Emmy winners Benedict Cumberbatch and Rachel Brosnahan star in Lionsgate’s “The Courier,” which premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival under the title “Ironbark.” The film was originally supposed to make its grand debut this February, which would have made it eligible for the current Oscar season. However, Lionsgate announced this week it’s been pushed back to March 19, so we won’t see it contend until the 2022 Oscars.
The film tells the story of real-life British businessman Greville Wynne, who operated as a courier during the Cold War and helped put an end to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Cumberbatch plays Wynne while Brosnahan plays Emily Donovan, who is in charge of the operation and one of the few women working as a CIA agent in the 1960s.
Reviews have been relatively strong for both Cumberbatch and Brosnahan from those who saw the film at Sundance in early 2020. The Playlist’s Gregory Ellwood says the film boasts “fantastic turns” from the two actors alongside co-star Jessie Buckley. Meanwhile, Slashfilm’s Ben Pearson points out the physical transformation Cumberbatch went through, with the actor losing a significant amount of weight for a particular segment of the film. Oscar voters are typically impressed by such transformations, which could give him a boost in the awards race to come.
Cumberbatch and Brosnahan are well-regarded in the industry, winning Emmys for “Sherlock” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” respectively. Should they earned 2022 Oscar nominations for “The Courier” they would be the latest in a growing trend of actors who have earned honors from the Emmys and Academy Awards. Recent examples include Regina King, Rami Malek and Allison Janney, who all went on to win the Oscars they were nominated for.
“The Courier” would be Brosnahan’s first Oscar nomination, while Cumberbatch has already earned kudos from the Oscars in 2014 for another British film based on a true story, “The Imitation Game.” Of note, Brosnahan is an Oscar contender this year for Amazon’s “I’m Your Woman” — watch our recent interview with her.
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