It’s that time of the year, folks. When predictions as to who will be victorious at the forthcoming Academy Awards becomes a prevalent talking point; when every single good performance is scrutinised in accordance with other accomplished turns, as we pit actor against actor, director against director and film against film – desperately wondering who will win what?
Well, in case you couldn’t already tell, we’re putting forward a case for the affable romantic drama Brooklyn. For this John Crowley picture manages to be sentimental in a way that Hollywood often responds too, without ever feeling contrived nor overstated in its approach. Taking a familiar narrative to which so many of us experience in real life, it’s a tale about moving home, and moving on.
Saoirse Ronan plays the lead role of Ellis Lacey, who makes the move over to New York City, leaving behind her family in Ireland. Eventually she falls in love with Tony (Emory Cohen), but upon returning home, she meets Jim (Domhnall Gleeson) and finds herself in a predicament: having to choose between two nations, and two men. Managing to be so subtly comical, Crowley thrives in objectivity, never taking a side, as you can completely see the argument for either side. It’s an absorbing tale executed deftly and triumphantly, revelling in the drama, romance and comedy, all of which are remarkably well balanced.
So what could it win? Realistically, a fair amount. There’s an enchantment to this period piece that has shades of the likes of The King’s Speech and The Theory of Everything – except here lies a more nuanced, mesmerising tale, which bodes really rather well. So a Best Picture nod could be on the cards. Whether it wins the top prize remains to be seen though, as there are many of the leading contenders not yet screened over on these shores, but it will take a special piece of cinema to better this outing.
Naturally, Best Directing is another possibility. While only Brie Larson (Room) and Cate Blanchett (Carol) currently stand in Ronan’s way of glory, but the sheer subtlety to her performance makes her a more than deserving nominee. Julie Walters, on the other hand, should be a shoe-in, with an indelible turn as Mrs. Kehoe. There are also big shouts for Cinematography and Costume Design – while Nick Hornby should be commended for his wondrous script, hoping to get his hands on the award for Adapted Screenplay, having taken Colm Toibin’s popular novel and bringing it to life in emphatic fashion.
How many of the aforementioned categories this beautiful piece of Irish cinema will triumph in remains an impossible guessing game, but let’s just say that there are a lot of small statues of naked gold men out there – and in our very humble opinion, Brooklyn would be a more than worthy recipient of a fair few of them.