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Taking a page out of the playbook that brought the ensemble film Spotlight two supporting acting nominations en route to a best picture Oscar win, the entire cast of The Trial of the Chicago 7 — among them Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, Eddie Redmayne, Mark Rylance and Jeremy Strong — will be pushed for awards in the supporting actor category, The Hollywood Reporter has learned from sources close to the film.
The period piece drama, which was written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, has generated rave reviews from critics and, since dropping on Netflix on Oct. 16, widespread buzz among the general public, with strong notices spread among its numerous well-known actors — some of whom, such as Cohen, have more screen time than others, like Keaton, who essentially makes a glorified cameo.
Trial of the Chicago 7 is an obvious leading contender for the best ensemble SAG Award. But, in terms of positioning its individual performers, a situation like this can play out in different ways. For instance, Netflix has another 2020 ensemble film, Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, but the preponderance of reactions to it have hailed Delroy Lindo as the cast’s main standout, hence the decision to position him as a lead actor and the rest of the cast as supporting actors. But with Trial of the Chicago 7, there was no clear lead or runaway favorite.
In my unscientific assessment, Baron Cohen, for his portrayal of Abbie Hoffman, probably has slightly more buzz than his castmates (and may have curried additional favor with those who have seen his completely different performance in the new and popular Borat Subsequent Movie). But in this most unusual year, with the pandemic sidelining many would-be contenders, the supporting actor category is relatively thin, which leads me — and apparently those associated with the film — to believe that they might be able to snag multiple noms.
We interview The Trial of the Chicago 7 star Eddie Redmayne about his research into playing Tom Hayden and the film’s parallels to modern times.
The Trial of the Chicago 7, which begins streaming on Netflix October 16, tackles the backlash anti-Vietnam War protesters faced in 1968. While it is a historical drama, Aaron Sorkin dramatizes the lives and perspectives of various protestors in his script.
One of the Seven was activist Tom Hayden, who is played by Eddie Redmayne in the film. The actor spoke with Screen Rant about the lessons he learned during his research and while on set.
You play Tom Hayden, a noted activist. What did you learn about him that most people may not know while you were researching him? What do you think people can learn from his journey during the course of this film?
Eddie Redmayne: I knew nothing about Tom before. I knew nothing about this story before I read the script, and I found is so sort of thrilling to read. I found it was this weird mixture of emotional and funny, and yet it informed me about this moment I knew nothing about. It was just a delight, really, to get to research Tom’s life.
Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne is back with a new film — The Trial of The Chicago 7 — whose tagline reads ‘In 1968 democracy refused’. Little wonder its release coincides with this year’s U.S. presidential election. As Eddie Redmayne tells Tom Chamberlin, it is an urgent movement.
Have you met Eddie?” I was asked several times before I met Eddie Redmayne. It would be easier to relay the meaning behind that question in person rather than on paper, but the gist of it was this: when going through the standard operating procedure of setting up a cover shoot, questions like “Does he need a car?”, “Does he have any catering needs?”, or “Can we shoot behind-the-scenes content?” all elicited the response, “Have you met Eddie?” He took the tube, by the way.
This being my 36th issue of The Rake, with no fewer than 30 of those covers being handled by publicists who represent the great and good of the big screen, it is difficult to elucidate just how unusual it is to get a response like that. That is not to say that any of the actors we have featured on our cover have been swallowed up by their own image or seek to make life difficult for us Earth-dwelling normies, but to witness an actor voluntarily eschewing the trappings to save others the hassle is mindblowingly refreshing. So it was safe to say I was interested in meeting Eddie, and I was not disappointed.
Eddie Redmayne has the kind of social skills I am particularly fond of: he appears to be interested, if not actually interested, in what the person he is talking to is saying; he is affable and kind and self-deprecating; and he doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously, which, given he is an Oscar winner, you might forgive him for doing. He undermines the theory that fame changes and ultimately blemishes character.
Our interview, a week or so later, got off to a good start. “Oh my God, you bastard,” he said, though in every way I deserved it. I had dialled in over Zoom from my holiday in France, and I wasn’t going to keep the view to myself. Once the smugness faded, and I had to remember to try to be professional, I got on with the questions.
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