The Theory of Everything star Eddie Redmayne appears to have the edge in the Oscar race for Best Actor. Redmayne won the BAFTA for Best Leading Actor this past weekend in London, coming on the heels of his Golden Globe win in the equivalent category last month.
Redmayne still has steep competition leading up to the 87th Academy Awards on February 22. His fellow nominees include Birdman lead Michael Keaton, who has amassed his own bevy of critics picks for the year, as well as Bradley Cooper, who stars in the the wildly successful box-office hit from Clint Eastwood, American Sniper. Also in the category are Benedict Cumberbatch from the well-received The Imitation Game by Morten Tyldum and Steve Carell, who has received raves for his role in Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher.
The Theory of Everything is up for five Oscars including Best Picture, Best Actress for Felicity Jones, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Anthony McCarten. The film won two additional BAFTAs this past weekend, including Best British Film and Best Screenplay.
Film Comment wrote about James Marsh's The Theory of Everything this past October, well ahead of the film's late November release in the U.S.:
James Marsh was an unexpected choice to direct a mainstream movie about the tumultuous relationship between the language scholar Jane Wilde and the physically disabled theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, before, during, and after their 26-year marriage. Little in the English filmmaker’s résumé suggested his affinity for an academia-based romantic drama with an overcoming-impossible-odds theme. He has explored Northern and Southern American Gothic with the docudramas Wisconsin Death Trip (99) and The Team (05), respectively; made exemplary philosophical documentaries in Man on Wire (08) and Project Nim (11); and fused noir and Brit realism in Red Riding: 1980 (09) and Shadow Dancer (12).
There isn’t a sequence in those films as celebratory as the Cambridge May Ball setpiece early in The Theory of Everything, which consecrates the love that Jane (Felicity Jones) and Stephen (Eddie Redmayne) feel for each other against the backdrop of a spectacular fireworks display. Nor is there anything as intimate as the devoted look Jane gives Stephen while cleaning his glasses during their first encounter after he is diagnosed with motor neuron disease—and given two years to live—in 1963.