House of Gucci is one of the most anticipated awards-hopefuls of this season. Lady Gaga’s turn as Patricia Reggiani has been widely expected to put her in the thick of the Best Actress conversation. It’s a 2 1/2 hour long biopic with star power, a prestigious director, and more box office potential than the vast majority of contenders can hope for this year. What could go wrong?
Well, the reviews have been somewhat underwhelming. A 67% Rotten Tomatoes grade is not ideal if you want a Best Picture nomination. Since 2010 we’ve had only three films nominated with that score or lower (Vice, Bohemian Rhapsody, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close). But let’s say audiences disagree and find it highly entertaining and fun. Typically, Best Picture nominees are either culturally significant, stylistically significant, or emotionally engaging. “Fun” doesn’t always cut it for the Academy. Though it’s not out of the question, I am doubtful Gucci cracks the Best Picture lineup. But what other categories might it show up in?
Certainly, a Makeup & Hairstyling nomination, perhaps even a win, is in the cards. As unnecessary as Jared Leto’s casting is, he is unrecognizable under all those prosthetics (even Pacino didn’t recognize him on set). As a bonus, Gaga and Driver’s wig games are on point. We’ve seen prosthetics transforming well-known actors lead to make-up wins for Bombshell, Vice, Darkest Hour, and The Grand Budapest Hotel recently. Gucci will be a strong competitor with The Eyes of Tammy Faye and Dune for the win here.
Speaking of Leto, his cartoonish, goofy, SNL-style Italian impression is the sort of swing-for-the-fences type performance that is difficult to ignore. While some feel his performance is out-of-place, voters tend to embrace all caps performances like this. With the Supporting Actor race totally up in the air, Leto could couple with the make-up nomination (Hillbilly Elegy style) and remain in the conversation, even if the film sinks.
Gaga delivers the best, most deeply committed performance in the film, though lackluster direction, writing, and editing do her no favors. Best Actress this year is packed, and Lady Gaga may not be a priority here if her film is weak overall. However, this is a very showy role, and if the film’s reputation with the public is better than it is with critics, she certainly has a shot at a nomination (but not a win, sorry fans).
Gaga’s best chances at retaining her buzz are in snagging nominations at major precursors. The Critics Choice Awards and Golden Globes proved themselves to be Little Monsters when they awarded her for A Star is Born and American Horror Story, respectively. But her moment of truth will likely come at the SAG awards, as they’re more likely to embrace a populist pick. If she misses this nomination, expect pundits to be crossing her off.
Though the costuming is a major narrative focus, that category is a bloodbath, with contenders like Cruella, Dune, Spencer, Nightmare Alley, Cyrano, and West Side Story. I’m not sure House of Gucci will take priority. And don’t expect Driver, Pacino, or Hayek to crack the race either. They’re solid, but none of them give career-best work. I anticipate the film will be far too weak to crack Adapted Screenplay, Director, or Editing.
Though only makeup feels totally secure, I’m currently feeling 3 nominations for House of Gucci (Makeup, Supporting Actor, Actress). This would be similar to Bombshell’s nomination trio in 2020. Let’s see if audiences show up for Lady Gaga in a substantial way this Thanksgiving weekend. Check back here at CinemaBlend for more awards profiles in the coming weeks.