One of the breakout hits of this Oscar season is “Call Me By Your Name,” Luca Guadagnino‘s romantic drama about a teenage boy (Timothee Chalamet) in Italy who falls in love with a visiting American college student (Armie Hammer). The film received Golden Globe nominations for Best Film Drama, Best Film Drama Actor (Chalamet) and Best Film Supporting Actor (Hammer). It contends for all those prizes at the Critics Choice Awards, in addition to Best Supporting Actor (Michael Stuhlbarg), Best Director (Guadagnino), Best Adapted Screenplay (James Ivory), Best Cinematography, and Best Song. Gold Derby spoke recently with Chalamet, Stuhlbarg, Guadagnino, Ivory, and editor Walter Fasano about their work.
“It’s a pure celebration of love,” proclaims Chalamet. “Guys with guys; guys with girls; and guys with peaches. It’s simply in the name of celebrating joy and purely celebrating love without an ounce of cynicism. Finding all the joy in love but also treating it with the heartbreak that also often accompanies love.” In addition to his Globe and Critics Choice bids, Chalamet also competes at SAG and the Independent Spirit Awards for Best Actor.
Stuhlbarg plays Professor Perlman, an academic living and working with his family in Italy. “I thought he was quite brilliant,” he explains about his character, “and I didn’t know how I was going to absorb all the knowledge he was meant to have, being a Latin and Greek professor, being a fan and lover of archaeology and art history, and being a compassionate liberal parent present for his son, but articulate and with a very acute sense of humor. I just thought there were all kinds of wonderful things to mine.” Stuhlbarg also appeared in “The Shape of Water” and “The Post” this year, meaning he could potentially be in three Best Picture nominees.
Guadagnino, the director of “I Am Love” (2009) and “A Bigger Splash” (2015), wanted to take viewers on a voyage with the amorous couple by highlighting the film’s setting. “Space is a character in my movie, whether it’s Italy or any other place,” he confesses. “I tend to make sure that you as an audience can experience the journey of a character in his physicality and not only in his emotional journey. How do you understand someone if you cannot put into context the figure to the landscape: For me, that’s really crucial.”
“Everybody’s had first love with all of its ecstatic side and its dreadfulness,” reveals Ivory, the Oscar-nominated director of “A Room with a View” (1986), “Howards End” (1992), and “The Remains of the Day” (1993). He adapted the screenplay from Andre Aciman‘s novel of the same name, confessing a love for its Italian setting, one of his favorite locales in the world, and for the central characters: “I liked the milieux of the kind of family it was, sort of an international family. It’s what I consider, although not a Merchant/Ivory film, it’s got a Merchant/Ivory big house in it. It’s got a family that speaks several languages and the different language of the servants… All of that was appealing.” At 89-years-old, Ivory could potentially become the oldest Oscar winner, beating current record holder Ennio Morricone, who was 87 when he won for scoring “The Hateful Eight” (2015).
Fasano has been a frequent collaborator of Guadagnino’s (the two are currently finishing up a remake of “Suspiria”). “It’s a universal story,” he says of “Call Me By Your Name.” “It deals with what happens in life’s first love, and… all the turmoil in the life-changing experience of a coming of age tale.” He adds, “I don’t think it’s tied necessarily to a homosexual relationship… It’s more universal, because Elio’s exploration of sexuality in the movie is wider.” Fasano recently reaped an Indie Spirit nomination for his work.
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