Saoirse Ronan in ‘Lady Bird’: Greta Gerwig’s Telluride hit takes Toronto on way to Oscars

Another week, another film festival and another strong showing for Saoirse Ronan in “Lady Bird,” a character study by first-time solo director Greta Gerwig. After premiering on Sept. 1 to rave reviews at Telluride, this A24 release was the talk of the Toronto film festival on Sept. 8. Ronan, who lost her Oscar bids for “Atonement” (2007) and “Brooklyn” (2015), plays the title character:  Christine “Lady Bird” Macpherson, a teenager looking to spread her wings.

Racking up even more rave reviews for her performance, Ronan is likely to contend in Best Actress. And she could well win, much like Jennifer Lawrence did for “Silver Linings Playbook” five years ago. Like Ronan, Lawrence was an ingenue who had already contended at the Oscars, losing her 201 Best Actress bid for “Winter’s Bone” to Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”). And her winning role was much like that of Ronan’s in “Lady Bird,” a defiant young woman who stands up for herself.

Laurie Metcalf, who steals scenes as Christine’s mother Marion, is being tipped for her first Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination. This three-time Emmy champ for “Roseanne” (1992-1994), is in her prime, awards wise. Last year, she reaped three Emmy nominations for different roles and this year she won a Tony Award for her turn in the comedy “A Doll’s House, Part 2.”

Gerwig also wrote this intimate look at the life of someone like she once was: a Sacramento Catholic schoolgirl. Her cast includes other awards-friendly names like Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges (“Manchester by the Sea”), Tony winner Tracy Letts (“Homeland,” “Divorce”), Tony nominee Stephen Henderson (“Fences”) and newcomer Timothee Chalamet (“Call Me By Your Name”).

After working in indie films for the better part of a decade, including co-directing and co-starring in the 2008 romantic drama “Nights and Weekends,” Gerwig’s big break came in 2012 with the title role in “Frances Ha,” a film that she co-wrote with director Noah Baumbach.

A24 is positioning “Lady Bird” as a key awards player, with its release nationwide beginning on Nov. 10. Expect this film to do well with the dueling indie prizes of the Gotham and Spirit Awards. Gerwig contended at both for her performance in 2010’s “Greenberg.

Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives and top name stars can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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