to this kind of tune. This thinking might well be intensified, I’m thinking, in the case of an “emotional comedy” that isn’t exactly romcommy as much as a hybrid of romcom + earnest emotionalism + relationship anguish + grappling with a debilitating disease.
But throw it all together and you have the mule-like refusal of some award-season handicappers to even consider the idea that Anne Hathaway‘s performance in Love and Other Drugs might be Oscar-worthy, even as a speculative who-knows? type deal, which is what at least half of the flotations out there are composed of. This is presumably due to the belief that to qualify for an acting award you have to solemnly suffer and pour your heart out in a somewhat doleful and non-pizazzy way (like Annette Bening does, for example, in The Kids Are All Right).
Also working against Hathaway thus far has been the fear-of-Ed Zwick factor, but that, as noted in my recent review, is not a concern this time around.
I’ve been passing along ecstatic reader reviews of Love and Other Drugs for several months now and some of the awards handicappers won’t bite. A few days ago I saw Love and Other Drugs and earnestly praised Hathaway’s performance, but apart from Gurus of Gold voters Pete Hammond and Suzie Woz and two or three others, awards handicappers aren’t biting.
Two exceptions are Scott Feinberg and In Contention‘s Kris Tapley. Both have short-listed Hathaway — fine.
But to my knowledge Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson, TheWrap‘s Steve Pond, Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone and The Envelope‘s Tom O’Neil haven’t touched notions of Hathaway with a ten-foot pole. And what about USA Today‘s Anthony Breznican? You’ve gotta watch that guy, Breznican. Because he’ll pull a fast one if you’re not careful.
And don’t give me that “oh, we haven’t seen the film yet” stuff. Who really knows if Christian Bale‘s performance in The Fighter has the chops to compete in the Best Supporting Actor race, but that hasn’t stopped certain handicappers from saying “Bale looks like a comer!”