Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan are splitting up, at least in terms of their Oscar campaign. “She Said,” which premiered at the New York Film Festival, and then one day later at the Middleburg Film Festival in Virginia, will be campaigned by Universal Pictures in the highly competitive best actress category for Kazan while Mulligan will seek attention in the wide-open supporting actress race.
Directed by Maria Schrader, “She Said” tells the story of New York Times reporters Megan Twohey (Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Kazan), who helped launched the #MeToo movement by exposing the silence surrounding sexual assault in Hollywood, and particularly Harvey Weinstein.
With 30 reviews counted so far, the film currently sits at 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics singling out the performances of its cast, specifically Mulligan and Samantha Morton, who plays Zelda Perkins, former personal assistant to Weinstein in the 1990s. Said to be only a single scene, Morton’s performance looks to be another one-scene wonder from the two-time Oscar-nominated actress of “Sweet and Lowdown” (1999) and “In America” (2003). Her other performance this year comes as the ex-wife of Brendan Fraser’s 600-pound Charlie in Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale.”
Competing alongside her co-star Mulligan, also a two-time nominee for “An Education” (2009) and “Promising Young Woman” (2020), could present a hurdle for both performers. About 33% of the time, the best supporting actress category has produced two nominees from the same film. However, this year has a large abundance of films angling to take advantage of that common occurrence including “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu), “The Woman King” (Lashana Lynch and Thuso Mbedu) and “Women Talking” (Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy, Judith Ivey and Rooney Mara, pending official category placement).
It’s also worth noting that next year, Mulligan has a highly anticipated turn in Bradley Cooper’s sophomore directorial effort “Maestro,” and the industry might wait for that to go all-in for the star.
For Kazan, she arrives at the feet of a cutthroat lead actress race that includes Cate Blanchett (“Tár”), Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”) and Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”). With an impressive resume of roles that’s included standout turns in “Ruby Sparks” (2012), which she wrote, and later co-penning her real-life beau Paul Dano’s directorial debut “Wildlife,” the granddaughter of directing legend Elia Kazan (“On the Waterfront” and “A Streetcar Named Desire”) hasn’t really dipped her toe into an awards conversation yet. We’ll wait to see if she can pick up traction this season.
Read: the latest predictions, visit Variety’s Oscars Hub.
The film will also be submitted for all eligible categories including supporting actor (Andre Braugher), supporting actress (Patricia Clarkson and Jennifer Ehle), adapted screenplay (Rebecca Lenkiewicz, based on the book by Kantor and Twohey), cinematography (Natasha Braier), film editing (Hansjörg Weißbrich) and original score (Nicholas Britell).
“She Said” opens in theaters on Nov. 18.
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