Luca Guadagnino‘s “Call Me By Your Name,” is one of the best-reviewed films of the year and a strong Oscar contender across-the board. The film charts the stormy course of a 1983 summer romance between Elio (Timothee Chalamet), an Italian teenager, and Oliver (Armie Hammer), an American academic seven years his senior who has come to stay at his parents’ villa. Oscar nominee James Ivory adapted Andre Aciman‘s 2007 bestseller of the same name.
Chalamet is currently ranked third in the Best Actor race by our Oscar experts behind two revered screen veterans: Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”) and Daniel Day-Lewis (“Phantom Thread”). Oldman is the overwhelming favorite for his portrayal of Winston Churchill while Day-Lewis, a three-time Best Actor champ, could win a record fourth for his farewell to film.
However, Chalamet, a 21 year-old newcomer, is well-poised to pull off an upset and make history as the youngest-ever winner of this award. Indeed, there are strong parallels with the current record-holder, Adrien Brody, who won in 2002 for his breakthrough performance in Roman Polanski‘s “The Pianist.”
Brody was a month shy of turning 30 when he prevailed over four Oscar winners: Nicholas Cage (“Adaptation”), Michael Caine (“The Quiet American”), Day-Lewis (“The Gangs of New York”) and Jack Nicholson (“About Schmidt”). In the lead-up to the Oscars, it looked like the race was between Day-Lewis and Nicholson.
Day-Lewis had won both the New York and Los Angeles critics awards, with Nicholson tying at the latter. Nicholson then won at the Golden Globes while Day-Lewis did likewise at the SAG Awards. But it was Brody that took to the stage on Oscar night, coming up the middle as those two acting titans split the vote.
Such a scenario could happen again this year. Oldman is far out in front in our Golden Globe predictions. And Day-Lewis, who is retiring, could ride a wave of sentiment to a win at the SAG Awards. Remember, he is the only three-time Best Actor winner at these guild honors. Besides that victory in 2002, he also prevailed prior to claiming Oscars for “There Will Be Blood” (2007) and “Lincoln” (2012).
Like Brody, Chalamet is being hailed for his first starring role. Sony Classics Pictures, a savvy awards campaigner, will release this red-hot Oscar contender on Nov. 24, just as the race is heating up. Expect the film to figure strongly in the year-end critics awards. It currently merits a perfect score at Rotten Tomatoes (which grades on a pass/fail basis) and a jaw-dropping 98 at MetaCritic (which assigns a numerical score to each review).
Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives 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.