It's turning out to be another great year for Tilda Swinton. In February, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” premiered to raves at the Berlin Film Festival and made a ton of money in the months following. Cannes 2013 player “Only Lovers Left Alive” gained more critical traction as it continued to play around the world, eventually earning Swinton a surprise Best Female Lead Independent Spirit Award nomination. She filmed a key role in Judd Apatow's new Amy Schumer comedy “Trainwrecked,” set for theaters in 2015, and re-teamed with old buddy George Clooney and the Coen brothers for the comedy “Hail Caesar!,” which is currently filming and scheduled to debut in 2016. Perhaps most importantly, her performance in Bong Joon-ho's “Snowpiercer” finally saw the light of day stateside.
Following a summer 2013 debut in Bong's native South Korea, the post-apocalyptic thriller was released in most of the world beginning in January and eventually found its way to American shores in June. While it grossed $4.5 million in theaters, it made an additional $6.45 million on VOD and earned rave reviews. Distributor RADiUS-TWC was also smart enough to make it the first official screener sent to Academy members at the end of August, which brings us back to Swinton.
If any performance from “Snowpiercer” is going to be recognized by Oscar voters – actually demands to be recognized – it's Swinton's work as Mason, the bad cop on “Snowpiercer's” non-stop class divided train. Next to Meryl Streep and Daniel Day-Lewis, there are few actors who can match Swinton's ability to transform herself for a dramatic role, and Mason is clearly one of her best creations. Part Margaret Thatcher, part Muammar Gaddafi and part Roxie Collie Laybourne, Mason is as memorable a character you'll find on screen over the past year. Swinton spins Mason's inherent desperation and insane justification for her actions masterfully as our heroes (Chris Evans, Jamie Bell and Octavia Spencer, among others) wonder if this monster can ever be trusted (hint: probably not).
The Best Supporting Actress field may have become slightly more competitive in recent weeks, but if SAG and/or the HFPA recognize her (“Snowpiercer” was ineligible for Spirits), the Oscar winner might just find her way back to the Dolby Theater in February. And if she does? That early screener was probably a big reason why.
With that in mind, and before you settle down for a protein bar Thanksgiving, enjoy the “exclusive” .gif of Swinton from “Snowpiercer” below and ponder if Swinton's 2015 will be as memorable as her 2014.