Is it folly to suggest The Bling Ring could be a contender for the major awards this year?
The alarm bells started ringing when Sofia Coppola, the director of Lost in Translation and Somewhere, announced she would be adapting the story of a group of internet savvy Los Angeles burglars for the big-screen. Just as David Fincher's Facebook tale The Social Network vied for the top awards at the Oscars and Golden Globes, the idea of Coppola's The Bling Ring seemed likely to chime with the social media generation, and a new wave of younger Academy voters.
Unsurprisingly, the Cannes Film Festival welcomed Coppola and her new movie with open arms for this year's event, where it will make its worldwide premiere. That said, should The Bling Ring pull in nominations for this year's awards season, it would represent a very different type of awards' success story. Firstly, its lead actress Emma Watson is hardly an awards' magnet, having really only starred in the Harry Potter franchise and a couple of lightweight dramas. Secondly, it features appearances from the likes of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan in its examination of America's obsession with celebrity culture and the A-list mecca that is Los Angeles. Though we could imagine it scoring nods for the Globes, it would be a massive feat should The Bling Ring compete at the Oscars. However, it does have one thing in its favour: the director.
Emma Watson [L] and Paris Hilton [R] Both Appear In Sofia Coppola's 'The Bling Ring'
Sofia Coppola, the daughter of one Mr Francis Ford Coppola, received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Lost in Translation and became the first American woman to be nominated for Best Director. In other words, the Academy likes her, and so do the festivals. In 2010, she became the first American woman to win the Golden Lion, the top prize at the Venice Film Festival. Her movies are slick and subtly powerful and she has a serious knack for making some ingenuous casting decisions. The on-screen chemistry between Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation was palpable, while having Stephen Dorff lead Somewhere just worked. Could she have done it again with Emma Watson and Taissa Farmiga in The Bling Ring? Time will tell.
The new movie is based on actual events, centered around the group of Californian teenagers who burgled the homes of several celebrities including Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Audrina Patridge, Rachel Bilson and Orlando Bloom in 2008 and 2009, stealing around $3 million in cash and belongings. At the time, Variety journalist Nancy Jo Sales called the events "completely unprecedented in the history of Hollywood." Essentially, the group found the houses of their targets using Google Maps and the website celebrityaddressaeriel.com, determining when the inhabitants would be away by researching their schedules through websites including Facebook and Twitter. It would appear pretty unnerving and certainly not movie material had the criminals been 40-year-old men, though the Bling Ring were fashionable, technology savvy teenagers.
The Hills star Audrina Patridge had her passport, laptop computer and custom fit jeans stolen while she attended the Oscars ceremony. She posted CCTV footage of the Bling Ring thieves online (below), though it only added to the mystique surrounding the group and they went on to rob the house of Bilson, Brian Austin Green and Megan Fox and Lohan.
The Bling Ring hits theaters in the U.S. on June 14, 2014.