The Theory of Everything, based on the life and romance of the famed Stephen Hawking, could be gearing up to be one of the biggest winners at the Academy Awards of 2015. The film was nominated for multiple Academy Awards, including the coveted nominations of Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role, and Best Actor in a Leading Role. Star Eddie Redmayne, who plays Stephen Hawking in the film, won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama for his performance. And it may not just be the Golden Globes that see the film on top—it could very well strike big at the Oscars. Why? Let’s dive into three major reasons why the film could sweep the Oscars.
Eddie Redmayne’s performance
Redmayne’s performance in the film received almost exclusively positive praise from film critics and audiences. His dedication to the role involved extensive preparation and physical stamina; not only did Redmayne meet with Stephen Hawking himself, he met with several other people living with ALS to ask them about their experiences and get a better idea of the mental and physical aspects of living with the disease. The role required Redmayne to contort his body into seeming paralyzed, which was not only physical difficult but required the consultation of professional physicians to ensure that he did not harm his back or legs.
It features a “hot” social topic
ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease in the United States, is certainly one of the “hot” social topics in recent years. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raised millions towards ALS research and patient care, and made what was once a somewhat obscure disease a limelight topic. Other media projects, including film and television, are also turning towards ALS for interesting medical cases and potential character drama; for example, the hit Fox show Empire features a main character diagnosed with the disease.
It’s a blend of three awards-heavy genres
While some may write off the film as being in the “terminal illness” genre, which is almost guaranteed to get at least some critical notice if done well, the film actually encompasses three different genres that historically have won big at the Academy Awards: it is about someone with a debilitating illness; it’s also a biographical romance that spans several decades; and it is a drama. These genres combined could make a potent potion for the film’s potential at the Academy Awards—and beyond.