Maggie Gyllenhaal poised to make Oscar history with ‘The Lost Daughter’

Like in most non-gendered categories at the Oscars, the writing awards have traditionally been dominated by male screenwriters, some of them actors who have already earned attention in the acting categories. We seldom see women having the same success, with only Ruth Gordon and Emma Thompson landing Oscar bids for both acting and writing. Yet, we now have a potential third member of this elite group, Maggie Gyllenhaal, who wrote and directed her first feature, “The Lost Daughter,” a film that continues to have a presence at major precursor awards.

Gyllenhaal is in second place for a prospective Best Adapted Screenplay nomination at the Oscars, according to the latest Gold Derby odds. She has racked up more than a dozen nominations from various critics groups for her screenplay, including the Critics Choice Awards, and even won at the Gotham Awards. The film’s flashback structure and complex perspective on motherhood are also key elements that should appeal to the Academy’s writing branch. Star Olivia Colman, is also gaining major traction in Best Actress, which will likely help “The Lost Daughter” gain more buzz in other categories.

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The 2009 film “Crazy Heart” landed Gyllenhaal her first and thus far only Oscar nomination, in Best Supporting Actress. Should she get a second bid in Best Adapted Screenplay, she would join an illustrious group with Gordon and Thompson, both of them Oscar winners.

Gordon earned her first three nominations in Best Original Screenplay for writing “A Double Life” (1947), “Adam’s Rib” (1949) and “Pat and Mike” (1952). She nabbed her first acting bid for “Inside Daisy Clover” (1965) and won for her scene-stealing turn in “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968).

Then there’s Thompson, who won on her first acting nomination for “Howards End” (1992), then collected three more for “In the Name of the Father” (1993, supporting), “The Remains of the Day” (1993, lead) and “Sense and Sensibility” (1995). She also wrote “Sense and Sensibility,” which netted her a second Oscar.

While Gyllenhaal can’t call herself an Oscar winner quite yet, a screenplay nomination would be an indicator that the academy respects her artistry and may be on the lookout for her next projects. It will likely be an uphill battle going up against Jane Campion for “The Power of the Dog” this year, but Gyllenhaal could be on the path to an eventual Oscar win, not unlike Gordon.

Oscar odds for Best Adapted Screenplay
'The Power of the Dog' is ahead

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