"Foxcatcher," Bennett Miller's tale of wrestling and murder, premiered Monday night at the
Miller's fact-based story has established itself as an early player in the fall awards season, hoping to follow in the footsteps of 2007's
But it also faces a number of hurdles, including a studiously quiet tone that could inhibit it with some mainstream audiences and the general backlash that can follow movies with early hype. After all, the Cannes Film Festival tends to showcase several high-profile award titles, but some of those tend to fade as awards season heats up in the fall. as "Nebraska" and "Inside Llewyn Davis" did last year. Early favorite status can sometimes lead to a backlash and fatigue in the long slog of the modern awards campaign
"Foxcatcher," which doesn't open until Nov. 14, chronicles the events preceding the real-life murder by eccentric millionaire John du Pont (
The movie's back story suggests an abundance of award narratives: physical transformations for stars Carell and Tatum, a restrained tone and pacing that critics tend to favor, plenty of rich themes of privilege and morality and, maybe most important, articulate spokesmen in Miller and the cast.
Speaking to reporters after the screening, Ruffalo offered a glimpse at the conversation the movie could offer in a season that thrives on debate — and the publicity that such debate creates.
"What happens when everything is for sale?" he said. "What happens to talent when it's for sale or when it can be acquired?"
Carell's embrace of the real-life Du Point is also the stuff Oscar dreams are made of, as
"I did as much research as I could," Carell told reporters, noting books and documentaries he studied. "You get different interpretations of who [Du Pont] might have been, and you have to decide on one or a conglomeration of several."
Citing the bad knees and other ailments that came with the many hours of on-set wrestling, Tatum, hardly a regular on the Oscar circuit himself, said, "This is definitely something that gets into your body and doesn't leave."
Miller also brings an excellent track record to awards season, with his first two films, 2005's "Capote" and 2011's
"Foxcatcher" arrives after an extended editing period in which Miller and
It also will come from Sony Pictures Classics after parent Sony decided it fit better at the specialty label. SPC often lands pictures in categories other than best picture, though it did garner a nomination for