Written by Kazuo Ishiguro, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017, the film is an English-language adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s “Ikiru” (1952), and it is set in 1953 London, following Mr. Williams (Nighy), a bureaucrat who is facing a fatal illness. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, making multiple stops at nearly every major fall festival including Telluride, Venice and Toronto.
Nighy, one of the great British character actors of our time, is given one of the richest roles of his career, showcasing tender and deeply moving moments throughout the film. A BAFTA winner for “Love Actually” (2003), he’s never received an Oscar nomination. However, similar to other great veteran actors being recognized during the last 20 years by the Academy — such as Jonathan Pryce (“The Two Popes”), Gary Oldman (“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”) and Richard Jenkins (“The Visitor”) — Nighy could join their ranks in best actor.
There’s also lots of praise for Aimee Lou Wood as Margaret Harris. Wood’s previous film credits include “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain” (2021) but likely is best known for her role as Aimee Gibbs in Netflix’s comedy series “Sex Education.” SPC will be campaigning Woods for supporting actress awards consideration.
The film also stars Alex Sharp and Tom Burke.
To see the ranked predictions for each individual category, visit Variety’s Oscars Hub.
South African director Oliver Hermanus, best known for the independent war drama “Moffie” (2019), assembles an impressive artisans team full of veterans and up-and-coming artists. Aside from having a clear pathway toward a nom for adapted screenplay, these elements make the film a competitive force in the various technical categories during awards season; notably, production design (Helen Scott, Sarah Kane), cinematography (Jamie D. Ramsay), costumes (from three-time Oscar winner and 15-time nominee Sandy Powell) and original score (Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch).
Levienaise-Farrouch recently won best original score in an independent film at this week’s Hollywood Music in Media Awards. The film also received nine noms from the British Independent Film Awards including best film.
Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen, who was among the producers of Todd Haynes’ Oscar-snubbed romance “Carol” (2015), are on board for Hermanus’ period drama. Woolley has a previous nom for best picture for Neil Jordan’s “The Crying Game” (1992).
“Living” opens in New York and Los Angeles on Dec. 23.
Watch the trailer.