‘House of Gucci’ first reactions: Lady Gaga enters the Best Actress race

Kristen Stewart’s clear path to the Oscars 2022 Best Actress award hit a speed bump this week as the first reactions to Ridley Scott’s star-studded “House of Gucci” put Lady Gaga immediately in the awards conversation.

“There’s a true standout performance here from Lady Gaga, funny and fearless and — crucially, in a movie prone to losing the thread — completely commanding,” Vanity Fair awards writer David Canfield wrote in his analysis of the film, reviews for which are embargoed until November 23 — just one day before its theatrical release. “She centers, even grounds the movie while having a grand time doing so. Accordingly, she’s firmly in the conversation for a second best-actress nomination, but how far she can go largely depends on the movie around her.”

Based on the book by Sara Gay Forden and directed by legendary filmmaker Ridley Scott, “House of Gucci” is a decades-spanning story about the tumultuous marriage between Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) and Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), which ultimately ended in divorce and murder. That doomed romance is played out against a battle for the Gucci brand throne, where Maurizio struggles for control of the family business against his scheming uncle Aldo Gucci (Al Pacino) and Aldo’s dim-witted son, Paolo Gucci (Jared Leto).

While Lady Gaga represents the film’s strongest chance at an acting nomination, Leto arguably has the showiest role — and he knew it. “I said to Ridley, ‘You know, I’d love to do this, but if I do, I’d go absolutely f–king crazy,’” Leto said after a screening last week at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. 

He was maybe underselling it: Affecting a thick Italian accent and rendered unrecognizable by prosthetics, Leto goes extremely big in “House of Gucci” and the former Oscar winner could be well-positioned to win his second trophy in 2022. If nothing else, in a Best Supporting Actor category that remains in flux and without a clear front-runner pick, Leto is certain to have the noisiest performance among the contenders. (Pacino, who was nominated at the 2020 Oscars for his bold turn as Jimmy Hoffa in “The Irishman” could also be in play for the film as well.)

Beyond its possible acting nods, “House of Gucci” could factor in the hair and makeup and costume design categories. Scott, meanwhile, has two cracks at receiving a nomination for Best Director, this film, and “The Last Duel.” As for the movie itself, with a set of 10 nominees, “House of Gucci” is also a contender in Best Picture — though as the early responses indicated on Tuesday, the movie will likely divide audiences and critics.

Not that its Oscars future should come as a total surprise: Among Gold Derby experts, “House of Gucci” has been pegged to earn nominations in Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actor for Leto, as well as Best Costume Design.

Read first reactions about “House of Gucci” below. The movie is out in theaters on November 24.

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