By Patrick Shanley
Todd Haynes has built a reputation as an actors’ director over the past few decades. This year, his latest film, Carol, about the secret lesbian affair between a housewife (Cate Blanchett) and a retail clerk (Rooney Mara) in 1950’s New York City, has asserted itself as a serious Oscar contender.
Both Blanchett and Mara were nominated for Golden Globe and SAG awards last week, while Haynes also earned a best director nom from the Globes.
Haynes, a gay man himself, has long been an iconic figure in the LGBT community, and with Carol he hopes to connect with Academy voters who not only can relate to the film’s themes of sexuality but also notes of nostalgia for its setting. He won the Queer Palm award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Though Haynes has been nominated for an Oscar in 2003, it came for his work as a writer (original screenplay for 2002’s Far from Heaven) and Carol looks to be his best shot at a best director nom from the Academy thus far in his career. Though never personally nominated, his films have translated into Oscar success for a number of his actors.