Eddie Redmayne Best Actor 2014?
By Skip Sheffield
Ladies and gentlemen the envelope please. For your consideration, Eddie Redmayne as Best Actor 2014 Academy Awards.
Just as Rosamund Pike had her star turn in “Gone Girl,” fellow Brit Redmayne has his in “The Theory of Everything” as mathematist-physicist-philosopher Stephen Hawking.
Most of us know Hawking as the brilliant guy in a wheelchair who devised the “black hole” theory of the universe. Since 1985 Hawking has been unable to speak with his own voice due to the debilitating effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
The story begins in Cambridge, U.K. in 1963 in this screenplay by Anthony McCarten, adopted from Jane Hawking's book "Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen" and directed by James Marsh ("Shadow Down").
Jane Hawking must have been some kind of saint. In this story she is played by angelic Felicity Jones.
More than anything "Theory of Everything" is a love story. Stephen Hawking was diagnosed while still a student and given the grim prognosis of just two years to live. Although he was still physically mobile, Stephen was fully aware that his walking days were numbered, as would be his speaking days.
Jane was fully aware too, yet she pledged to stand by her man even when he could not stand himself. Hawking's brain remained unaffected by the disease, as was his male sexual apparatus. We meet Robert (Tom Prior), Lucy (Sophie Perry) and Timothy Hawking (Finlay Wright-Stephens) as children and teenagers.
Though "Theory of Everything" is an inspirational story of the indomitable human spirit, it is never sappy or sentimental. Indeed at times it is quite funny. Hawking had and still has a great ironic sense of humor. It is even more ironic the Stephen and Jane both moved on to new partners, yet remain best friends.
I think this is the best movie about overcoming major disability since "My Left Foot" back in 1989. That film won Daniel Day-Lewis the Oscar for his portrayal of Christy Brown, whose entire body except for his left foot was paralyzed. It was with that left foot that Brown wrote his story.
Stephen Hawking is relatively able-bodied by comparison. He just turned 70, defying all the naysayers. Here's hoping he continues his productive life for years to come.