Wes Anderson just won the first Oscar of his career for a film whose release went unnoticed

There are few directors with such a recognizable identity that their style can be recognized at first glance. Wes Anderson is one of them, he has left his mark on the history of cinema for almost three decades. However, the Texas director was never rewarded for his mastery of extremely stylized shots, nor for his almost always hilarious dialogue. Only The Grand Budapest Hotel, released in 2014, which many consider his masterpiece, was noticed by the Academy of Oscars and awarded him with several awards: those for the best costumes, the best hairstyles and the best make-up, the best music for Alexandre Desplat and the best decorations. So much for his teams, but nothing for Wes Anderson, who was beaten to the spot by Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman, a huge Academy favorite that year.

Today, Wes Anderson gets his revenge in the most delicious way. To everyone's surprise, The Amazing Story of Henry Sugar won Best Short Feature, despite a release that went almost unnoticed and a director who didn't receive his statuette, but was preoccupied with his next film. Back to the little gem of cinema, available on Netflix.

Wes Anderson THE MARVELOUS STORY OF HENRY SUGAR Benedict Cumberbatch 2023 Netflix

© Netflix / Courtesy of the Everett Collection

Henry Sugar's wonderful story, the catalyst for Wes Anderson's work

We left Wes Anderson in 2023 with his Asteroid City which divided us and which, despite a little brilliance, especially in the black and white scenes shot behind closed cinema doors, moved us hard. A sentiment apparently shared by members of the Oscar Academy, who snubbed the film during their various selections. It's nothing new: Wes Anderson has never won an Oscar for Best Picture or Best Director in his nearly 30-year career, although his filmography is appreciated and even praised by moviegoers around the world.

We have to believe that this is another film that attracted the attention of the Oscars this year: the medium-length film The Amazing Story of Henry Sugar, released in September 2023 on Netflix, as well as three other short films commissioned by Wes Anderson from the platform (namely, under the titles The Swan, The Rat Taker and Venom). Previewed at the Venice Film Festival, the 41-minute film received critical acclaim and a limited release in US theaters. With actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Dev Patel, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley in front of the camera, the director worked on an adaptation of part of the collection of short stories by Roald Dahl called The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More.

After watching The Amazing Story of Henry Sugar, it's easy to understand his win at the 96th Academy Awards. In less than an hour, the film catalyzes all the ingredients that make up the essence of his film, reminiscent, in certain respects, of his animated works, including the excellent Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009, also adapted by Roald Dahl) and the unforgettable Isle of Dogs (2018), both shot in stop-motion. For this new film, Wes Anderson also worked on creating an animated film, like an animated script to predict every camera movement, like every gesture of the actors.

The story follows the adventures of wealthy Henry Sugar (Benedict Cumberbatch), addicted to gambling, as he learns about the existence of a guru who can see without using his eyes. Since then, he began to learn this mystical ability. A story that allows the director to return to the essence of his style with a reduced cast and minimal shooting time, without renouncing the cinematic universe built throughout his career.

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