Tom Holland takes on his most serious role so far in Anthony and Joe Russo’s “Cherry,” the filmmakers’ first outing following the box office smash “Avengers: Endgame.” Before a virtual crowd of journalists and industry voters, the film was screened with a live conversation with the cast and filmmakers moderated by Oscar nominee and “Iron Man” star Robert Downey Jr.
Distributed by Apple TV Plus, the film tells the story of an unnamed army medic who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction, leading him to become a serial bank robber. It’s adapted from the book by Nico Walker.
The film looks to break into the Oscar race in various categories. Still, the bulky runtime with multiple chapters may keep it outside in the major awards categories like best picture.
Holland, who emerged on the scene with J.A. Bayona’s “The Impossible” in 2012, has always been a capable actor, one that brings excitement to the future of cinema. Navigating through filmmakers like James Gray and Ron Howard, he’s able to stand above any mixed reactions to his portrayals. This is no different.
The 24-year-old may be considered too young for a play in best actor, but this lays the groundwork for a near-future nomination. Even his charisma as Spider-Man has elevated the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The similarly young Timothee Chalamet in “Call Me by Your Name,” who was 22 at the time of his nomination, found his way into a lead actor lineup, but the film also garnered nominations for picture, director and won best adapted screenplay (James Ivory). “Cherry” will struggle to mirror the same trajectory. Still, Holland’s time with the Academy could be near.
Co-star Ciara Bravo establishes herself as a noteworthy newcomer, who we should continue to look for in future projects. With the likes of veterans such as Ellen Burstyn, Glenn Close and Olivia Colman making headway for an Oscar nomination in supporting actress, there may not be enough time for her to crack the lineup.
The Russo’s cinematic eye is undeniable, and the industry should want them to continue to step outside large tentpole franchises. Best director is far too crowded for their names to enter the mix at this point in the season, which will likely be the same fate for screenwriters Angela Russo-Otstot and Jessica Goldberg. The Russo brothers’ technical choices could put the movie in play in a few categories, though, most notably, Newton Thomas Sigel’s camera work, which already impressed with Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods.”
Henry Jackman might be able to make his way to the Oscar shortlist for an original score mention when it’s announced on Feb. 9. Already snubbed for “Big Hero 6” and “Captain Phillips,” the England-born composer has yet to find his way into a lineup.
If the film does find some traction with voters, makeup and hairstyling have enough high points that could impress the branch along with sound, which bring a palpable energy to both the war and robbery scenes equally.
Does “Cherry” shake up the Oscar race? Likely not, but it will undoubtedly be adored by Holland’s legion of fans and any Marvel-head, curious to see what the two helmers behind the highest-grossing film of all time have cooked up.
The reactions will drive the conversation with awards voters and we’ll see how the industry voters react to its unconventional structure.
“Cherry” debuts on Feb. 26.