Maggie Gyllenhaal’s ‘The Lost Daughter’ could make Oscars history for Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley

It’s rare for two performers to receive Oscar nominations for playing the same character in the same film — so rare, in fact, that both times this feat has happened in Academy Awards history, Kate Winslet was involved. 

In 1998, Winslet was nominated for Best Actress for playing Rose DeWitt Bukater in “Titanic,” while Gloria Stuart received a nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category for playing the older version of Rose in the same film. Four years later, in 2002, Winslet was a nominee in the Best Supporting Actress category for playing Iris Murdoch in “Iris,” while Dame Judi Dench earned a Best Actress nomination for playing the elder Iris in the true-life drama.

Twenty years later, however, and with Winslet nowhere in sight, a pair of actresses might join Winslet, Dench, and Stuart in the history books. Set for release by Netflix on December 17 (the film will arrive on the streaming platform on December 31), “The Lost Daughter” stars both Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley as a woman named Leda Caruso — Colman plays the character in the present day, Buckley handles the flashbacks — whose world is undone by her complicated feelings on motherhood and marriage. Following the movie’s debut at the Venice Film Festival, followed quickly by a packed North American premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, the buzz from attendees suggests Colman could receive her third Oscar nomination in four years, while Buckley could earn her first. (Colman is the lead of “The Lost Daughter,” while Buckley would be considered supporting.)

Written and directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal and adapted from the Eleana Ferrante 2006 book of the same name, “The Lost Daughter” is a showcase for its stars — not just Colman and Buckley, but supporting players such as Dakota Johnson, Dagmara Domińczyk, Paul Mescal, and Ed Harris. Despite being a first-time filmmaker, Gyllenhaal displays the skills of a seasoned veteran and handles the tricky material — with characters who don’t always engender audience sympathies. Gyllenhaal becoming a contender in the writing and directing categories could also materialize, especially if awards voters react to the film like past Oscar winner Emma Thompson did.

“I was so blown away by the film,” Thompson told Vanity Fair. “The slow winding of suspense and the brave plunging into the horrors of motherhood—about which no one speaks, for fear of being blamed and stigmatized forever. Trust Maggie to take it on.”

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