By Aly Semigran, Hollywood.com Staff
Theater geeks and movie geeks alike have been geeking out, and rightfully so, over Anne Hathaway's smashing turn as the ultimately doomed Fantine in the film adaptation Les Miserables. Her shattering (albeit snotty) performance of the showstopper ""I Dreamed A Dream"" not only reclaimed the song back from reality television breakout Susan Boyle, but it's put the 30-year-old actress in the frontrunning for not only a Best Actress nomination at the Academy Awards, but she's favored to take home the gold. After seeing her heartbreaking number in Les Mis, even the most fervent of Hathaway haters would have to admit she deserves to be back on the Oscar stage. (Though, mercifully, as a winner and not a co-host.)
But Hathaway isn't the only one with Oscar buzz on her side for all that live singing and up-close-and-personal acting in the box office smash. Hugh Jackman is likely to earn his first nomination for his impressive turn as Les Mis' tortured hero Jean Valjean and, against all odds, Oscar winner Russell Crowe could ride off his star power into the Best Supporting Actor category for his performance as the villainous Javert, despite not being able to carry a tune throughout.
The latter would be especially disappointing, not only because Crowe is one of the lowlights of the already uneven adaptation, but because that spot deserves to go to the best actor in the entire film (yeah, I said it): Eddie Redmayne. While girls everywhere are likely having Eponine-esque swooning fits over the undeniably adorable 30-year-old British actor who plays the sought-after Marius, Academy voters really should be, too. Not only does Redmayne who unfortunately already got overshadowed in a supporting performance last year in Michelle Williams' My Week With Marilyn do a magnificent job with the live singing aspect of director Tom Hooper's take on the beloved Broadway hit (he hits all the right notes, quite literally, with song like ""Red and Black,"" ""A Heart Full of Love"" and his big solo number ""Empty Chairs and Empty Tables"") but he gave Marius some much-needed new life.
In the stage show of Les Mis, Marius always seemed a little less suited for battle than his Revolutionary-ready friends like Enjolras or, heck, even the spritely fighter Gavroche, and played as nothing more than Eponine's handsome crush who only had eyes for Cosette. (Despite the fact that, in the show, the rough-and-tumble Eponine always seemed to good for him.) On screen, however, while gifted stage actress Samantha Barks does a splendid job with the yearning anthem ""On My Own,"" the film's version of Eponine makes her (unfortunately) a much girlier version of the character. Redmayne's take on Marius, on the other hand, not only made him more rough-around-the-edges, but someone to actually root for.
Without Redmayne's soft, yet handsome features one would wonder why both Eponine and Cosette (a not-quite-on-key Amanda Seyfried) would fall so hard for Marius and without his equal parts delicate and powerfully beautiful singing voice, audiences would be left pondering why Jackman's Valjean struggled so hard to ""Bring Him Home."" Where others floundered with their fan favorite characters (Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter's missed opportunity as the scheming Thénardiers, for one), Redmayne pulled off an even more difficult feat: making us fall for a harder-to-love character. After all these years, we finally get what Eponine and Cosette have been singing about, and that's all thanks to Redmayne's powerful, emotional, and you better believe it Oscar-worthy performance.
Need even more convincing? Check out Redmayne's charming interview with Hollywood.com here and try not to fall in love.
[Photo credit: Universal Pictures]
More: 'Les Mis' Star Eddie Redmayne on Singing Professionally: 'Fear Drove This Entire Process''Les Mis' Not So Miserable: Musical Breaks Records at Christmas Box Office'Les Mis': Can Famous Faces Replace the Broadway Stars? PICS
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