Every year or so there seems to be a movie or performance that comes into the awards season late and sneaks its way toward a nomination. Judging by initial critical reaction and its first trailer, Jennifer Aniston (Horrible Bosses 2) in Daniel Barnz’s (Phoebe In Wonderland) Cake may be that performance. It stars Aniston as a woman suffering from chronic pain who attends a support group and begins to show interest in the family of a fellow support group member who committed suicide.
While Aniston is mainly known for her work in high profile comedies, she has previously received acclaim for her work in independent film, most notably in Miguel Arteta’s The Good Girl back in 2002. Her Cake co-stars, on the other hand – Anna Kendrick (Into the Woods), Sam Worthington (Sabotage), Chris Messina (Palo Alto), William H. Macy (Rudderless), and Felicity Huffman (Rudderless) – are familiar faces in indie circles.
The role sees the usually glamorous Aniston stripped down, with scars aligning her face and a constant grimace signifying the pain her character suffers. On the surface, the role shares minor comparisons to the physical transformation that Charlize Theron underwent for 2003’s Monster (although that film carried a decidedly different tone and type of performance from its lead).
Cake received a lukewarm reception at The Toronto International Film Festival back in September, but Aniston’s performance was still universally appreciated by festival-goers. Now, with the film getting a late awards push to start a campaign for Aniston, it’s possible that she could be on the shortlist of Best Actress nominees at the Oscars (especially in a field considered to be relatively weak as compared to previous years). People may remember Sandra Bullock’s surprising and ultimately successful late season Actress campaign for 2009’s The Blind Side, which started with the film’s unexpected success at the box office in a heated November.
Audiences will still have to wait to see if the buzz is warranted, however, as Cake won’t hit theaters until sometime in 2015.