Oscar Bait: Keira Knightley & Jude Law in ‘Anna Karenina’

The first time Keira Knightley worked with helmer Joe Wright, she landed a Best Actress bid for the costume drama “Pride and Prejudice” in 2005; she lost to Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line”). The second time was on the period piece “Atonement” which was a 2007 Best Picture nominee. Now comes news that they are reuniting for a remake of “Anna Karenina” which is set in 1870s Russia.

Four-time Tony winning playwright Tom Stoppard (“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” “Travesties,” “The Real Thing” and “The Coast of Utopia”) has adapted Leo Tolstoy‘s oft-filmed tragic tale of love. Sir Tom also won an Oscar for his “Shakespeare in Love” script in 1998.

Two-time Oscar nominee Jude Law (“The Talented Mr. Ripley,” “Cold Mountain”) and newcomer Aaron Johnson (“Nowhere Boy”) are to play Knightley’s husband and lover respectively. 

Although the title role offers an actress the chance to play a range of emotions, from coquette and temptress to cold-hearted and calculating, it has been cursed at various kudos. While Greta Garbo won the New York Film Critics Circle Best Actress award for her performance in the 1935 film adaptation, she was snubbed at the Oscars despite their being six nominees. Garbo had also starred in “Love” — a silent version in 1927 —  that gave American audiences a happy ending.

In 1948, Vivien Leigh was similarly shut out of the Academy Awards. The 1939 Best Actress champ for “Gone With the Wind” would have to wait till her next picture — “A Streetcar Named Desire” in 1951 — to pick up her matching bookend Oscar. And Jacqueline Bisset failed to find favor with Emmy voters for the 1985 telefilm.

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