' ' Cinema Romantico: Potential Music Biopics for Aspirant Oscar Winners

Monday, March 04, 2019

Potential Music Biopics for Aspirant Oscar Winners

As The Wrap noted late last month, four of the five Best Actor nominees came from biopics, and six of the last eight Best Actor winners came from biopics, and so had 11 of the last 18. With Rami Malek from “Bohemian Rhapsody” triumphing for playing Freddie Mercury in a good-not-great performance, you can make that seven of nine and 12 of 19. Who says the Oscars aren’t predictable? (Not very many people.)

We here at Cinema Romantico encourage fewer biopics, and encourage any biopics that do go forward to refrain from boilerplate and Syd Field rule-abiding; get funky! Still, the AMPAs will AMPA and there are actors still in search of their first Oscars. If they want those Oscars they are obviously going to have to step into the shoes of famous singers. Wholly original is no way to go through awards season. We’re here to advise them how best to proceed.

Potential Music Biopics for Aspirant Oscar Winners

Willem Dafoe – David Bowie 

I know, I know, he was just nominated for a biopic! And he still couldn’t win! Yeesh. I mean, you’d think Vincent van Gogh could finally get an overdue guy there, but alas. That’s why Willem’s gotta ditch the artist biopic and go for the musician biopic. Let’s have him play the late David Bowie in Bowie’s later years. If he couldn’t get a statue for inhabiting the role of Jesus then Bowie is the next best thing.

Steve Buscemi – Charlie Watts

What’s Charlie Watts if not the Theodore Donald “Donny" Kerabatsos” of The Greatest Rock 'n Roll Band in the World?

Tessa Thompson – Sister Carol

If Hollywood’s best ideas for utilizing the impeccable talent of Thompson are “Men in Black” sequels and Marvel movies then can we at least have her star in her own musician biopic so she can pick up an Academy Award while she’s at it?

Amy Adams, Ewan McGregor – Stevie Nicks & Lindsey Buckingham

Amy Adams, like Dafoe, just got nominated for playing a real person but this was an Oscar she was never going to win. And we either need to her just not be nominated for a few years or win one and get this whole business out of the way. She was slated to be Janis Joplin in a biopic awhile back, which would have been a surefire path to a gold statue, but that project fell apart. So speaking of falling apart, how about having her assume the role of the legend Stevie Nicks with McGregor – who’s never been nominated at all – assuming the role of Lindsey Buckingham and maybe they could go find Oscar glory together. (Maybe John C. Reilly can get a supporting nod as Mick Fleetwood.)

Kirsten Dunst – Victoria Williams

You’d have to put her in a brunette wig, of course, but that’s part of the award-winning strategy. Then again, she’d never get an Oscar nod for playing Victoria Williams. But she’d probably win an Independent Spirit.

Joaquin Phoenix – Johnny Cash

Never mind.

Parker Posey – Siouxsie Sioux

And then she can go to the Governors Ball dressed in all black and not talk to anybody.

Steve Martin – Earl Scruggs

Martin could play the third Scruggs, a la Vanessa Redgrave taking the Briony baton in “Atonement”, for a era-spanning biopic of the bluegrass legend. And undoubtedly Martin’s genuine banjo dexterity would give him an edge over the competition.

Rose Byrne – Victoria Beckham

She failed to land a nom for “Spy” so maybe she could get one for playing Posh in an of-the-moment biopic where as Baby Spice, Ginger Spice, Scary Spice, and Sporty Spice go out on tour she is forced to square with being the one Spice Girl on the ouside looking in.

Tom Cruise – Jimmy Buffett

Look, if Cruise, hyperactive madman, can find the wherewithal to actually play the laid-back island escapist to Parrotheads everywhere then he deserves an Academy Award.

Brad Pitt

Jeff Bridges finally won his Oscar not for playing a real musician in a biopic but playing a fictional musician – Bad Blake – who felt like a real musician in a biopic. I think Brad Pitt should do the same. I think she should play the front man of a Prog Rock band now reduced to touring the State Fair circuit. I think that would finally put Pitt over the Oscar top.

Michael Shannon – Lou Reed

He’s conjured up the legendarily irascible spirit of Reed before so why not have him take it to the big screen? And though he’d definitely be better in a mood piece about the making of “Metal Machine Music”, maybe we could get Tony Gilroy to write a studio-mandated conventional Lou Reed biopic deliberately as beat-for-beat Oscar bait with Shannon playing the role with nothing but surly contempt as a critique of musician biopics, none of which Oscar voters would realize and Shannon would win and then insult the Academy from the stage like William Shatner insulting all the Trekkies on that old SNL sketch. Lou would be proud.

1 comment:

thevoid99 said...

Willem Dafoe as Bowie... Well... maybe as an older version of Bowie although that could also be filled by Tilda Swinton.

I have ideas for my own David Bowie musical as it is really the anti bio-pic. It's more in the lines of I'm Not There with multiple actors playing various personas of Bowie. Not just Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane, Halloween Jack, Thomas Newton, the Thin White Duke, and Jareth the Goblin King but also characters from songs and certain periods. My idea is to go through the entire catalog from "Liza Jane" to "Lazarus". Each period will have a different look as well as feature elements of dance choreography (during the Diamond Dogs/Never Let Me Down periods) as well as being more cinema verite as it regards to Tin Machine.

I don't think a straightforward bio-pic on Bowie will work at all. Plus, Duncan Jones just denied permission to have his father's music used for an upcoming bio-pic on Bowie. I don't blame him. This is sacred ground to touch on and if one has to do a film on Bowie. It has to be told in the right way.