John Carney’s musical-comedy “Flora and Son,” which was acquired by Apple Original Films after its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, is one of the streamer’s multiple awards contenders this year, most notably for best original song.
With 18 original songs in the feature, deciding which one to put up for Academy consideration was a daunting task. Variety has learned that Apple will submit the “High Life” track composed by Carney, Gary Clark and star Eve Hewson. The song is performed in the movie by Hewson, Orén Kinlan, Jack Reynor and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Oscars predictions in all categories.
“Flora and Son” tells the story of Flora, a single mother living in Dublin who has trouble with her estranged son Max (Kinlan). When trying to find a hobby for him to stay out of trouble, Flora rescues an old guitar with the help of a Los Angeles-based online guitar teacher, discovering that one person’s rubbish can be another person’s salvation.
“It was supposed to be this weird family on stage,” Carney tells Variety. “The son rapping, Flora playing guitar badly and a guy in LA who’s mic’d up his drummer. And a failed rockstar in Dublin, who didn’t make it and now lives in his grandmother’s house, playing the bass. I loved the idea of walking past that bar and looking in and going, ‘What the actual fuck is going on in there?’ Then, somebody would say, ‘That’s Flora from the flats and her son.’ To me, that was just a great story. But also believable. That’s the shit you get in Dublin. That’s why we love it here. In music, the stories are everywhere in Dublin.”
In addition to original song, Apple will submit the movie for multiple categories: best picture (Anthony Bregman, John Carney, Peter Cron, Rebecca O’Flanagan, Robert Walpole), director (Carney), actress (Hewson), supporting actor (Gordon-Levitt, Kinlan, Reynor), original screenplay (Carney), production design (Ashleigh Jeffers, Orla Deeley), cinematography (John Conroy), costume design (Triona Lillis), film editing (Stephen O’Connell), makeup and hairstyling (Lyndsey Herron, Barbara Conway), sound (Ken Galvin, Roer Flanagan, Dominic Lawrence), visual effects (Hubert Montag) and original score (Clark and Carney).
In Variety’s review of the film, chief film critic Owen Gleiberman writes: “It’s catchy and touching, it weaves the music into the story with a spontaneity that can leave you laughing with pleasure, and it navigates an honest path from despair to belief, which is Carney’s disarmingly sweet calling card.”
Previous Carney movies have been embraced by the music branch, including “Once” (2007) with the Oscar-winning “Falling Slowly” and “Begin Again” (2013) with the track “Lost Stars.”
“Flora and Son” opens in theaters on Sept. 22.
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