By Patrick Shanley
Tomorrow marks the wide opening for Carol, the 1950’s-set romantic drama from director Todd Haynes that was nominated for the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The film, which stars Cate Blanchett as a married woman engaging in an affair with a young department store clerk (Rooney Mara), won the Queer Palm award at Cannes and earned Mara the best actress award (which she shared with Mon roi‘s Emmanuelle Bercot).
Blanchett, who has won two Oscars and will be honored with the Desert Palm Achievement Award next January at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, is a strong threat for a best actress nom, as is Mara. However, the track record for lesbian roles resulting in Oscar wins in Academy history is not necessarily strong.
Mara, herself, was nominated for best actress in 2012 for her performance as a brilliant, if dangerous, hacker in David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. While Mara’s character was not an expressed, out, lesbian, she did share onscreen lesbian relations in the film. This year her performance in Carol is much more clear-cut, though her character is forced to hide her lesbian feelings due to the time period and the illicit nature of her affair with a married woman.