With press and industry screenings of Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up” starting this week, and Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” set to raise its curtain just after thanksgiving, Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley” will likely stand as the last awards contender to unveil itself to audiences. Searchlight Pictures has “Nightmare Alley” screenings set to begin in December, and with the movie out December 17 in theaters, the studio released a new look at the film noir adaptation on Thursday.
Based on the 1946 book by William Lindsay Gresham, which was almost immediately turned into a movie of the same name released in 1947 with Tyrone Power in the leading role, “Nightmare Alley” is del Toro’s follow-up to the Best Picture winner “The Shape of Water,” which also landed the auteur his first Best Director Oscar. But those expecting some kind of creature feature should temper expectations: “Nightmare Alley” is more tethered to reality and details the unraveling of a con man, played here by Bradley Cooper, who is among the favorites to land a nomination for Best Actor.
“This has no supernatural element. It’s based completely in a reality world,” del Toro told Vanity Fair. ‘There is nothing fantastic. It’s a very different movie from my usual, but yes, the title and my name would create that [impression].”
Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are the key women in the film, though as those who have seen the original adaptation know, it’s Blanchett who has the showier role. (The two-time Oscar winner is campaigning in the Best Supporting Actress race; Mara will campaign as a lead.)
In addition to its performers, “Nightmare Alley” remains an across-the-board Oscar contender in the Gold Derby odds, with numerous users and pundits figuring it for nominations in Best Picture and Best Director for del Toro.
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