Ellen Burstyn and Shia LaBeouf costar in Netflix's awards hopeful.

By Joey Nolfi
November 17, 2020 at 09:00 AM EST
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The Oscar prospects for Pieces of a Woman are falling into place.

Two months after the film stormed the fall festival circuit, Netflix unveiled Tuesday the first trailer for the upcoming drama, which has been widely touted as a potential awards vehicle for lead actress Vanessa Kirby (The Crown) and stellar supporting performer Ellen Burstyn.

Opening with one of the most controversial scenes of the year involving a harrowing 30-minute birth sequence created in one take, Pieces of a Woman follows a young Boston couple, Martha and Sean (Kirby, Shia LaBeouf), whose lives are shattered after the botched the delivery of their child ends in unimaginable tragedy.

What follows is a mix of personal melodrama atop an intense legal battle against a midwife (Molly Parker), as Martha attempts to cling to the remnants of her relationship with both her lover and her domineering mother (Burstyn) as she learns to live alongside her devastating loss.

In addition to scoring standout reviews out of the awards-positioning Toronto International Film Festival in September, Pieces of a Woman generated major Oscar heat at the Venice International Film Festival in August, where Kirby won the prestigious Volpi Cup for Best Actress which, in the recent past, has gone to Oscar winners or nominees like Emma Stone (La La Land), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), and Helen Mirren (The Queen).

"It was really important for me to try to portray a real woman, not a movie version of this where the actress is made-up the very next day. I just wanted there to be no vanities through all of it in any way," Kirby previously told EW of diving into the role. "I wanted to feel the authenticity of that experience, because to not do that would be betraying the experience that these women have had."

Pieces of a Woman — directed by Kornél Mundruczó and co-starring Iliza Schlesinger, Succession's Sarah Snook, Jimmie Fails, and Benny Safdie — releases Dec. 30 in select theaters before its Netflix streaming debut on Jan. 7. Watch the film's first trailer above.

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