Neon is opening the Brady Corbet-directed drama this December with hopes of breaking Portman into the Oscar race.
Natalie Portman’s performance in “Vox Lux” is officially being campaigned for best supporting actress at the 91st Academy Awards, Neon has confirmed to IndieWire. The indie distributor purchased the movie at the Toronto International Film Festival and soon after announced a December release date to get the movie into the 2018-19 awards race.
“Vox Lux” stars Portman as an international pop star named Celeste, but the “Black Swan” Oscar winner only appears in the back half of the 110-minute drama. Writer-director Brady Corbet’s narrative begins with Celeste as a teenage girl, where she’s played by “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” star Raffey Cassidy. Celeste survives a violent tragedy in her school and becomes an instant star when a clip of her performing at a memorial service goes viral. Portman plays Celeste when the film jumps in time to 2017, where the pop star is trying to mount a comeback and overcome personal scandals.
While some believed Portman might compete in the best actress race, her limited screen time in “Vox Lux” made it a no-brainer for Neon to push her into the supporting race (see IndieWire’s predictions here). Portman will now compete against expected contenders like Claire Foy of “First Man,” Regina King of “If Beale Street Could Talk,” and Amy Adams of “Vice.” The jury is still out on “The Favourite,” as Fox Searchlight has not confirmed which category it will place Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz, but at least one of the three actresses will campaign for supporting, if not two of them.
Portman has earned universal acclaim for her “Vox Lux” performance ever since the film world premiered at the Venice Film Festival. “Portman is fearless, going all out in a role that requires nothing less,” IndieWire’s Michael Nordine wrote in his positive review. Critics might be on Portman’s side, but “Vox Lux” is a polarizing drama that will be a tough sell to the Academy, especially since it includes disturbing scenes of graphic violence.
Neon had great success with “I, Tonya” at the Oscars earlier this year, where it won best supporting actress for Allison Janney. The distributor opens “Vox Lux” in select theaters December 7 and will expand the film throughout the month. The 91st Oscars take place February 24, 2019.