Have you seen the trailer for Darren Aronofsky‘s “mother!”? Watch it above. The film opens on September 15, and normally it wouldn’t look like an Oscar contender. The trailer suggests a horror film, which is a genre academy voters typically scoff at, but the cast and crew suggest a major player on the awards scene.
The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, who turns 27 this year but already has four Oscar nominations and a Best Actress win for “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012). Fellow Oscar winner Javier Bardem (“No Country for Old Men”) plays her husband, who invites a pair of strangers into their home (four-time Oscar nominee Ed Harris and three-time Oscar nominee Michelle Pfeiffer), leading to what appears to be a series of strange and horrific events.
Aronofsky is himself a past Oscar nominee for directing “Black Swan” (2010). To date he has no other nominations, and he has yet to win, so he may be considered due by the motion picture academy. And the behind-the-scenes crew includes Aronofsky’s Oscar nominated “Black Swan” cinematographer Matthew Libatique, his Oscar nominated “Black Swan” editor Andrew Weisblum, and Oscar nominated composer Johann Johannsson (“The Theory of Everything,” “Sicario”). So this has the potential to contend for awards above and below the line.
Horror is a genre that voters typically run from like an axe-wielding maniac — except when it’s a critical or box office hit they can’t ignore, like “The Exorcist” (1973) or “The Sixth Sense” (1999). And of course “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991) made history by winning five Oscars include Best Picture for the horror genre.
And let’s not forget that Aronofsky’s films, while not necessarily categorized as horror films, per se, have had horror elements in them, like “Requiem for a Dream.” which earned a Best Actress nomination for Ellen Burstyn as a woman literally haunted by her drug addiction, and “Black Swan” too, which won Best Actress for Natalie Portman for her portrayal of a ballerina descending into madness.
And just as importantly, the academy has been actively working to expand its membership to younger, more diverse industry professionals who may be more open to horror films like this, or “Get Out” from earlier this year. So will “mother!” be an Oscar contender? Watch the trailer above, and let us know what you think in the comments below and in our forums.