Studio execs from
"It is Ms. Woodley's movie at almost every moment she's on camera," enthused Wall Street Journal film critic Joe Morgenstern. "She has the precious gift of simplicity, whether she's observing the people around her with a cool eye or filling the screen with a warmth that seems to come naturally. Others in the cast work at being winning; she wins by seeming to be herself. This young actress is the real, heart-piercing thing."
Did we mention the 22-year-old Woodley does all this while hooked up to an oxygen tank and wearing a breathing tube for most of the movie? And that she has a real gift for comedy, as effortless in putting across Hazel's goofy gallows humor and raw-edged wit as she is in articulating the character's despairing nihilism. And that she does all this without a trace of self-consciousness.
So a lead actress Oscar nomination is in the bag, right? Not so fast. If we learned anything from reading
Which sometimes is a problem. Because while we don't want the academy to bestow honors for best kiss or best gut-wrenching performance (
Jennifer Lawrence may have won an Oscar for her marvelous acting in
But the Oscars aren't baseball, if for no other reason than there's plenty of crying. It's practically ingrained in the ceremony. Aside from the occasional outlier (
So, back to Woodley. She has several strikes against her from the outset. "The Fault in Our Stars" comes from a young adult novel that was insanely popular (yikes!), especially among adolescent girls (double yikes!). It's a weepie, a genre taken even less seriously than comedy as an art form. And its studio, 20th Century Fox, will have no financial motivation to spend any money on an Oscar campaign because the movie will be long gone from theaters and well past its DVD/Blu-ray release date by the time awards season begins in earnest — considerations that often spur awards efforts.
Then again, the studio does seem to be considering it, and why wouldn't
That shouldn't be a problem with "Fault."