Here's Murtada on the first major magazine cover of the 2015 Awards Season.
Our current best actor winner is ready for his second straight nomination. Eddie Redmayne is starting his Oscar campaign for Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl more than 3 months before the movie’s release. This week he covers OUT magazine’s fall preview issue with a lengthy interview that touches on everything from where he keeps his Oscar, to his privileged upbringing, to playing transgender artist Lili Elbe.
Perhaps what people are most curious about is how he handles the potential minefield of his casting as a transgender woman. Elbe, who had sexual reassignment surgery in 1930s, was one of the first known transgender people to transition and a movie about her life has been in the making for more than a decade.
Redmayne and his handlers are obviously trying to get ahead of any potential controversy. Hence the careful choice of the publication to which he gives his first interview about the film, and the inclusion in the article of advocates from the trans community like Paris Lees and Lana Wachowski. Lees is quoted and says about Redmayne's casting “Politically, it makes me groan. But if anybody’s going to do this justice, then I’m happy it’s Eddie. We had a good chat about everything”.
The interview is a good read and he handles some of the thornier issues with deft and careful thought. He comes through as humble while acknowledging his luck and privilege. He recognizes how divisive his portrayal of Elbe might become.
”People were so kind and generous with their experience, but also so open. Virtually all of the trans men and women I met would say ‘Ask me anything.’ They know that need for cisgender people to be educated. I felt like, I’m being given this extraordinary experience of being able to play this woman, but with that comes this responsibility of not only educating myself but hopefully using that to educate [an audience]. Gosh, it’s delicate. And complicated.”
As for the movie itself, the verdict will be out soon. It plays at both the Venice and Toronto film festivals in early September. Venice comes first and that will be our first indication whether or not that nomination is happening as we’ve seen many an Oscar campaign start at the Biennale.
In the last 10 years, 8 men and 3 women have won the Volpi Cup for English language performances, a big percentage. Of those performances David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck), Cate Blanchett (I’m Not There), Colin Firth (A Single Man), Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix (who won jointly for The Master) went on to land Oscar nominations. Michael Fassbender (Shame) came close but ultimately missed. However the only winner this decade at Venice who went on to win an Oscar is Helen Mirren (The Queen).
Are you looking forward to The Danish Girl? Do you think Redmayne is a good choice to play Elbe?