- “Bombshell,” the drama about the female employees who spoke out about Fox News boss Roger Ailes before his fall, screened for the first time Sunday.
- Critics called the film “empowering” and predicted stars like Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, and John Lithgow could win Oscars for their performances.
- We rounded up what critics and others who saw the first screening of “Bombshell” had to say.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
“Bombshell” screened for the first time on Sunday and film critics are already predicting Oscar nominations.
The movie, directed by Jay Roach, follows the stories of two women, Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson, who accused Roger Ailes of sexual harassment before he stepped down as Fox News CEO in 2016. Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman star as Kelly and Carlson.
The film deals with the fall of a media mogul, the culture of Fox News, and the sensitive topic of sexual harassment, and so far it’s generated rave reviews and few complaints thanks to performances by its star-studded cast.
Variety reporters Marc Malkin and Angelique Jackson said Theron’s performance as Megyn Kelly could earn her a second Oscar.
“Up until Sunday, it seemed like Renée Zellweger was going to sail through awards season picking up one honor after another before taking home her second Academy Award in February,” Malkin and Jackson wrote. “However, Theron could be serious competition for Zellweger.”
Theron reportedly worked to portray Kelly as accurately as possible, even altering her voice to match the anchor’s.
“The entire cast is incredible but Charlize disappears into the role of Megyn,” Hollywood Reporter senior film editor Piya Sinha-Roy wrote. “That Oscar race just got more interesting.”
Los Angeles Times film critic Katie Walsh said the “Bombshell” main characters are “morally complex” heroines who surprise viewers in their attempts to do the right thing. Walsh called Theron’s performance “unreal.”
Critics are also buzzing about Margot Robbie for her supporting performance as a Fox employee. Her character is a fictional composite of several women, but Robbie still tackles “the film’s most significant sex-harassment scene,” New York Times writer Kyle Buchanan wrote in a tweet.
Variety predicted Kidman could pick up a supporting actress nomination and that John Lithgow, who plays Ailes, is a strong contender for best supporting actor.
Kara Warner, who writes for People Magazine, described the film as “powerful,” “intense,” “appropriately uncomfortable,” and “empowering.” Scott Mantz, the cofounder of the LA Online Film Critics Society, also said “Bombshell” is empowering and called out Theron, Kidman, and Robbie for their “superb” performances.”
Some fellow actors and writers who attended the screening also sung the cast’s praises.
Here’s what those in the audience had to say about “Bombshell”:
BOMBSHELL will make a convincing case for the VICE slot in the Best Picture race. Everything here is double-underlined (when the dominoes start to fall for the Murdochs, we literally see a character flick a domino over) but it plays effectively
— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) October 14, 2019
— Marc Malkin (@marcmalkin) October 14, 2019
#BombshellMovie – I haven’t had my blood boiling in a movie for a while. It’s powerful, it’ll get you to your core and it’ll fire you the hell up.
The entire cast is incredible but Charlize disappears into the role of Megyn. That Oscar race just got more interesting. pic.twitter.com/f9WqaFaFu5
— Piya Sinha-Roy (@PiyaSRoy) October 14, 2019
#Bombshell is fascinating: a spiky, rollicking & relentless legal thriller. I love how morally complex the filmmakers and actors allow the characters to be; they're not the heroines you expect, they're just trying to do right. Charlize is unreal & Kazu Hiro's makeup is insane.
— Katie Walsh (@katiewalshstx) October 14, 2019
— Kara Warner (@karawarner) October 14, 2019
BOMBSHELL: Riveting, engrossing, essential & empowering procedural about the fall of Fox News topper Roger Ailes starts strong & gets more potent as it progresses. *Superb* performances from #CharlizeTheron #NicoleKidman & #MargotRobbie! #Bombshell is a terrific movie. pic.twitter.com/dcLVzPStAO
— Scott Mantz (@MovieMantz) October 14, 2019
The whole supporting cast is good. There are so many channels of recognizable faces. https://t.co/D5SXl85psL
— Sasha Stone (@AwardsDaily) October 14, 2019
— Kelly Seal (@KellySeal) October 14, 2019
“I was shit scared” Charlize says about signing on to produce and star as Megyn Kelly in a movie detailing the horrors women endured at Fox News. #BombshellMovie broke my heart pic.twitter.com/jVJfH3ua7i
— Shaya Tayefe Mohajer (@Shaya_in_LA) October 14, 2019
— Julian Curtis (@thisguyjules) October 13, 2019
Charlize Theron gives one of the greatest performances of her career in #BombshellMovie
— Nicholas Verso (@NickVerso) October 14, 2019