Oscar Contender #1: 'Nine" shows a sneak
So, if the Cannes Film Festival is up and running again, that means the first awards season pretenders, er, contenders are starting to sneak their way out of the gate. At this early stage, however, it wasn't a film that premiered in France that has gotten everyone's attention, it's the simultaneous release of the teaser trailer for Rob Marshall's highly-anticipated big screen musical "Nine."
Marshall, whose cinematic debut "Chicago" won six Oscars (but not best director), is returning to the movie musical after tripping up with his second film, the straight melodrama "Memoirs of a Geisha."
Based on Federico Fellini's classic "8 1/2," "Nine" was first brought to the stage in 1982 where it won a Tony Award for Best Musical and made the too early departed Raul Julia a star. In 2003, a successful revival featured Antonio Banderas and, again, it scored Tony love with a Best Revival award. Now, Marshall and producer Harvey Weinstein have recruited an all-star cast including Daniel Day-Lewis in the lead role to bring the musical based on a movie back to theaters (shoot if "Hairspray" can do it...). And if this preview delivers anything it certainly showcases that star power.
And wanna talk about Oscar bait? Add Day-Lewis' two trophies with wins from co-stars Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz and Sophia Loren gives you a whopping seven best actor or actresses winners. The subject of whether this overload of Academy-winning talent will seem like pandering to the industry is best saved for another day, but the irony is that out of all those superstars it's Kate Hudson, a non-winning nominee for "Almost Famous," who makes the most striking impression.
Channeling some go-go karma genetically handed down years ago from her mother Goldie Hawn, Hudson shows a pizazz and charisma in only a snippet of her musical number hardly any of us have seen from her in years (maybe since "Famous"?). Now, whether she can sing is another question entirely, but it's the only interesting thing about this teaser.
(And on a side note, has anyone noticed that in whatever movie role she plays Fergie looks like utter and complete hell? Does she really need her music people to do her make up for every big screen role?)
Overall, "Nine" looks pretty and boy does it look pricey, but is there anything here no one expected? And are all the musical numbers really going to appear on that soundstage? Really? Didn't you do that trick in "Chicago" sir? Here's one prognosticator hoping those beautiful views of Italy have a little music in the air instead of just that dark, theatrical and oh so familiar stage.
But, again, it's just the first preview, so there may be way more depth to this flick than we can tell. More importantly in only six months -- November -- we'll know whether "Nine" makes the cut. Or not.
Haven't seen the trailer yet? Click here to check it out in HD Quicktime and judge for yourself.