For awards watchers, there was one last film that remained to be seen — until Sunday, when Angelina Jolie’s “Unbroken” played for audiences in Los Angeles and New York. Though the film had premieres in Australia and London, reviews are under embargo until Monday. But judging by the guild screenings in L.A., Universal Pictures has a heavy hitter on its hands. The film is a surefire best picture nominee, with Jolie likely to break into the director race. Acting categories might be harder to crack with such stiff competition, but star Jack O’Connell could make his way into the best actor race, and supporting actor Miyavi also has a fair shot for playing the main villain.
The film first screened in the morning for the SAG Nominating Committee, ending to rapturous applause. SAG is generally a warm audience and the star presence of Jolie certainly helped the excitement. But a standing ovation was given not only for Jolie but star O’Connell, who was clearly caught off guard. Also joining in the Q&A, moderated by Variety’s Jenelle Riley, were actors Garrett Hedlund, Domhnall Gleeson and Miyavi.
“Unbroken” comes with an impressive pedigree; Joel and Ethan Coen are among the credited writers who adapted Laura Hillenbrand’s bestseller and the cinematography is by the great Roger Deakins, who has 11 Oscar nominations for his previous work, including “No Country for Old Men” and “The Shawshank Redemption.” It tells the true story of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini, who, as a soldier in WWII, survived in a life raft lost at sea for 47 days before being sent to a Japanese prison camp for over two years.
While the panel spoke with great reverence about working on the film and Zamperini, who died earlier this year, there were moments of humor as well. Most of the cast lost weight to portray the difficult conditions they were in, to which Gleeson noted he was happy to do it for a great film. “You don’t want to starve yourself for a sh—y movie,” he said. When Hedlund revealed he earned his SAG card for the film “Troy,” Riley pointed out that the star of that movie (Jolie’s husband, Brad Pitt) is a pretty good actor. Quipped Gleeson about his father, “Brendan Gleeson is really good in it, too.”
Full article at Variety.com