It’s one of those ideas that’s crazy enough to work: a biopic about one of the worst movies of all-time, directed by and starring James Franco. Well, it worked. The Disaster Artist, which depicts the personal and professional relationship between Greg Sestero (who wrote the book the film is based on) and mysterious weirdo Tommy Wiseau while they filmed the “so terrible it’s great” cult classic The Room, is getting serious Oscar buzz.
A24 (the home of Moonlight, Green Room, Room, and many of your other favorite movies) will release The Disaster Artist this December, which, as The Hollywood Reporter notes, is “in the middle of awards season. It will start with a limited engagement December 1 before going wide a week later.” That’s Hollywood speak for “we expect to hear this film’s name on March 4, 2018.”
The Disaster Artist may not seem like typical Oscar fare — it’s a comedy about an infamous movie starring the dudes from Pineapple Express — but it’s not too absurd to imagine Franco being nominated for Best Actor, and maybe even winning. The Academy loves movies about the entertainment industry (think: La La Land, Birdman, The Artist); Franco was nominated once before for 127 Hours; and the buzz is already there, after a late-night premiere at South by Southwest that received a standing ovation.
I was at that screening, somewhat, I’ll admit, begrudgingly. I’m not a big The Room guy, but The Disaster Artist won me over. Is it a great film? No, but Franco gives a great performance. As I wrote at the time, “He turns Wiseau into a sympathetic, misunderstood loner, instead of some nutcase who doesn’t know how to throw a football. (OK, he’s also that.) Franco embodies Wiseau as much as Jim Carrey did Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon.”
The last time the Academy acknowledged a movie about a bad movie, Tim Burton’s masterpiece Ed Wood, Martin Landau won Best Supporting Actor. Johnny Depp was unfortunately snubbed for Best Actor (that’s not a sentence I thought I’d write again after Mortdecai), so there is a precedent for what A24 is hoping to accomplish by scheduling The Disaster Artist in December.
Tommy Wiseau once said, “We submitted The Room to the Academy Awards. We didn’t get anything, but we filled in the application and submitted it… I’m proud we did that.” Maybe Franco-as-Wiseau will have better luck.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)
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