Oscar buzz for 'Mary Poppins Returns' after first Hollywood screening

Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the animal stars of <i>Mary Poppins Returns</i> (Disney)
Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the animal stars of Mary Poppins Returns (Disney)

Mary Poppins Returns is shaping up to be an awards contender if the early reactions coming out of Hollywood are to be believed, with Emily Blunt tipped to receive her first ever Oscar nomination.

The musical sequel, starring Blunt in the title role, held screenings for tastemakers and academy voters over the last week where it was met with rapturous responses and standing ovations.

The long-awaited sequel to 1964’s Mary Poppins hits cinemas this Christmas, and Disney is hoping to repeat the awards success of the original which earned 13 Academy Award nominations and won 5.

Industry paper Variety hailed Returns as “a bona fide best picture Oscar player this year” citing a “applause throughout a Producers Guild screening on Wednesday” and a “lengthy standing ovation” for the cast and crew at an “all-guild” screening on Saturday.

The film has been praised for giving Oscar voters some much-needed respite from the hard-hitting issues tackled by other big contenders like A Star Is Born and Vice.

“Mary Poppins Returns will be a massive hit,” sums up Variety’s Kristopher Taply, “which will drive the point home all the more: Audiences want a movie like this right now. Critics, even the most cynical of them (whether they admit it or not), want a movie like this right now.”

The original film is considered Walt Disney’s crowning achievement earning 13 Oscar nominations – the most any Walt Disney Studios has ever received – including the only Best Picture nomination producer Disney received in his lifetime. The film won 5 of those Oscars, including Best Actress for Julie Andrews in her feature film debut.

Emily Blunt is being tipped to repeat Andrews’ success with Indiewire’s Bill Desowitz saying the British A Quiet Place star “portrays the iconic nanny with such confidence and charm that she could land a Best Actress Oscar nomination”.

Emily Blunt receives instructions from director Rob Marshall on the set of <i>Mary Poppins Returns</i>. (Disney)
Emily Blunt receives instructions from director Rob Marshall on the set of Mary Poppins Returns. (Disney)

Awards prognosticator Gregory Ellwood of the The Playlist concurs saying Blunt “is absolutely superb and her performance puts her smack dab in the middle of the Best Actress race”. Ellwood cites Olivia Colman (The Favourite) and Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born) as Blunt’s biggest rivals for the gold trophy that will be handed out on 28 February, 2019.

Early reactions suggest the film could also do well in the craft categories, with nominations expected to land for costumes, production design, and of course – the music.

Meryl Streep has also been given an outside chance of bagging a Best Supporting Actress nomination playing Topsy Turvy, but then it doesn’t take much for Streep to get a nod, does it?

Mary Poppins Returns hits cinemas on 21 December, 2018. Watch a trailer below.

Read more
How Mary Poppins Returns connects to the original
Dick Van Dyke is blowing people’s minds
Disney sequel ‘a gift to the world’