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Vice: a big Oscars contender

The 2018/2019 awards season has already been one of the most competitive in memory, with no one film, director or actor/actress wholly uniting voters.

Here we look at one of the current frontrunners: Vice, a darkly funny political biography about former United States vice president Dick Cheney. We begin with a run-down of who’s who in the film, before going on to debate its Academy Award chances…

 

Christian Bale is Dick Cheney

The Welsh-born actor (already a Best Supporting Oscar winner for 2011’s The Fighter) is simply sensational as Dick Cheney.

Tthe Washington bureaucrat became arguably the most powerful man in the world when Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush chose him as his running mate in the year 2000.

Amy Adams is Lynne Cheney

The wonderful Amy Adams (Arrival, Doubt, American Hustle) plays Dick’s devoted, driven wife Lynne.

In real-life, the American author, scholar and occasional talk-show host was originally mentioned as a running mate for Bush, before the Republican nominating committee selected her husband instead.

Steve Carell is Donald Rumsfeld

Playing America’s two-time Secretary Of Defense is Steve Carell, an actor who, until 2014’s brilliant biographical sports drama Foxcatcher, had more often than not been thought of for his comedic roles (TV’s The Office, The 40-Year-Old-Virgin, etc).

He’s wonderful in this, managing to be both fascinating and sleazy. In fact, it’s probably Carell’s best ‘straight-faced’ turn yet.

Sam Rockwell is George W. Bush

As America’s 43rd president, Sam Rockwell is charmingly hilarious (Vice is, after all, a comedy).

Adopting a feet-up approach, while his second-in-command oversees major policy (both home and abroad), you’ll like him immensely while wanting to berate him for letting the world burn.



OSCAR CHANCE #1 - BEST FILM

Vice is nonetheless utterly compelling viewing, with director McKay employing all manner of techniques to tell his powerful story: a mysterious narrator, straight-to-camera explanations, quick-cut montages, even Shakespeare.

Our advice? See it and be your own judge. Here at ODEON, it’s one of our award films of the year.

OSCAR CHANCE #2 - BEST ACTOR

Christian Bale might seem like an unlikely candidate to play one of America’s most controversial political figures, but the 44-year-old actor is undeniably brilliant as Dick Cheney, nailing not just the Washington grandee’s distinctive drawl, but also his mannerisms.

Hollywood loves a transformation and this one is so complete, you’ll probably spend the first half of Vice wondering if it really is Bale. He shaved his head, bleached his eyebrows and put on 40 pounds for the role.


OSCAR CHANCE #3 - BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Five times a bridesmaid but never an Oscar bride, could Amy Adams finally be smiling on 24 February?

Her performance is certainly worth rewarding. As Cheney’s wife Lynne, Adams proves the ancient adage that “behind every great man is a great woman”, playing her no-nonsense character with plenty of tenderness but also a burning ambition that’s clear for all to see.

OSCAR CHANCE #4 - BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Vice writer/director Adam McKay is already the proud recipient of an Academy Award, having won the Best Adapted Screenplay gong in 2015 with his script partner Charles Randolph for their wonderful work on The Big Short. Could he repeat the feat this year albeit in the Best ‘Original’ Screenplay category?

He just might you know. Vice is a brilliantly savage satire making waves at a time when American politics has never been so front and centre (or divisive).

 

Vice is hitting cinemas on January 25th and it got 8 Oscars nominations.