Getting Ready for Oscar Season: Hugh Jackman’s The Greatest Showman

Hugh Jackman in The Greatest Showman

Photo: 20th Century Fox

 

The Fourth of July is right around the corner, which means we’re halfway through the summer blockbusters.  As such, Hollywood is gearing up for fall, aka Oscar season.  Slowly but surely the trailers for fall movies are emerging that have that, “for your consideration” buzz.  Yesterday, Twentieth Century Fox did a fun promo release on Twitter for the scheduled Christmas day release of their film, The Greatest Showman.

Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. (IMDB)

The Greatest Showman Twitter Tease

Using the hashtags  and #TrailerTrapeze  pieces of the trailer were spread out among some the film’s stars. The stars that were involved were: Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Zendaya, and Keala Settle.  

If that last name on the list isn’t familiar to you it’s because Settle’s stardom comes from Broadway.  She did have a brief appearance the 2015 Meryl Streep movie Ricki and the Flash though.  Most recently the 2013 Tony nominee was in the Broadway musical, Waitress.  From the looks of things though, Settle’s performance in The Greatest Showman could be one that turns her into a mainstream star.  In a musical about a circus standing out is quite the feat.  However, it looks like she may at times steal the show!

Not participating in the Twitter game was the  Michelle Williams. She’s playing opposite of Jackman as BT Barnum’s wife Charity.  However, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who are two of three people listed on IMDB as doing the songs and score for The Greatest Showman, stepped in for her.

Incidentally, Pasek and Paul are two of the three people who did the score and songs for last season’s Oscar darling La La Land.  They also just won the Tony for best score for the Tony-winning Best Musical, Dear Evan Hansen.  In other words, we can expect some great music in this movie!

The Official First Trailer for The Greatest Showman

Having a tease for a trailer is fun, it lets you get a better look at some key moments.  Nevertheless, it’s not as informative as the actual trailer.

 

 

Yes, that was Rebecca Ferguson you saw in the yellow dress.  This movie is seriously star-packed!

Doesn’t Zendaya looks fabulous on that trapeze? In case that moment flew by you (Sorry, couldn’t help it.) here’s a second look!

 

The part is a great role to get Zendaya out of the teen idol mold without having to go scandalous. This is pretty ironic, since her character is romantically paired with Efron.  Actually, this may do the same thing for him.  Despite Efron having done a ton of movies, none have moved the former teen idol from his High School Musical label.  At least this is a musical about adults. If he becomes “the guy from The Greatest Showman,” that would be a good thing.

The Oscar Prospects for The Greatest Showman

Variety described this film as a “passion project” of Jackman’s  and it took him seven years to get it made.  It certainly seems like his diligence will pay off.  Overall this trailer makes The Greatest Showman looks like a good holiday time film that will do well at the box-office.  It’s rags to riches story and the theme about celebrating everyone’s uniqueness is a definite crowd-pleaser.  However, do you think The Greatest Showman will be considered to be Oscar-worthy?

The Obstacles & Possibilties

While musicals were big business during Hollywood’s Golden Age, that hasn’t been the case since.  The general notion is that they are a “hit or miss” financially – more so than regular movies (apparently).  In terms of awards, musicals have more often than not been overlooked and considered light fare. (Hence the Golden Globes have comedies and musicals in the same category.)

Historically only 10 musicals have ever won the Oscar for Best Picture.  Five of those films won within a 10-year span 1958-19668.  Since then the only musical that’s done so was Chicago in 2oo1.

However, if recent trends are any indication, Hollywood is ready for another one to win.  Les Misérables (2012),  and La La Land (2016) both got Best Picture nominations.  The Motion Picture Academy has also been showing musicals more love in general. Dreamgirls (2007),  Les Misérables, Into The Woods (2014) and La La Land all had several nominations.  There’s also been some acting wins.  Jennifer Hudson  and Anne Hathaway respectively won Best Supporting Actress Oscars for Dreamgirls and Les Misérables. Emma Stone, took Best Actress for La La Land.

Best Bets for Oscar Nods

Assuming The Greatest Showman is as good as the trailer suggests, here are my guesses for Oscar nominations. Following the above trend, out of everyone involved in the movie Williams seems the most likely to get an Oscar.  She’s been nominated four times! At this point the Academy may hand her one just because she should have gotten it for Brokeback Mountain back in 2006.

Jackman, who is most famous for his turns as Wolverine in the X-Men movie franchise, has had one Academy Award nomination.  It was for his role in Les Misérables, so it’s possible this musical could get him another one.  If he won it that would give him the triple crown of a Tony, an Emmy, and an Oscar.  Of course, there’s also been some murmuring about him getting the award for Logan, which has some merit.  If he was going to get a nomination which role would you prefer it to be for? (Leave your choice in the comments.) 

The one nomination that seems like an absolute shoe-in though is for best song! This is Me, the song the trailer is set to, is destined to be nominated.  It’s going to be climbing up the Billboard Hot 100 Chart – you can just tell!  While it sounds like This is Me, is partly a group number, those killer vocals belting out from the middle of the trailer are definitely Broadway’s Settle.  Forget the Oscars. Bring on the Grammys!

The Wrap Up

Just to be clear, wondering about a film’s Oscar potential  based on a trailer is not about trying to predict the winner. There isn’t any way to seriously judge what films will be in the race until they’ve actually been seen. Still, if you’re someone who enjoys the more serious fare that Oscar season brings, the trailers are exciting! Thinking about what might be coming down the pike in the fall is an enjoyable distraction from things like…Transformers.


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