Brenda Blethyn angles for Oscar attention in ‘London River’

Posted by · 12:00 pm · November 14th, 2009

Brenda Blethyn in London RiverAmid the surfeit of underdog titles vying for Oscar glory, a special prize for maximum cojones should go to the producers of indie Brit drama “London River,” who are mounting a campaign for Brenda Blethyn’s superb lead performance — despite the obstacle of the film lacking a US distributor.

The film (which was disqualified as Algeria’s Oscar entry due to excessive English dialogue) has just begun a week-long qualifying run in L.A., and if you happen to be around, you owe it to yourself to give it a look.

As I wrote in my June review of the film from the Edinburgh fest, it’s a quiet, humane piece dealing with the still-sensitive subject of the London terrorist attacks of July 2005. Despite this political currency, the film doesn’t draw overt attention to itself — but it affords Blethyn her finest showcase since “Secrets and Lies,” tempering the familiar rhythms of distraught-parent drama with less flattering streaks of prejudice and self-absorption.

It’s a stark, affecting portrayal from an actress whose career could currently benefit from an awards boost, and more noteworthy than a number of Best Actress contenders with heftier campaigns behind them. Here’s hoping enough voters take the time to seek out this gem — but it faces an uphill climb.




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14 responses so far

  • 1 11-14-2009 at 12:55 pm

    red_wine said...

    These small campaigns are really foolhardy. There’s nothing wrong in trying but these are essentially pipe dreams that will not happen. A small Brit drama wont certainly make the cut. Happy-Go-Lucky can be actually considered a major movie by a major director, yet even that was essentially too small and niche for he academy.

  • 2 11-14-2009 at 1:28 pm

    Edward L. said...

    I dunno… It does seem unlikely, but if Richard Harris could get nominated for The Field (over Al Pacino in The Godfather Part III, no less!), then surely anything is possible?!

  • 3 11-14-2009 at 2:13 pm

    mark said...

    Never in a million years although blethyn could do with a meaty role like her shoulda won secrets and lie one.

  • 4 11-14-2009 at 3:41 pm

    Alex in Movieland said...

    “blethyn could do with a meaty role like her shoulda won secrets and lie one.”

    go see Breaking the Waves.

  • 5 11-14-2009 at 3:49 pm

    Jordan Cronk said...

    This would be a near improbable nomination at this point, but anything to shake up the races would be appreciated.

  • 6 11-14-2009 at 4:25 pm

    Glenn said...

    I predicted this way back at the start of the year, and it’s been a shame to see it fall by the wayside.

  • 7 11-14-2009 at 10:24 pm

    mark kratina said...

    She’ll always be Mrs. Maclean to me.

  • 8 11-15-2009 at 12:06 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Glenn: As did I. My predictions for Nathaniel’s Actress Psychic contest are going to look embarrassing by the year’s end!

  • 9 11-15-2009 at 1:25 am

    Glenn said...

    Yes, same with me. Two of them – Watson and Blethyn – won’t even get released from the looks of it, Swank dived off the deep end, Pfeiffer would make a huge shock and Mulligan. At least I’ll get ONE!

  • 10 11-15-2009 at 1:48 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Ah, I could’ve told you Watson wasn’t going to happen.

    Still, who am I to talk … I went for Renee Zellweger! (Not, I hasten to add, because I thought “My One and Only” would be any good.)

    I also picked the wrong Mirren vehicle and, in all probability, the wrong Streep one too. Sigh.

  • 11 11-15-2009 at 2:31 am

    nanoush said...

    go BRENDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! at least she’s got BAFTA nom in the pocket

  • 12 11-15-2009 at 2:45 am

    Edward L. said...

    nanoush: it’s not a done deal, unfortunately. Sally Hawkins won Best Actress at Berlin, Golden Globes, LA, NY and National Society of Film Critics for Happy-Go-Lucky and BAFTA still didn’t n0minate her!

  • 13 11-15-2009 at 2:52 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    To my knowledge, “London River” doesn’t even have a scheduled UK release, so a BAFTA nod is hardly likely.

    (Plus, BAFTA have been shamefully neglectful lately when it comes to recognising independent British fare.)

  • 14 11-15-2009 at 4:03 am

    mark said...

    Alex in Movieland said…

    “blethyn could do with a meaty role like her shoulda won secrets and lie one.”

    go see Breaking the Waves.

    i have seen every 96 actress performance and blethyn was my fave watson 2nd kidman 3rd.