“Humor in general is something I can’t get away from, no matter what the material is,” said Yorgos Lanthimos about his latest film “The Favourite.” It premiered on September 28 as the opening night selection at the New York Film Festival, but it screened for press and industry that morning, when Lanthimos was on hand to discuss it along with writer Tony McNamara, costume designer Sandy Powell and actors Emma Stone, Olivia Colman, Nicholas Hoult and Joe Alwyn. Watch Lanthimos discuss his inspiration for the film above.
“The Favourite” tells the story of Queen Anne (Colman) and the two women jockeying for position to be her most trusted and powerful advisor: Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) and Abigail Masham (Stone). In terms of its subject matter it’s definitely a change of pace from Lanthimos’s previous contemporary films “Dogtooth” (2009), “The Lobster” (2015) and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” (2017), but it shares with those films a skewed, often absurd perspective of the world it portrays.
That offbeat approach already paid off at the Venice Film Festival, where the film won the Grand Jury Prize and Best Actress for Colman. Its aiming for Oscars in a few months, and opening NYFF doesn’t hurt. Previous opening night films have been major Academy Awards players including “Mystic River” (2003), “The Queen” (2006), “The Social Network” (2010) and “Captain Phillips” (2013). And Lanthimos has already been recognized twice by the academy: his “Dogtooth” contended for Best Foreign Language Film, and he picked up a bid for Best Original Screenplay for “The Lobster.”
So what did the rest of the cast and crew have to say about the film? Follow the links below to see the videos:
Olivia Colman on the queen’s beloved bunnies: “Emma and I are both mad animal lovers so we had a lovely time. We could barely remember our lines when it was a rabbit day.”
Emma Stone on making history: “I was the only American in the cast, so I didn’t know the extent of British history. I would think that [my co-stars] know more — no, they don’t know either.”
Olivia Colman on her easy wardrobe days: “I was in a nightie for a lot of the time, which was brilliant … I felt very sorry for [my co-stars] turning up, not being able to breathe, and I was fine, eating cake and having a lovely time.”
Emma Stone on her weird audition for Lanthimos: “He had me pant like I was giving birth throughout the lines … I think he just does this to everyone.”
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.