Wes Anderson Officially Has His Best Chance Yet At Winning An Oscar


“The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” is easily the most formally adventurous work of Anderson’s career. Unbound by the commercial expectations of a wide-ish theatrical release, the filmmaker imbues the tale of a gambler (Benedict Cumberbatch) who develops the power to see without his eyes with a stylish verve that makes his previous work look almost pat. The major upside to this ability is that he can now see the flipside of every card dealt during a game of blackjack. When Henry grows bored of accumulating massive wealth through dishonest means, he begins putting his fortune toward charitable causes.

It’s a fairly straightforward fantasy, but Anderson tells it with tremendous wit and brio — and, most importantly, he does it in just under 40 minutes (the Academy’s runtime requirement for this category).

Though Anderson has never made a movie that runs over two hours, his quirky aesthetic wears some viewers down fairly rapidly. I disagree strongly with such people (to put it kindly), but this tighter format might get them in and out of an Anderson movie before they cry uncle. They might — gasp! — actually dig what he’s throwing down for once (and he throws a lot at us in this one).

But if they still can’t get with Anderson, there’s another factor working in his favor.

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