Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City”: Oscar? – IndieWire

Parisian writer Wes Anderson shot his sci-fi comedy “Asteroid City” in Spain during the pandemic of 2021, but he embraced the American setting of 1955. The well-reviewed film features Anderson’s usual diverse ensemble — Scarlett Johansson, Jason Schwartzman, Bryan Cranston, Tom Hanks, Steve Carell, Margot Robbie, Tilda Swinton, Ed Norton, Adrien Brody and more — but the actors won’t be showing up. With Oscar nominations. No one gets enough individual screen time.

Like Anderson’s much-praised “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (2014, Metascore: 88), “Asteroid City” is likely to clean up the craft, and likely, like “Moonrise Kingdom” (2012, Metascore: 84), will also get a nod. to the Original script.

“Asteroid City,” written by Anderson and longtime screenwriting partner Roman Coppola, stars Schwartzman as Augie Steenbeck’s typewriter and typewriter. He takes his nerdy scientist son Woodrow (“Eighth Grade” standout Jake Ryan) and his three daughters (Ella, Gracie and Willan Faris) to a Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention in the New Mexico desert. on the horizon. With her children’s disapproving grandfather (Tom Hanks) by her side, the distraught widow finally tells her children that their mother died three weeks ago.


Elle Fanning is "Jeanne du Barry" Cannes premiere

Meanwhile, the grieving father cheers himself up by flirting with the glamorous Hollywood starlet (Johansson) in the cabin next door. Soon the group encounters disturbing strangers. And that doesn’t begin to explore the frame-by-frame twists and turns of this exciting, visually delightful narrative maelstrom. With “Asteroid City” Anderson delivers his most accessible and enjoyable comedy since “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Grand Budapest Hotel”.

But today, this is not enough to make a film an Oscar candidate. It needs to hit the box office, and that result, to be generous, is a challenge. With its name, “Asteroid City” and its star cast, it serves as a litmus test not only for Oscar glory, but also for whether the older special film audience will continue to show up in theaters.

Small Planet City
“Asteroid City”Focus functions

“During the dialogue between the specialty market and the public, we were all blown away by the performance of ‘Asteroid City,'” said Howard Cohen, co-president of Roadside Attractions. “This is the blue-chip film for this audience. If that’s why they come back, will they start coming back? So far, they haven’t come back consistently, partly because there haven’t been as many films made for them.”

While some films don’t need box office buys to be Oscar contenders (“TAR,” “Triangle of Sadness,” “The Fabelmans”), June openings like “Asteroid City” deserve a lot of attention. “This big comedy with a massive ensemble has to be a commercial hit to feel hugely relevant months from now,” said a veteran awards campaigner.

And do the actors campaign? “Everything they do helps other categories.”

Most recently, Searchlight premiered the anthology film “The French Dispatch” at Cannes 2021 (a year later than planned due to the pandemic), starring Timothée Chalamet, Frances McDormand, Benicio del Toro, Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton. Despite positive reviews (Metascore: 74; “Asteroid City” sits at 73), the film underperformed at the October domestic box office ($16 million), fared better overseas ($29 million) and received zero Oscar nominations.

That was a far cry from the stellar Oscar performance of “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (Metascore: 88), which Searchlight opened in March 2014. The award ceremony lasted for a season, earning 59 million dollars domestically and 104 million dollars abroad. The total was boosted by nine Oscar nominations, including director, original screenplay and picture, and four craft wins (costume design, score, production design, make-up and hair).

Photo: John Rasimus/STAR MAX/IPx 07/21/13  Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson at Cannes 2021 for Searchlight’s ‘The French Dispatch’John Rasimus/STAR MAX/IPx

Two years earlier, Focus launched the American summer camp comedy “Moonrise Kingdom” (Metascore: 84) at Cannes, followed by a North American release in May that brought in $45 million plus $23 million overseas and an Oscar nomination. received for Anderson and Coppola’s original screenplay.

Where “Asteroid City” will fall on this spectrum, only the art audience knows for sure.

Focus Features release “Asteroid City” hits select theaters on Friday, June 16th, with the expansion to follow on Friday, June 23rd.

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