Unforeseen Oscars Splash: Annette Bening and Jodie Foster Propel ‘Nyad’ into the Awards Conversation 

“Nyad” is a based-on-a-true-story film following the incredible journey of 64-year-old marathon swimmer Diana Nyad, played by Annette Bening.

The narrative, inspired by Nyad’s memoir “Find a Way,” revolves around her relentless pursuit of becoming the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida. If this sounds like a familiar tale, it’s because Diana had attempted the feat 32 years earlier but fell short.

Now, with the help of her friend and training partner Bonnie Stoll, portrayed by Jodie Foster, Diana is gearing up for a second shot at aquatic glory.

An Unexpected Dive into the Deep Waters of Academy Recognition

In the grand spectacle of Oscar season, where titans like “Barbie,” “Oppenheimer,” and “Poor Things” have dominated the limelight, a surprising underdog has stealthily paddled its way into the conversation.

While the usual suspects were hogging the headlines, Annette Bening’s remarkable performance as long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad managed to create ripples of excitement in the Best Actress category, leaving even Barbie herself, Margot Robbie, out of the spotlight.

The real twist in this cinematic swim comes when the nominations are announced. Annette Bening not only snagged a spot in the fiercely competitive Best Actress category, but Jodie Foster also secured a nod in the supporting category.

A nod that some feel came at the expense of other formidable performances, like Julianne Moore in “May December,” Penélope Cruz in “Ferrari,” and Cara Jade Myers in “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

Annette Bening and Jodie Foster
Annette Bening and Jodie Foster

So, what sets “Nyad” apart? Is it an undiscovered gem, or did it simply catch the academy’s fancy with its swimming prowess? Critics have weighed in, and the consensus seems to be a nod of approval.

The film boasts a respectable 86 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating a favorable reception. However, it’s not all smooth swimming for “Nyad.”

As with any Oscar contender, there’s a hint of predictability. Nick Schager, The Daily Beast’s Obsessed critic, notes in his review, “Nyad diligently adheres to biopic conventions, to the point that every one of its ups and downs is painfully predictable.

As a result, the proceedings become slow; at 120 minutes, the film feels as long as Diana’s celebrated mission.”

Instead of making an impact with groundbreaking storytelling, “Nyad” appears to be treading the waters of standard Oscar bait.

One intriguing aspect missing from “Nyad” is the controversy surrounding Diana Nyad herself. Allegations and doubts about the veracity of Nyad’s claims regarding her 2013 swim from Florida to Cuba have circulated.

Despite the controversy and a renewed investigation into the legitimacy of her achievement, the film chooses to steer clear of this gripping real-life drama.

The omission of such a juicy subplot has left some wondering if “Nyad” missed an opportunity to add an extra layer of intrigue to its narrative.

In the vast sea of films vying for attention, “Nyad” beckons audiences to dive into a story that, while perhaps not groundbreaking, promises an engaging swim through the waters of determination, friendship, and the pursuit of extraordinary goals.

So, is “Nyad” worth watching? If you’re a fan of swimming against the current, both in the literal and metaphorical sense, and relish the talent of two acclaimed actresses, then perhaps this unexpected Oscar contender deserves a spot on your watchlist.

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