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Cate Blanchett’s Lesbian Drama ‘Carol’ Sparks Early Oscar Buzz

The first reactions to Todd Hayne’s period romance “Carol” were some of the strongest of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, where the lesbian drama starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara debuted to the press on Saturday night.

The Weinstein Co. release, which is adapted from a novel by Patricia Highsmith, also drew attention for the 1950s costumes by Oscar winner Sandy Powell, who designed the costumes for Haynes’ “Far From Heaven.” It will be released Dec. 18, a prime awards season spot.

“Is ‘Carol’ Todd Haynes’ masterpiece? Probably. Achingly gorgeous from first frame to last,” tweeted U.K. movie site Total Film.

Anne Thompson of IndieWire wrote: “Blanchett & Mara carry Todd Haynes’ 50s lesbian romance Carol with glamorous allure. Strong contender for awards & beyond.”

Sasha Stone of Awards Daily said, “Weinstein is right in saying ‘Carol’ has the stuff. I think Hollywood will finally give Haynes the directing nod he so richly deserves. Rooney’s movie as much as Blanchett’s. Exceptional in every respect.”

“‘Carol’ is gorgeous and beautifully acted,” Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair said, while New York Daily News critic Jordan Hoffman called it “subtle, beautiful, brilliant.”

Other critics praised the film’s score from composer Carter Burwell, who also composed the music for Haynes’ Emmy-winning miniseries “Mildred Pierce” and for “Velvet Goldmine.” Glam rock story “Velvet Goldmine” won the Cannes prize for artistic contribution in 1998.

Haynes proved his talent at capturing the nuances of repressed mid-century emotions in 2002’s “Far From Heaven,” which starred Julianne Moore and received four Oscar noms.

If “Carol” does pick up an award at this year’s Cannes, it wouldn’t be the first lesbian drama to do so. In 2013, Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue Is the Warmest Color” won the festival’s Palme d’ Or.

“Carol,” co-starring Kyle Chandler and Sarah Paulson, world premieres in Cannes on Sunday evening.

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