‘Les Misérables’ Early Reviews Are In – Could the Musical Take Home an Oscar?

By: Crystal Bell / November 26, 2012

Anne's 'Les Mis' Diet
Anne Hathaway dishes on crazy detox diet for the film.
Critics are singing the praises of Les Misérables. 

Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of Les Mis premiered for critics in New York City on Friday, and the consensus is clear: it’s a serious Oscar contender.  The film is even being hailed as the frontrunner in what’s shaping up to be a highly competitive awards season.

“Hooper’s film is one of the most joyous, epic experiences you’ll have in a cinema this year,” wrote The Daily Beast. But could Les Misérables — and its cast, starring Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Amanda Seyfried — score Universal Pictures its first Academy Award for Best Picture since 2001’s A Beautiful Mind?

While a nomination seems certain for Hopper’s revolutionary epic, beating out fellow contenders such as Lincoln, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook and Life of Pi is another story. However, there’s one thing critics seems almost certain of: Hathaway will most certainly get a nomination for her role as the ill-fated Fatine.

“It’s here where Hathaway all but seals the deal on the Best Supporting Actress Oscar,” wrote The Daily Beast. “After giving herself to her first client, she rises and sings ‘I Dreamed A Dream.’ Shot in staggering close-up—and in one shot—Hathaway’s take on this ode to anguish brought many audience members to tears.”

Hathaway, who told the screening audience she spent four months working with a vocal coach before the cast assembled for nine weeks of rehearsal, was willing to cut her hair short for the role — even though it meant she’d “be almost bald” for her September wedding to Adam Shulman.

“When I eventually looked in the mirror I just thought I looked like my gay brother. Man Hathaway,” Hathaway said at the screening.

As for Jackman, the Aussie musical theater veteran isn’t a shoo-in for a nomination, but critics seem to agree his performance as ex-con Jean Valjean is perhaps the best in his career.

“This year’s best actor Oscar race couldn’t be more competitive, and, despite giving a career-best screen perf (you’ll have to forgive him for Australia), he’s no sure-thing for a nom — remember that Chicago‘s lead male Richard Gere was snubbed the year that his film won everything,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter.

But Hathaway and Jackman aren’t the only two names on critics’ minds. British stage actor Eddie Redmayne, who stars as young revolutionary Marius, made quite the impression on Movieline.

“When he mourned the deaths of his fellow revolutionaries by singing ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables,’ in the final scenes of the movie,  people were weeping on either side of me,” wrote Movieline’s Frank Digiacomo.

One original song, “Suddenly,” was written specifically for the film, and it too will be a serious Oscar contender for Best Original Song.

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