Telegraph predicts “global hit” for ‘Dagenham’

Posted by · 8:29 am · August 12th, 2010

Two weeks ago, when I made my first Oscar predictions of the 2010 season, I went out on a bit of a limb for “Made in Dagenham,” the upcoming true-life Britcom that will have its world premiere at Toronto next month.

I have yet to see the film, but the story material, the talent involved and the promisingly perky trailer (embedded after the jump) combined to suggest one of those undemanding, broadly appealing UK charmers that sneak up on the Academy every couple of years — and that, as “An Education” proved last year, face a gentler climb to a Best Picture nod in a field of ten.

With the Academy’s sizable British voting bloc having often made their presence felt even in the days of five nominees — hello, “Atonement” — the odds do favor at least one British film making the cut in most years. Many see Mike Leigh’s “Another Year” as the prime candidate for that hypothetical slot this year, and it’s certainly a worthy one, but it remains a tough sell in many respects: a quiet, sometimes despairing essay on middle-aged loneliness unlikely to register beyond a rarefied arthouse audience.

“Made in Dagenham” evidently lacks the Leigh film’s prestige — you don’t see anyone calling director Nigel Cole an auteur, much less a genius — but it’s a feelgood, socially conscious period piece with a host of familiar faces and far sunnier commercial prospects. (The decision to rename the film from its catchier, but riskier, original title “We Want Sex” seems to me a canny move in this regard.) The Daily Telegraph’s David Gritten writes that an early screening bore out the “next ‘Full Monty'” buzz:

At a recent early screening in London, the consensus was that Made in Dagenham effectively covered all the emotional bases, from comedy to melancholy. It looks a sure-fire hit. Ironically, the recently abolished UK Film Council helped with financing — and producer Stephen Woolley went out of his way to thank the UKFC when he presented the screening.

The point about the UKFC isn’t an irrelevant one. There is much ill feeling lingering in the British film industry following the Conservative government’s decision to axe the longstanding film funding body. (It’s not just the Brits, actually: Clint Eastwood has joined the protesters.) As two of the last films to benefit from the Council’s involvement, it’s not hard to imagine that kind of protective sentiment extending to both “Another Year” and “Made in Dagenham,” not to mention the Weinsteins’ awards vehicle “The King’s Speech.” BAFTA voters could find themselves particularly sympathetic on that basis.

Meanwhile, I’m no longer the only awards blogger feeling the potential for “Dagenham”: in his inaugural Oscar column for the 2010 season, David Poland listed the Sony Pictures Classics acquisition among his top 13 (unranked) Best Picture ponies. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the trailer below and tell me if I’m crazy.

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11 responses so far

  • 1 8-12-2010 at 10:49 am

    Andrew F said...

    You’re not crazy — I think you’re on to something here. It looks simply delightful, with a great British cast. Maybe the Academy will make up for their snub of Sally Hawkins’ staggering performance in ‘Happy Go Lucky’ with a nom here?

  • 2 8-12-2010 at 11:53 am

    McAllister said...


  • 3 8-12-2010 at 12:39 pm

    Ivan said...

    Sally Hawkins for a Best Actress nomination

    Looks like she will play well with the precursors…
    BAFTA, GG, even NY critics.

    Right now these are the 10 legitimate contenders in the ladies race.

    Jennifer Lawrence
    Annette Bening
    Anne Hathaway
    Nicole Kidman
    Sally Hawkins

    Natalie Portman
    Leslie Manville
    Carey Mulligan
    Helen Mirren
    Michelle Williams

  • 4 8-12-2010 at 12:44 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    I have a feeling the film will be too fluffy and unhip for the critics’ awards. It would be ironic if Hawkins managed to score this time with BAFTA and the Academy without them.

    I’d say Julianne Moore is among the top 10 contenders, incidentally.

  • 5 8-12-2010 at 12:55 pm

    Princess of Peace said...

    Looks like it could be a hit in the Full Monty way. However, I don’t think that both this film and Another Year will get BP nods. It will be one or the other.

    One big plus for this film – the very underrated Miranda Richardson is one of the co-stars.

  • 6 8-12-2010 at 6:14 pm

    Glenn said...

    Looks like Norma Rae for equal pay, but I love these sort of movies (and the Brit factor helps) so I’m looking forward to it. That cast is great, too. Miranda Richardson in Supporting Actress? Hmmm.

    Still, I’m hoping the flood of excellent reviews for MY local pet horse, “Animal Kingdom”, allows it to enter the race if only for Supporting Actress (Jacki Weaver).

  • 7 8-13-2010 at 8:06 am

    Kevin said...

    Got Poppy vibes seeing Sally on that bicycle early in the trailer. In Poppy’s words: “God Bless Her”

  • 8 8-13-2010 at 9:48 am

    RichardA said...

    Not that the issue is dated or anything, but as a topic for an Oscar winning BP, it seems dated.

    For me, I think I am looking at a Miranda Richardson nomination. You don’t yell like that and not get noticed!

  • 9 8-15-2010 at 9:53 pm

    Matt Knott said...

    Seen this and you are absolutely right to anticipate major nominations. Sally Hawkins’ role is the perfect combination of vulnerable/feisty that voters go for, Miranda Richardson (in a fat suit!) is a scene-chewer and Rosamund Pike is also great and has an unexpectedly brilliant monologue.

  • 10 8-15-2010 at 9:54 pm

    Matt Knott said...

    I’m assuming it’s a fat suit…

  • 11 8-16-2010 at 1:11 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Great to hear! Thanks, Matt.