The One Academy Award Kumail Nanjiani Hopes The Big Sick Can Win

The Big Sick

The Big Sick has been enjoying a spectacular year, on every conceivable level. The romantic-comedy with a melancholic medical underbelly has been widely praised by critics since making its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January. And it has collected $51 million worldwide thanks to incredible word of mouth from audiences all summer long. There has been talk of The Big Sick holding its own in the upcoming Oscar race, so when we had an opportunity to interview star and co-writer Kumail Nanjiani on behalf of The LEGO Ninjago Movie, we asked him what was the one Oscar he'd LOVE to see The Big Sick walk away with on the night of the Academy Awards. He told us:

Best Picture. Is that okay? Can I say that? I just feel like, I mean, it's all been so good that I feel like asking for anything more, it just feels ungrateful. It's already been so beyond anything. I don't know, I think Holly [Hunter] and Ray [Romano] are so good in the movie, and it would be great if their work was recognized. Holly obviously has been there a lot. She's won, and she's been nominated a few times, but Ray is so good in it too. I would really, really love it if those guys were recognized.

Anything is possible, right? The Big Sick remains in the conversation as we start to whittle down possible contenders in different categories. You basically hear this and Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk as the two movies who opened in the early half of 2017 as being strong enough performers to stay in the race as the Oscar marathon heats up.

In The Big Sick, Kumail Nanjiani basically plays himself, a Pakistani comedian who meets and falls in love with Emily, a non-Muslim woman, causing problems at home with his traditional Muslim family. The movie connects on an emotional level with audiences because it's based on the actual courtship of Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) and his actual wife, Emily V. Gordon.

Holly Hunter and Ray Romano enter the story later, playing the parents of Emily's on-screen persona (portrayed in The Big Sick by Zoe Kazan). There's a twist. I'll leave it to the trailer to reveal it, if you haven't yet seen the film.

Now the ball is in Lionsgate and Amazon Studios' court. Kumail Nanjiani isn't too far off when he says that The Big Sick should deserve Best Picture consideration. But it takes a lot of effort for a studio to promote a film for Oscar consideration, especially when the movie makes a splash in January, and needs to be refreshed in the minds of forgetful voters who are distracted by the latest shiny film to land on their desk.

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Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.