Throughout the awards season chatter so far, semi-autobiographical drama HONEY BOY, directed by Alma Har’el and written by Shia LaBeouf, has been touted as a contender that could rise through the ranks.
While LaBeouf has been talked about for his acting work in the film, playing the fictitious version of his father in the character of James Lort, there’s another nomination folks should consider in their conversations: Best Original Screenplay.
There’s no doubt that Shia LaBeouf poured a lot of heart and soul into both his acting and writing in HONEY BOY, but that latter hasn’t been focused on as much. And you have to wonder if that might be the film’s better shot at reaching awards season glory at this point, especially after the Golden Globes shut the film out in terms of nominations.
Other awards voting boards, like the Critics' Choice Awards and the Independent Spirit Awards, have given the film some love for both LaBeouf's and young Noah Jupe’s performances. And in the case of the latter awards board, Alma Har’el actually landed a Best Director nomination to reward her vision of Shia LaBeouf’s screenplay.
These could be enough to keep HONEY BOY in the Oscar® running for the moment, as the lack of Golden Globes nominations might force the Academy and other boards to examine the film a little harder. Should this be the case, there’s no reason that LaBeouf couldn’t be considered for a Best Original Screenplay nod, which some may consider a greater achievement than one for Best Actor.
In HONEY BOY’s creation, Shia LaBeouf took his life of pain and conflict and spun a cathartic, moving story that actually brought him and his father together for the first time in almost a decade. Writing the film as part of his rehab program, LaBeouf put a lot of personal energy into the film, ultimately allowing him to confront his demons.
On top of the stellar work the film displays from HONEY BOY’s script, the personal story of how Shia LaBeouf turned that life into art is something that could help awards season voters keep the film fresh in their mind. Also, it’s all the more impressive when an author of such material can portray it with an objective performance as LaBeouf did, which only adds more fuel to the cinematic fire this film is kindling with critics.
It’s still fairly early in the awards season, so all options are still pretty wide open. It’d be amazing to see Shia LaBeouf get a Best Actor or even Best Supporting Actor nod for HONEY BOY at the Oscars® — but a potential Best Original Screenplay nomination would be even more spectacular.
Not only would it be a surprise, but in a year that’s seen the actor’s career in one of its best forms, adding his skills as an award nominated/winning writer to the table would be a nice cherry on top of this comeback sundae.
HONEY BOY is part of the AMC Artisan Films series and is now playing in select theatres. Check showtimes at an AMC near you today.