Toronto Awards Analysis: ‘Dumb Money’ Could Ride Populist Story to Screenplay, Ensemble Recognition

Dumb Money, a crowd-pleasing dramedy about the “short squeeze” of GameStop stock during the darkest days of the pandemic and really about the brewing frustration with financial inequality in America that has defined much of the 21st century, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival Friday night. The premiere at the Roy Thomson Hall marks what could be the beginning of an awards season push.

Adapted from Ben Mezrich’s 2021 book The Antisocial Network by Rebecca Angelo and Lauren Schuker Blum and directed by Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya), the film seems first and foremost a commercial play — it’s a relatively low-budget film ($30 million, reportedly) with a high potential upside.

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Like other recent dramedies about the financial system — from The Wolf of Wall Street to The Big Short — it takes complex subject matter and makes it amusing and digestible for anyone. This film is not as polished as those earlier examples and seems a longer shot to break into the top Oscar categories that they did. But its timely, populist message and fast-paced, playful delivery could attract the interest of the Academy’s writers branch. And a best ensemble SAG Award nomination — cast members include Paul Dano, Shailene Woodley, Seth Rogen, Pete Davidson, Nick Offerman, Sebastian Stan, America Ferrera and Vincent D’Onofrio — does not seem out of the question either.

Dumb Money will be released on a limited basis on Sept. 15 and widely on Sept. 29.

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