Jessica Chastain and Peter Sarsgaard have both officially entered the Oscar race for their extraordinary performances in Michel Franco’s “Memory.” However, the awards campaign has announced that Sarsgaard’s riveting turn as a man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease will be submitted for supporting actor consideration at the major ceremonies, including the Golden Globes, SAG and Academy Awards. His Oscar-winning co-star Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”) will vie for lead actress.
Written and directed by Franco, the film was recently acquired by Ketchup Entertainment for North American distribution and will receive an Oscar-qualifying run in December. It premiered at the 80th Venice Film Festival, where Sarsgaard received the Volpi Cup for best actor from the Jury, joining the ranks of past honorees such as Brad Pitt (“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”) and River Phoenix (“My Own Private Idaho”). It was later screened at the Toronto, SCAD and AFI Film Fest. In supporting, Sarsgaard, who’s never been nominated despite strong works in “Shattered Glass” (2003), “Kinsey” (2004) and “An Education” (2009), will face off against the likes of Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”), Ryan Gosling (“Barbie”) and Robert DeNiro (“Killers of the Flower Moon”). Chastain will have to find room in a stacked race that includes Emma Stone (“Poor Things”), Carey Mulligan (“Maestro”) and Natalie Portman (“May December”).
The film tells the story of Sylvia (Chastain), a social worker who leads a simple and structured life until Saul (Sarsgaard) follows her home from their high school reunion. Their surprise encounter profoundly impacts both of them as they open the door to memories, challenges and revelations between one another.
“‘Memory’ delivers a poignant journey into the depths of human emotion anchored by fantastic performances,” says Gareth West, CEO of Ketchup Entertainment. “We are delighted to collaborate with such passionate filmmakers on bringing this movie to audiences in the US.”
With a blend of Jonathan Demme’s “Rachel Getting Married” and Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland’s “Still Alice,” the film is an actor’s showcase, with Chastain and Sarsgaard delivering two of their most powerful performances. While a newer distributor may struggle against the deep pockets of streamers, the ongoing SAG strike has held many back from campaigning. However, “Memory” has a SAG-AFTRA Interim agreement, which allows the actors to promote the film.
The film is produced by Teorema in collaboration with High Frequency Entertainment, and in association with Screen Capital / Screen One, Mubi, and Case Study Films.
Producers are Franco, Eréndira Núñez Larios, Alex Orlovsky and Duncan Montgomery. Executive producers are Moisés Chiver and Paula Perez Manzanedo; for High Frequency Entertainment, Jack Selby; for Screen One, Joyce Zylberberg, Tatiana Emden, Ralph Haiek, and Patricio Rabuffetti; for MUBI, Jason Ropell and Efe Cakarel; for The Match Factory, Michael Weber.
Bart Walker and Jay Cohen at Gersh negotiated the deal with Gareth West.