As festivals keep revealing their schedules, the best picture Oscar contenders keep emerging, the latest being Searchlight’s EMPIRE OF LIGHT.
The R-rated romantic drama written, directed & co-produced by Sam Mendes is not only world premiering in September at the 47th Toronto fest but is now set for a gala screening at the 66th BFI London Film Festival (10/5-15). It’s the kind of one-two prime festival punch that puts a film on Academy members’ must-see-early lists.
LIGHT, opening on 12/9, stars Olivia Colman & Colin Firth. It’s got enviable credentials to drive it into the awards spotlight. Mendes (pictured) won the best directing Oscar & DGA in 2000 for his first film, AMERICAN BEAUTY, which also won best picture. In 2020 he was Oscar-nominated for 1917, for which he won the DGA.
Firth was an Oscar lead actor nominee in 2010 for A SINGLE MAN & won the lead actor Oscar for THE KING’S SPEECH in 2011.
This combination of Oscar wins means LIGHT, as one of 10 best picture nominees, would likely have to direct & acting noms to enhance its prospects. That would likely put it in the DGA & SAG races where wins give a boost to Oscar’s best-picture contenders.