We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.
Even with acclaimed films like All the President’s Men and Spotlight, there aren’t a lot of movies that dig into major scandals uncovered by investigative journalists. She Said follows two journalists for the New York Times looking into the reports of sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein, an explosive bit of reporting that brought down a Hollywood titan and helped launch the #MeToo movement into the stratosphere. Directed by acclaimed German filmmaker Maria Schrader, whose 2021 film I’m Your Man helped launch her Hollywood career, the film co-stars Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan as reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Jennifer Ehle, and Samantha Morton co-star with actress Ashley Judd playing herself, one of Weinstein’s victims.
The film has already done well with critics who’ve seen it nabbing an 88% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes and a solid 73 score from MetaCritic. Although the film didn’t do that well at the box office, the A rating from Cinema Score suggests the film could have legs if word-of-mouth excitement spreads. Where does that leave the film with Oscar. Let’s just say that the aforementioned films, All the President’s Men and Spotlight did quite well at the Oscars. All the President’s Men looks at Woodward and Bernstein as they work to uncover the details of the break-in at the Watergate hotel, which would ultimately lead to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon. It earned 8 Oscar nominations, including Picture and Directing and for two of its supporting actors, and won four prizes for Supporting Actor Jason Robards, Adapted Screenplay, Production Design, and Sound. Spotlight, which examined the struggles faced by reporters at the Boston Globe as they uncovered serial child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, picked up six Oscar nominations, also for Picture and Directing, and took home the awards for Best Picture and Original Screenplay.
Another recent example, The Post, is about the first female newspaper publisher as she fights against a hostile government in an effort to release the Pentagon Papers, one of the events that fractured trust in the U.S. government as the scope of the debacle in Vietnam was revealed. That film only managed two Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Actress (Meryl Streep). It didn’t win.
The immediacy of the incidents with Harvey Weinstein may ultimately help the film with the Academy as they are still reeling from the effects of Weinstein’s debauchery, the trials that are still ongoing, and the salience of the #MeToo movement. With the crossover support of critics and audiences, I can see the film nabbing a Best Picture nomination as well as one for screenwriting. While most of the plaudits for the film have been given to Ehle and other members of the supporting cast, it’s likely their roles are too small to get cited, leaving Kazan, Mulligan, and Clarkson as the strongest contenders. That said, a lot will depend on who gets bumped to lead. If both Mulligan and Kazan compete for lead, they will not just cancel one another out, but in such a strong category this year, either one would struggle to get into the category. If either is pushed to support, more likely Mulligan, then she could secure a nomination. The film won’t likely win any of its nominations, but a slate of 3 to 5 nominations wouldn’t be unexpected.