When the teaser trailer for “Grace of Monaco” debuted last fall, the Nicole Kidman biopic about Grace Kelly felt like a natural Oscars contender. The drama, directed by Olivier Dahan (who helped land Marion Cotillard an Academy Award for 2007’s “La Vie en Rose”) was about two subjects actors love dearly: other actors and European royalty.
Then the release date for “Grace” was delayed by the Weinstein Co., and its filmmakers said they never intended to make an Oscars movie.
On Wednesday, “Grace” premiered as the opening-night selection of the Cannes Film Festival, which launched Nicole Kidman’s “Moulin Rouge” into the best picture race in 2002. But Dahan was right: “Grace” isn’t an Oscars contender. The story, which at times feels like a made-for-TV movie, is, as Harvey Weinstein reportedly complained to Dahan, too dreary. Unlike “My Week With Marilyn” or “The King’s Speech,” there’s no redeeming message at the end of Grace’s story.
Though it has just seven reviews so far, the drama currently sits at 0% positive on Rotten Tomatoes.
But perhaps worst of all came Wednesday night when Weinstein, the undisputed King of Oscar campaigns, was a no-show at the film’s world premiere, sending a clear message about his feelings about the project. Weinstein said he and his wife were on a long-planned trip to Jordan to visit Syrian refugee camps.
A new cut of the film — that Weinstein and Dahan would work on together — could debut in U.S. markets. But short of an editing miracle, “Grace of Monaco” will probably sit out the 2015 Oscars race (although, it could get some Golden Globes love, as a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press was heard lavishing praise on the film at the film’s press conference).
Kidman, who tries her best to capture the essence of Grace Kelly, delivered stronger performances in “The Paperboy,” “Margot at the Wedding” and “Cold Mountain,” all films for which she didn’t receive a best-actress Oscar nomination. There’s no release date set yet for “Before I Go to Sleep,” Rowan Joffe’s adaptation of the bestselling mystery thriller that stars Kidman, which could screen at fall festivals.
So while the 87th annual Academy Awards, scheduled for Feb. 22, are still months away, it’s highly unlikely that anyone is going to be saving “Grace” anytime soon.