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Awards Season If Onlys - Jennifer Lawrence in mother!

January 31, 2018

 

There's no question that mother! is an insane artistic endeavour. But what's even more insane, in my opinion, is the fact that Jennifer Lawrence seems to have gotten zero awards attention this year. Being an avid Darren Aronofsky fan, I was blown away by the sheer genius of everything the film had to offer, while fully understanding that it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea. Having said that, what I can't wrap my head around is the fact that Jennifer Lawrence - a regular sure fire in Hollywood's awards circuit - has been completely shut out for what is surely one of her best performances ever.

 

Considering how the camera pretty much never leaves her, she pretty much carries the entire film from beginning to end, taking audiences through a figurative emotional roller coaster with more bumps and twists than they ever thought existed. I can't think of another instance where an actress had to blast through so many emotional transformations in a single film, so it's just baffling that she's gotten no formal recognition so far (at least not from any big groups). And by the way, I could write a separate piece about how mother! should have gotten nominations for directing, but it's kind of the same idea.

 

Given the slew of negative press surrounding the film's quality (which always baffled me because everyone's goto Rotten Tomatoes puts mother at a somewhat respectable 69% right now), however, the explanation for Lawrence's absence might seem obvious. But that answer is also concerning to me, because I would have thought mother! to be the kind of film that award groups would have ate up. It was certainly how I felt when I first saw mother! at the Toronto International Film Festival, well before word got out that it was 'one of the worst movies of the year' (just one of many reviews crowning the film this achievement).

 

With mother!, we have a certain kind of artistry that directors are rarely afforded by studios these days. Kudos to Paramount for taking such a risk, but shame on critics (and audiences!) for not appreciating the film for the powerhouse cinematic event it very clearly is. I've heard Aronofsky quoted for saying mother! pretty much starts off (in spirit) where Black Swan ends off, which is 100% accurate. This movie is bat shit crazy from the start, and becomes clinically insane by the end, while still maintaining a sense of control and auteurism that is so blatantly the product of Darren Aronofsky.

 

I'm hopeful that mother! will eventually develop a cult following, and am confident that fans of Aronofsky will continue to champion the film for its creative genius. Jennifer Lawrence doesn't necessarily need more formal recognition for her acting at this point in her career, but it's still a troubling thought knowing that one of the best performances of the year has been completely denied any formal awards recognition. As always, Hollywood can be a confusing place.

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