Fourteen months after Call Me by Your Name made its Sundance Film Festival debut, director Luca Guadagnino and stars Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer enjoyed a final victory lap for the film on Wednesday evening.
“I am proud like a mother hen,” Guadagnino told Vanity Fair at a celebration co-hosted by Editor-in-Chief Radhika Jones and Barneys New York C.E.O. Daniella Vitale. His poignant coming-of-age romance—adapted by James Ivory from André Aciman’s novel—enters Sunday’s Academy Awards with four nominations, for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Song.
Though the awards circuit can seem daunting, the Italian filmmaker has been on the road with the Sony Pictures Classics drama for so long that he has befriended a large swathe of the peers he will see this weekend. “So something that might have been new and weird and compelling is now very familiar and a good feeling.”
Surveying his friends inside the Chateau Marmont penthouse, Guadagnino said, “I love to be familiar and glamorous.” Asked about his preparation for Sunday, the filmmaker said, “I have been plotting the perfect tuxedo with my friends at Prada. That is the only thing I have done for Sunday. Otherwise, I am going to celebrate all of the people who deserve to win.”
Armie Hammer shared the same sentiment, saying that the tone of the season shifted from competitive to camaraderie in January, at a private dinner attended by all of the men nominated for Golden Globes this year.
“We all sat down, had a meal, and told funny stories. Like we all went around the table and said what happened to us when we were 21 years old,” Hammer said. “It was a really humanizing thing. So now, whenever I see one of those guys, it’s not the competition, it’s your buddy.”
Chalamet, who is just 22 years old, said he particularly bonded with another awards-season first-timer—Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya—on the Oscar circuit.
“Get Out is one of my favorite movies of the year and Daniel has been the one person that I can consistently look at, lock eyes with, and ask, ‘What the fuck is happening right now?’ Because these are totally surreal environments to be in,” Chalamet said.
Though awards pundits have predicted that The Shape of Water or Get Out could take the best-picture title, Sony Pictures Classics heads Michael Barker and Tom Bernard have hope that Call Me by Your Name could come out victorious on Sunday night.
“I told them that they need to have a speech ready,” Barker told Vanity Fair. “Looking at the math, there are the voters going with Three Billboards,Dunkirk,Shape of Water, and Lady Bird. I think that voting has been split, and there are about 800 new Academy voters this year, who are young. And this film seems to resonate especially with the young demographic. The good thing about this year, though, is that all the movies nominated are movies of substance.”
Added Bernard, who studies Oscar outcomes, “If it’s a Crash year, the Oscar will go to Three Billboards. If it’s a 12 Years a Slave year, it will go to Get Out. And if it’s a Spotlight year, it will go to Call Me by Your Name. The cultural climate has so much impact on what wins, and this is a weird year for a lot of reasons.”
Regardless, Bernard said that even a nomination goes a long way for artistic indies.
“It’s easy to be cynical about awards, but the Oscars mean a lot with these particular films because they give longevity and validation to high-quality films that deserve to be remembered. It’s especially great to be at the Oscars with a movie like Call Me by Your Name because that’s not a movie that most people would assume would be nominated for best picture.”
In that sense, Call Me by Your Name doesn’t need an Oscar to complete its Hollywood ending.
Recalling previous years Sony Pictures Classics had a film in the best-picture category, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Capote, Barker said he had to manage tense intra-production relationships. “I remember being up until 4 in the morning just trying to choreograph 40 seats—so that the distributor wouldn’t be sitting next to another distributor he did not get along with and so on. But with these guys, it has been great because it is a movie where everyone actually liked each other. Timmy’s like the younger brother. Armie’s like the older brother. And Luca is like the ringleader.”
After Sunday night, Guadagnino will return to Milan to finish work on Suspiria—the ballet-drama reuniting him with his A Bigger Splash stars Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton—and embark on an entirely different endeavor: interior design.
“I am finishing two houses and I am starting a shop in Rome,” said Guadagnino. “I started interior design two years ago. It’s my new job. I love it. It gives me a lot of energy. When I do it, I am relaxed.”
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