Though he’s known by anyone with a brain as one of the best filmmakers we have, Todd Haynes hasn’t found all that much favor with the Academy so far. He’d picked up the occasional nomination here and there — a smattering for “Far From Heaven,” a Supporting Actress nod for Cate Blanchett in “I’m Not There” — but big prizes like Best Picture and Best Director have so far eluded him.
After a record haul of Emmy nominations for “Mildred Pierce,” Haynes seemed poised to break through to awards season with the transcendentally good “Carol,” but while the film won six nominations in total, it ultimately failed to get in the Best Picture line-up, or win Haynes a nod. But all being well, his solid nomination for writing “Far From Heaven,” will soon be joined by more, because ahead of the film’s premiere at Cannes in a couple of weeks, Amazon and Roadside Attractions have set a key awards season date for Haynes’ latest.
“Wonderstruck,” an adaptation of an illustrated novel by “Hugo” author Brian Selznick, tells two stories: one of Rose (young actress Millicent Simmons), a young deaf girl who runs away from her New Jersey home in 1927 to meet her idol, silent film actress Lilian Mayhew, and another runaway, Ben (Oakes Fegley from “Pete’s Dragon”), who goes to New York after his mother passes away.
With half the film supposedly told in the style of a silent film, and much-nominated actresses Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams among the cast, this feels like the awards stars aligning, particularly after Amazon managed to break through last year with “Manchester By The Sea.” According to Variety, the film will open in limited release on October 20th, opposite films including Jeff Bridges firefighter drama “Granite Mountain” and Idris Elba/Kate Winslet survival romance “The Mountain Between Us,” before expanding sometime in November. Assuming the film works as well as we’re accustomed to from Haynes, this looks like it could be a real force in the season to come. Check back in the next few weeks for our verdict on “Wonderstruck” from Cannes.