"The Comedian" getting Oscar-buzz for De Niro and a World Premiere at AFI Film Festival

Deniro on the set of the recently wrapped "The Comedian"

AFI has just announced that Taylor Hackford's "The Comedian" will premiere on Thursday November 10th at AFI Film Festival. I have been tracking the film relentlessly the last few months, here are a few things I have had to say about this very promising performance from De Niro.

Here is what I had to say on 10.5.16

"Given that I'm a diehard Robert De Niro fan and I have been disheartened the last couple of decades by his lack of quality roles, that hasn't stopped me from following whatever projects he signs on to because, well, I'm a hopeful person and I know the man still has it in him to deliver something special. Look what he did in "Silver Linings Playbook," such a comic, resonant and touching performance which earned him a well-deserved Oscar nomination."

"With all that in mind I have been following "The Comedian" with a close eye for a couple of years now. At some point Mike Newell was supposed to direct the film, with a script by Comedian Jeff Ross no less, finally Taylor Hackford ("Ray") took over. The film began production this past February. I did not expect it to get released this year, but, lo and behold, it was just announced that Sony Pictures Classics has so much confidence in the film that it will have an Oscar qualifying run this coming December! They test screened it a week ago and word on Twitter was that it was "very funny" and De Niro "killed it." Word of mouth was so encouraging it seems that Sony believes it should qualify for awards season.

"The film tracks the highs and lows, the life and times if you will, of an aging insult comic. If that isn't enough, Harvey Keitel co-stars and we all know the legendary cinematic relationship both actors had with Scorsese back in the 70s with "Taxi Driver" and "Mean Streets." Hackford whose credits as a director include "An Officer and a Gentleman," successfully directed Jamie Foxx to Oscar glory in 2004 with "Ray." Here's hoping he does the same for De Niro this year. Wouldn't that be something?"