The battle lines seemed to be drawn: which posh boy playing a tortured genius would succeed: Benedict Cumberbatch as gay code-breaker Alan Turing or Redmayne as crippled Stephen Hawking? Cumberbatch seemed to be in the lead, with his nuanced performance and Turing has practically been canonised of late, also its Benedict's first lead movie role after his TV SHERLOCK and all those other roles. Talk about an actor being on a roll
.... then THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING came along (I have only seen the trailer as yet) with a flashier role for its lead actor. The Academy of course loves actors playing serious disabilities (MY LEFT FOOT et al) or losing or gaining weight, and it seems a more emotionally involving story of Hawking's first marriage, as opposed to the more repressed Turing (whose gayness is not depicted in any serious way). THE IMITATION GAME though has the Harvey Weinstein clout behind it, so we shall see. It now seems of course that Turing and Hawking may cancel each other out (as Bette's Margo Channing and Gloria's Norma Desmond did in 1950) as Michael Keaton comes up fast on the comeback trail with a movie everyone is talking about too: BIRDMAN .... Among those who fell by the wayside: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh's MR TURNER, and Jake Gyllenhaal in NIGHTCRAWLER.