At one point Netflix’s Pieces of a Woman looked like it’d have a smooth ride into awards season. Directed by Kornél Mundruczó, the movie is about a Boston couple whose lives fall apart when a home birth goes tragically wrong. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where The Crown‘s Vanessa Kirby picked up the Volpi Cup for Best Actress. Netflix picked it up and (after a brief theatrical release) it’s due to premiere tomorrow on the service.
So far, so good. But Kirby’s co-star in the movie is Shia LaBeouf – who has just become persona non grata after a bombshell lawsuit from his former partner FKA Twigs alleging extreme abusive behavior including strangulation, beatings, intentionally infecting her with an STD, and boasting about driving around LA shooting stray dogs. LaBeouf has subsequently apparently missed out on a big MCU role, is now reportedly blacklisted in Hollywood and is seeking “long term inpatient treatment”.
This left Netflix in an awkward position with Pieces of a Woman. The network quickly removed LaBeouf from its award consideration page for the movie and has been minimizing his involvement in the marketing. Now Kirby has been quizzed about LaBeouf, telling The Independent newspaper:
“I stand with all survivors of abuse and respect the courage of anyone who speaks their truth. Regarding the recent news, I can’t comment on an ongoing legal case.”
It’s a non-answer, but I suppose she’s in an incredibly difficult position as she struggles to balance the success of her (by all accounts very good) movie and the growing public opinion against the Transformers actor. It remains to be seen if audiences and critics will want to see Shia LaBeouf as a grieving husband after what we’ve recently learned about his private life, but at minimum, it should mean that he’s unlikely to be nominated for any major awards he might have been in contention for.
Whether those bad vibes will rub off on Kirby is unknown. Pieces of a Woman had many tipping her for a Best Actress win at the Academy Awards and it seems unfair that she should miss out on that because of the past actions of her co-star. But sometimes them’s the breaks in Hollywood.
Pieces of a Woman will be available to stream on Netflix on January 7th.