After losing the Oscar for Best Actor to Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”) earlier this year, “Call Me by Your Name” breakout Timothee Chalamet is back in the conversation for his supporting role in the biographical drama “Beautiful Boy.” It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7 and is scheduled to be released in the US on October 12 by Amazon Studios. Will Chalamet win the Oscar this time around to makeup for his loss? It wouldn’t be the first time an actor quickly cashed in an Oscar IOU.
Time and again actors have won their first Oscars after one or more very recent defeats. For instance:
Penelope Cruz: nominated for Best Actress for “Volver” (2006), won Best Supporting Actress for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (2008)
Colin Firth: nominated for Best Actor for “A Single Man” (2009), won Best Actor for “The King’s Speech” (2010)
Nicole Kidman: nominated for Best Actress for “Moulin Rouge!” (2001), won Best Actress for “The Hours” (2002)
Jennifer Lawrence: nominated for Best Actress for “Winter’s Bone” (2010), won Best Actress for “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012)
Sean Penn: nominated for Best Actor for “Sweet and Lowdown” (1999) and “I Am Sam” (2001), won Best Actor for “Mystic River” (2003)
Emma Stone: nominated for Best Supporting Actress for “Birdman” (2014), won Best Actress for “La La Land” (2016)
Renee Zellweger: nominated for Best Actress for “Bridget Jones’s Diary” (2001) and “Chicago” (2002), won Best Supporting Actress for “Cold Mountain” (2003)
Chalamet could join that list. Directed by Felix van Groeningen (“The Broken Circle Breakdown”) and based on the memoirs “Beautiful Boy” by David Sheff and “Tweak” by his son Nic Sheff, the movie explores a family’s real-life struggle with drug abuse Chalamet takes on the role of Nic, a teenager who seems to be leading a happy life, but in reality struggles with an addiction to crystal meth that threatens to destroy his life. Steve Carell plays David, who does everything in his power to save both his son and his family.
Oscar voters tend to gravitate towards transformative performances that involve a high degree of difficulty, which is true of Chalamet’s turn in “Beautiful Boy.” It’s emotionally challenging to play a meth addict, of course, but Chalamet went a step further by losing 20 pounds for the role, which voters will appreciate. That kind of drastic physical transformation has helped multiple actors win Oscars, including Robert De Niro (“Raging Bull”), Charlize Theron (“Monster”) and Christian Bale (“The Fighter”).
Also worth mentioning, this is a vastly different performance from his work in “Call Me By Your Name,” and it’s much showier. So voters who appreciated that breakthrough role might want to reward him for showing such dramatic range.
Critics have been impressed by his work in the movie. Eric Kohn (IndieWire) says that Chalamet “so embodies the tragic struggles of a drug-addled young man it’s a wonder he made it through the production.” Steve Pond (The Wrap) praises him for sketching “the utter degradation, but also the subtle shades of a user whose every sentence may well be an attempt at manipulation.“ And Benjamin Lee (The Guardian) “wouldn’t be surprised to see him nab a Best Supporting Actor nomination next year.“
Chalamet is still remembered for his performance in “Call Me By Your Name,” and he seems to have struck a chord once again with “Beautiful Boy.” Will his continued goodwill from last year translate into his first Oscar win?
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.