'Macbeth': The new trailer and its award season chances

A new version of 'Macbeth' stars Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. The two are both Oscar nominees, but will the movie succeed with the Academy or at the box office?

A trailer has been released for the new adaptation of the Shakespeare play “Macbeth.”

The new version of the play is directed by Justin Kurzel, who was previously behind the film “The Snowtown Murders,” and stars Michael Fassbender of “Slow West” as the title character and “Two Days, One Night” actress Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth. Elizabeth Debicki and David Thewlis co-star. A US release date has not been set, but it's coming to Britain in October and Variety says the film will be released in America in the fall.

Previous film adaptations of the play include Orson Welles's 1948 film, and director Roman Polanski's 1971 take. The most recent, from 2006, was directed by Geoffrey Wright of “Cherry Falls” and starred “Avator” actor Sam Worthington in the title role, but the movie was not well received by critics, according to the website Metacritic.

This new take on the story starring Fassbender and Cotillard screened at the Cannes Film Festival. It was largely well received and Associated Press writer Jake Coyle said Cotillard could be a contender for Best Actress as Oscar season heats up.  

Can the movie do well at the Academy Awards? A Shakespearian adaptation has won Best Picture once: Laurence Olivier’s 1948 version of "Hamlet." (Honorable mentions go to 1999's “Shakespeare in Love,” which won Best Picture and depicted parts of “Romeo and Juliet,” and to "West Side Story," the plot of which is similar to "Romeo and Juliet.")

But a film based on Shakespeare also hasn’t caught the Academy’s attention for some time, at least for one of the big prizes – the 2011 movie “Coriolanus” directed by Ralph Fiennes was mostly well reviewed but didn’t get any Oscar nominations, and Joss Whedon’s 2013 version of “Much Ado About Nothing” also received good reviews but no Oscar nods. One would have to look back to Kenneth Branagh’s filmed versions of Shakespeare, including his 1996 “Hamlet,” which was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, and his 1989 version of “Henry V,” for which he was nominated for Best Director and Best Actor, to find Shakespeare near to the major awards in recent times.

It also remains to be seen whether “Macbeth” will do well at the box office. More modern takes on Shakespeare, like Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo + Juliet,” have succeeded, and Branagh’s “Much Ado About Nothing” was a box office success. Can “Macbeth” bring in audiences as well?

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