Now there's a headline you probably never thought you'd read in 2019: Adam Sandler, Oscar Contender. And yet, thanks to the comedic actor's new film Uncut Gems, that's exactly the new reality that critics and cinephiles are now having to ponder.
Uncut Gems is one of the films making its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, and the buzz about Adam Sandler's performance in the film is already mounting. Check out what The Daily Beast's Natalia Winkelman reports about being pleasantly surprised by Sandler, after Uncut Gems was screened at TIFF:
"It's Sandler's most enthralling performance since Paul-Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love, and perhaps even better suited to his persona. For underneath his bland doofiness, Sandler's always nurtured a well of nervous energy... Now [Directors] the Safdies have gone even further, pushing Sandler's neurosis to its explosive extreme while hanging onto the thing that made him lovable in the first place: his humor."
If you don't know about Uncut Gems, it's a crime caper comedy in which Sandler plays a jewelry store owner to the rich and famous, who must hustle hard in the streets to pay off debt. The film co-stars Julia Fox, Indina Menzel, LaKeith Stanfield, Noa Fisher and more, with celebrity appearances from the likes of Kevin Garnett and The Weeknd. You can check out the film synopsis for the film below.
Synopsis: From acclaimed filmmakers Josh and Benny Safdie (Jay-Z: Marcy Me) comes an electrifying crime thriller about Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a charismatic New York City jeweler always on the lookout for the next big score. When he makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime, Howard must perform a precarious high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides, in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win.
As The Daily Beast notes in its write-up, the last tie we heard Adam Sandler seriously being considered for Awards season was his performance in P.T. Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love, back in 2002 (he's suffered the indignity of several Razzie nominations since that time). Punch-Drunk exposed a side of Sandler that few ever imagined, as he played a vulnerable and troubled neurotic man. That performance was a novelty, but as the reviewer says, Uncut Gems will possibly evoke something even better from Sandler: surprising depth to his acting, that still showcases his humor.
Uncut Gems is slated for release on Christmas Day.