Oscar preview: “The Queen”

Change. Some people dread it. Others find it hard to deal with. This is the basis for the Oscar nominated film “The Queen,” which chronicles the week after Princess Diana’s death and how the royal family and the people of England deal with the loss.

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By Timothy Guy

Helen Mirren and James Cromwell in “The Queen.” (A.M.P.A.S.)

By Timothy Guy

Change.

Some people dread it.

Others find it hard to deal with.

This is the basis for the Oscar nominated film “The Queen,” which chronicles the week after Princess Diana’s death and how the royal family and the people of England deal with the loss.

It is quite clear early on that the royals, led by Queen Elizabeth (played perfectly by Helen Mirren,) want to follow hundreds of years of tradition, quietly and with “dignity.”

The majority of England, on the other hand, represented by Tony Blair (played by Michael Sheen, the werewolf Lucian from “Underworld,”) wants immediate action and is dumbfounded when days go by of nothing being said or done about the death.

Another surprising performance is from James Cromwell (of “Babe” fame), who pulls off a good British accent.

Going into the Academy Awards, all of the buzz surrounding the film is solely behind Mirren, who has won almost every Best Actress award this year.

Under normal circumstances I would not believe the hype, but having experienced the performance, I can say with certainty that an Oscar is well-deserved. The greatest thing about the performance is the inability to read what is going on with Mirren’s character.

What appears to be guilt and sorrow early on turns out to be anger and humiliation instead. Mirren acts not just as the Queen, but acts as the Queen acting to portray someone entirely different… someone she thinks the press and people care about.

Sheen’s performance was severely overlooked and it is a shame that he couldn’t be recognized for Best Supporting Actor, especially with the head scratching nomination of Mark Wahlberg for “The Departed.”

The film is nominated for six Academy Awards total including Best Director, Original Screenplay, Original Score, Costume Design and Best Picture.

Peter Morgan wrote an excellent screenplay that is not only compelling, but extremely witty at points.

The good thing is that Morgan has a shot at winning an Oscar. He has already received the Golden Globe for Best Original Screenplay, which boads well for his Oscar chances.

Stephen Frears (who was previously nominated for “The Grifters”) does a fine job in the directing duties, but it feels like nothing can stop Martin Scorsese this year.

As for the Best Picture award, “The Queen” unfortunately seems to be the odd man out.

Every other film nominated in that category has won a major Best Picture award this season, which might leave “The Queen” with just a Toronto Film Critics award as its only Best Picture prize.

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