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If they lose this year... there's always next!

by Nathaniel R

Saoirse Ronan as Mary Stuart in "Mary Queen of Scots"

Remember when Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett were locked in battle for Best Actress 1998 with Shakespeare in Love and Elizabeth? Before that famous Oscar battle was even over Gwynnie & Cate were co-stars on the set of their follow-up The Talented Mr Ripley (1999) one of those rare Oscar intendees that actually won far more fans AFTER its underperformance at the Oscars. (Usually when intended Oscar giants underperform in awards season it's because people they aren't very good and/or people just don't like them.)

19 years later we have a vaguely similar situation happening...

Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan are the expected frontrunners for Best Actress 2017 (for I, Tonya and Lady Bird respectively). But they've already filmed their next picture and they're co-starring this time; Mary Queen of Scots is due in theaters in November next year. Focus Features is behind the film and we'll be curious to see how it plays with Oscar since traditional costume dramas/biographies aren't quite the automatic Oscar players they used to be. That said "royalty porn" as we like to call it never quite goes out of style with awards voters of all kinds. See The Crown on Netflix or the arthouse popularity of Judi Dench in Victoria & Abdul (which Lady Bird will soon catch up to at the box office but still... it definitely overperformed given the lack of media attention)

The story of Mary Stuart (a threat to her first cousin once removed Queen Elizabeth's claim to the throne) has been filmed multiple times. Here's how other English language versions fared with Oscar...

Mary of Scotland (1936) Katherine Hepburn as Mary, Florence Eldridge as Elizabeth
(No Oscar nominations)
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) Samantha Morton as Mary, Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth
(2 Oscar nominations: Actress and Costume Design, the latter won)
Mary Queen of Scots (1971) Vanessa Redgrave as Mary, Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth
(5 Oscar nominations: Actress, Art Direction, Costume Design, Sound, Original Score)

There's also a famous old play Mary Stuart by Friedrick Schiller which was most recently revived in 2009 starring Janet McTeer which landed several Tony nominations. Strangely that play has never been adapted to the big screen though it has been done as a TV movie.  

Do you think Margot & Saoirse will compete again next year or will this sink like The Other Boleyn Girl? Not every royal actressy drama excites audiences. 

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Reader Comments (18)

Robbie and Ronan are the front runners? Oh my sides.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJessica Chastain

Hmmm. I think you spelled "Frances McDormand" and "Meryl Streep" wrong. ;)

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVia

Anyone remember Mary Stuart being in development as a Close/Streep vehicle sometime about 2000.

Blanchett is sublime in TTMR but Paltrow really is fantastic in it,It's criminal nowadays she is better known for her crying in a pink gown,Goop and Pepper Potts when she is in the right project she can be just as good as Winslet etc.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterUKmg

Team Ronan.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I honestly don't think there is an Oscar front runner right now.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

It will all depend on whether the film is at least passable. However, there's always the possibility that Ronan will campaign for Chesil Beach. I'm inclined to think that is what she will do. Chesil is in the same vein as Brooklyn, which was lauded all around and nearly got her an Oscar.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

It will all depend on whether the film is at least passable. However, there's always the possibility that Ronan will campaign for Chesil Beach. I'm inclined to think that is what she will do. Chesil is in the same vein as Brooklyn, which was lauded all around and nearly got her an Oscar.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

I truly hope that this will succeed, and I'm also excited for another royal actressy drama next year- Yorgos Lanthimos' The Favourite, with Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAditya

Via - haha.

Tom Ford -- yeah, the more i think on it i'm not sure there is. Or at least if there is it changes weekly. people were so convinced that Sally was going to win. Then Frances. Then Margot. Then Saoirse. And inbetwen all of those Streep occasionally. I assume it will change again in two weeks.

December 8, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

schiller's mary stuart is one of the great works of western drama and it is insane that no one has attempted it on film! the two lead roles are phenomenal; TFE and its commenters could go one for days and days casting that one...

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCharles O

I did read somewhere that in the late 90s Glenn Close and Meryl Street were producing and starring in the adaptation of the Schiller play. Glenn as The Virgin Queen and Meryl as the redhead. But financing fell apart and then Street backed out. Isabelle Huppert was brought in to replace street but the movie never got of the ground despite having a director.
What it could've been.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMustafa

The other Boleyn girl was laughably bad.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Perfect casting. I can't wait... I just re-screened Elizabeth and was lamenting the fact that feminist costume dramas had gone out of style for the last 20 years. Hopefully they're back?

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDavid S.


You MEAN they could be NOMINATED, right?!

Because heaven hell and earth knowd that GLENN CLOSE WILL WIN THE LEADING ACTRESS OSCAR NEXT YEAR!

Said that, Lanthimos next picture is not a similar british royal batlle but with Stone and Weids? To many royalty to see. Not everyone will see the gold bald, if Close then see.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Saoirse Ronan haa THREE oscar potential films coming out in 2018!! On Chesil Beach, The Seagull, & Mary, Queen of Scots.

Trivia: there is a strong affinity between her n the great V Redgrave! They played the same role o Briony in Atonement, Nina in Seagull, & Mary in Mary, Queen of Scots.

IMO, as at now, the race is between Meryl n Saoirse, w Hawkins coming back at 3rd place.. Three Billboards is currently suffering a huge backlash n McDormand's super vocal, agressive, pissed off mom is not actually winning her any feelgood votes.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

Saoirse Ronan is one of the great talents of this generation. I think she will easily become an Oscar mainstay, and with Mary Queen of Scots, On Chesil Beach (which she got terrific reviews out of Toronto this year), and The Seagull all coming out next year, she's likely to be nominated again. I think she's a true chameleon, unlike her contemporaries Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence who while good, never fully lose themselves in the roles unlike Ronan.

December 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

I have nothing against Margot Robbie and i didn't see I, Tonya yet but the trailer and the horrible close-up shot i seen make me think she'll be nominated just for being young and beautiful..... Still I can't wait for I, Tonya because i'm a strong Janney supporter.

Anyway, is it just me or Samantha Morton was cruelly overlooked for her very strong and memorable performance as the Queen of Scots ? I remember her scenes to be the very highlight of this very flawed movie (just like they are in any of her movies... I mean wasn't she perfectly terrifying in Fantastic Beasts?)

And one last thing : no matter how the Ronan/Robbie flick performs in 2018 ... GLENN CLOSE SHALL REIGN ON THAT OSCAR SEASON !!!

December 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterClement_Paris

Honestly, Ronan has to win this year or next because I fear she will become the next Amy Adams...Always a bridesmaid and never a bride, but eventually years down the line pulls a Winslet and finally wins for an underwhelming performance.

December 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMK

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