×

Toronto: ‘Theory of Everything’ Has the Right Formula for Oscars

Stephen Hawking drama, starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, gets splashy awards launch at festival

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones confidently enter the awards race with their new Stephen Hawking drama “The Theory of Everything.” The film, which premiered Sunday at the Toronto Film Festival, is already earning strong reviews and could score attention as a best picture contender and artisan categories, in addition to acting honors for Redmayne and Jones.

Based on the Jane Hawking memoir, “Theory” tells the story of Hawking (Redmayne) and his first wife (Jones), whose 25-year relationship began in the early 1960s.

It’s a classy piece from Focus Features and Working Title, directed by James Marsh (“Man on Wire”) and scripted by Anthony McCarten. All craft contributions are notable, including Johann Johannsson’s score and Benoit Delhomme’s cinematography.

Nothing is certain, though, since the fourth quarter has a lot of heavy-hitters coming up. But at this point,  it looks good for Focus, which smartly scored multiple Oscar noms last year with “Dallas Buyers Club,” including best picture.

Challenges: In many ways, “The Theory of Everything” is a formulaic triumph-over-adversity biopic. It offers reminders of “My Left Foot” and “Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (as Variety reviewer Justin Chang points out), with a little “Beautiful Mind” thrown in as well.

Assets: The tale may be familiar, but it works. The film touches on topics such as human resilience, God, time, love and thermodynamics. What’s not to like? And it has a great backstory, with Redmayne at the world premiere in Toronto talking about many months of meticulous research, which eventually paid off with the blessings of Jane and Stephen Hawking (whom everybody loves, even if they never read his book).

There are still a dozen big films that are unseen, but the best-picture race is starting to shape up. And, yes, with “The Imitation Game” and “Theory” are both in the game, meaning this could be the first year when the top race includes two biopics about British geniuses.

 

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • The Great Outdoor documentary series about

    Farm to Picture: Documentary Series 'The Great Outdoor' Chronicles a Life Gone to Pot

    Cannabis cultivation in the Emerald Triangle, the area in Northern California that has long been a go-to for growers, has a starring role in a new documentary series called “The Great Outdoor.” Funded by Flow Kana, one of the state’s leading cannabis flower brands, filmed by David Zlutnick, and executive-produced by Flow Kana co-founder Flavia [...]

  • 1982 El Gouna Festival

    Egypt's El Gouna Film Festival Puts Arab Helmers at Center Stage

    The upbeat state of Arab cinema will be on the screen and in the balmy air at Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival (Sept. 19-27), which is steadily gaining traction in its stated ambition to become a key platform and solid driver for Middle-East producers. “This year was one the best for Arab cinema,” says Intishal [...]

  • Star Skipper Paramount Animation

    Meet Star Skipper, Paramount Animation's Magical New Trademark Logo Character

    Studio logos are powerful signals to audiences.  Multiple generations of moviegoers flipping through channels or scanning streaming titles have frozen at the sight of a desk lamp hopping across the screen, because it means a Pixar movie is about to play. Likewise, when a young boy lounging inside a crescent moon casts his fishing line into [...]

  • Sybil

    Cannes Competition Movie 'Sibyl' Finds North American Home With Music Box (EXCLUSIVE)

    Music Box Films has acquired the U.S. and Canadian rights to Justine Triet’s darkly comic drama “Sibyl,” which competed at Cannes and had its North American premiere at Toronto in the Special Presentation section. Represented in international markets by mk2, the film follows the ambiguous relationship between Sibyl, a jaded psychotherapist (Virginie Efira, “An Impossible [...]

  • Kent Jones Directs 'Diane'

    Kent Jones to Exit New York Film Festival (EXCLUSIVE)

    In a surprise move, New York Film Festival’s director and selection committee chair of seven years Kent Jones will step down following this year’s 57th edition, which runs Sept. 27-Oct. 13. The departure comes as Jones’ feature filmmaking career is taking off. Issues of potential conflicts of interest have arisen as his work has moved [...]

  • Ava-Mark-Split

    Ava DuVernay, Mark Ruffalo Selected for SAG-AFTRA Foundation Honors

    Ava DuVernay and Mark Ruffalo have been selected by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation for its fourth Annual Patron of the Artists Awards. The awards will be presented on Nov. 7 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. The show benefits the nonprofit SAG-AFTRA Foundation and is not televised. Previous SAG-AFTRA Foundation Patron of the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content