Film festivals are often a launchpad for awards contenders, including Sundance, Cannes, Venice and Toronto. Now South by Southwest (SXSW) is getting in on the action with “The Disaster Artist,” which premiered on Sunday, March 12, at the Texas fest. Reports Ramin Setoodeh at our sister site Variety, “To say the Austin crowd was ecstatic at the premiere is an understatement. I don’t think I’ve ever heard such thunderous rolls of laughter at the Paramount Theatre, thanks to a tour-de-force (and career-best) performance by [James Franco], who also (how method!) directed the upcoming Warner Bros. release.”
Franco stars in the film as Tommy Wiseau, the real-life filmmaker who directed and starred in the roundly panned 2003 indie film “The Room,” whose Rotten Tomatoes consensus declares a “misguided masterpiece” that “renders such mundanities as acting, screenwriting, and cinematography utterly irrelevant.” If “The Disaster Artist” connects with awards voters it wouldn’t be the first film about a bad filmmaker to do so. Remember “Ed Wood” from 1994? Tim Burton‘s film won Oscars for Best Supporting Actor (Martin Landau) and Best Makeup.
Variety critic Peter Debruge calls “The Disaster Artist” “the most fascinating movie of James Franco’s wildly eccentric oeuvre … Just as Johnny Depp gave his career-best performance as Z-movie auteur Ed Wood, Franco achieves what could become his most iconic role.” Michael Rechtshaffen (Hollywood Reporter) adds, “James Franco scores on both sides of the camera in this wildly funny Ed Wood-esque ode to great, bad movie-making.”
Franco was previously nominated for an Oscar for his leading role as real life mountain-climber Aron Ralston in “127 Hours” (2010). But despite a surprisingly extensive list of directing credits he hasn’t yet broken through for his work on the other side of the camera. But doggedly determined artists have been a popular subject on the awards scene lately, from “The Artist” to “Birdman” to “La La Land.” Are you excited for this “Disaster” of a movie? Join the discussion on this and more with your fellow movie fans in our forums.