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Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems

Awards season is coming in ablazin’ and the Best Actor category is especially shaping up to be an exciting race this year! Among the early potential contenders is Adam Sandler, who could receive his first Oscar nomination this year for his performance as a New York City diamond jeweler in the upcoming Safdie Brothers film Uncut Gems.

The movie has been running the film festival circuit, starting with its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last month. When Adam Sandler walked the red carpet at the New York Film Festival Thursday night, Variety talked about the Oscar buzz with him. Here’s what he said:

I don’t even know what to say; it’s nice, but I just want to do as good of a job as I can. I love the movie, and whatever happens, what can I do? It’s neat that they say that, but what can I do? I really loved every day at work. I worked hard. When I do my comedies, I work hard at those. They mean a lot to me. It was no different than when I did this movie.

How humble! It must be tough to answer questions such as these as award season begins to head into full gear. Actors don’t make movies to be part of contests and golden trophy battles, but that’s where the industry goes this time of year. Adam Sandler points out that while he’s getting high praise for Uncut Gems, he works hard on all his films – even perhaps what the Academy would call “dumb” comedies. So just the same, he was passionate in this role and it feels nice to be recognized.

Uncut Gems is an under-the-radar end of 2019 film by the creatives behind the bonkers Good Time, starring Robert Pattinson. Adam Sandler plays Howard Ratner, a Diamond District dealer who ends up in debt following gambling, adultery, and such scandalous activities in New York City. Sandler continued with these words:

It’s a definite love letter to that neighborhood, to 47th street and the Diamond District. It’s exciting when you see it; it’s such a big part of New York. It’s a historic place, and not too many things have been shot there. When I prepared for the movie, I learned a lot about jewelry, and I met a lot of jewelers. I learned a lot about gambling, and I met a lot of gamblers. That’s been around a long time, both things. There’s an obsession with it there that I really tried to learn.

Uncut Gems also stars Frozen’s Idina Menzel, LaKeith Stanfield from Sorry to Bother You, Boston Celtics basketball player Kevin Garnett as himself, and newcomer Julia Fox. The movie opened at Toronto to rave reviews, currently with a 95% Rotten Tomatoes score. Many citing Adam Sandler’s role as a highlight of the movie.

Among other actors that could be in contention for Best Actor this year are Ford v. Ferrari’s Christian Bale and Matt Damon, Robert De Niro for Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, Leonardo DiCaprio for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Adam Driver for The Marriage Story or The Report. There’s also been buzz for Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in Joker and there’s always surprises that jump in the mix.

At the moment, Adam Sandler isn’t a frontrunner per se, but a nomination is on the table. He was previously snubbed for a nomination for Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love, so maybe Uncut Gems will be the actor’s redemption.

Check out Uncut Gems in theaters on December 13.

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