Bryan Cranston's bid for the best actor academy award depicts the struggles of the brilliant and highly successful screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in Trumbo directed by Jay Roach, a primarily comedy director. While this movie had some comedy beats and often ludicrous moments brought to screen it also came off as a drama about a man against oppression.
One of the best parts about a biopic is the history lesson while also being entertained. I was unfortunately ignorant about the large body of work Dalton Trumbo was responsible for including academy award winning screenplays for The Brave One and Roman Holiday. Of course Trumbo had to give writer credit for these screenplays to other writers or pseudonyms because of his blacklist status.
Bryan Cranston's performance was amazing as always. His accent and entire demeanor took away the famous actor and meth dealer and gave us a hard drinking, chain smoking writer whose dedication overcame censorship but at the cost of his family and friends. Cranston should receive a nomination but even his great speech at the end won't push him past some other great performances that are bound to pop up later in the oscar season.
The supporting cast was also pretty sharp, Helen Mirren as gossip columnist and former star Hedda Hopper played an antagonist that pushed the suppression of supposed communist attitudes in Hollywood. Louis C.K. played the cancer stricken fellow writer Arlen Hird and it is always nice to see this great comedian get solid, dramatic roles. Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire) played the actor Edward G. Robinson who eventually caved under the pressure of accusations and through many of the Hollywood 10 under the bus.
As Trumbo's family, Diane Lane and Elle Fanning played the emotional core as Trumbo's wife and daughter respectively. They captured the struggle as Trumbo had to employ his family to drop of scripts, answer phone calls, and receive packages. John Goodman also had some great lines as a crap movie producer with one exceptional scene involving a baseball bat.
The screenplay was certainly remarkable fitting for a movie about such a great screenwriter but other than that and the lead performance, I don't see any other awards for this movie. 7 out of 10 stars as it was slow in the first act before the real comedy got started.