Zac Efron’s New True Story Tragedy Is Being Called A Knockout, Already Leading The Oscars?

By Douglas Helm | Published

zac efron

It’s probably a little early to make Oscar predictions, but the early preview reviews for Zac Efron’s new film The Iron Claw are in, and it looks like it may be a contender (via IndieWire). The gripping A24 sports drama premiered in Dallas before its LA critic screening, and the reactions are all glowing for Efron’s performance, the direction, the story, and the performances from the rest of the cast. A24 is no stranger to giving us prestige hits, and this late 2023 entry seems to be checking all of the boxes.

The Iron Claw Tells The Story Of A Real Life Wrestling Family

Sean Durkin wrote and directed Zac Efron’s The Iron Claw, which recounts the tumultuous and Icarus-like rise and fall of the Von Erich wrestling family. Along with Efron, the cast features Jeremy Allen White, Holt McCallany, Harris Dickinson, and Maura Tierney. McCallany portrays the family patriarch Fritz Von Erich, who cemented his legacy as a villainous heel in the world of wrestling.

The family legacy is carried on by his sons, but the family is believed to be cursed due to the tragic deaths of many of his children. Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, and Harris Dickson take on the roles of Kevin, Kerry, and David Von Erich, some of Fritz’s sons. Maura Tierney portrays the family matriarch Doris Von Erich in The Iron Claw.

Zac Efron’s Physical Transformation

Beyond the engaging and tragic storyline, the film has been getting a lot of attention because of the incredible physical transformations of its leads. Zac Efron and Jeremy Allen White, in particular, have gone through extreme workouts and dieting to achieve the bulkier frames of the Von Erich brothers. Of course, these types of incredible transformations often draw the attention of Oscar voters, and The Iron Claw’s weighty material makes it all the more likely to be a big nominee in the Oscar race this year.

Similar Oscar-Winning Transformations

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Zac Efron and Jeremy Allen White’s major transformations for The Iron Claw call to mind other highly transformative performances like Charlize Theron in Monster or Christian Bale in The Fighter. Both of these were Oscar-winning performances that required the actors to transform physically while also giving incredibly emotional performances. In fact, some of the early reactions have compared the film to other combat-based tragedies like The Wrestler and The Fighter.

The Most Anticipated Release Of The Year?

Comparing Zac Efron’s The Iron Claw to prestige dramas like The Wrestler and The Fighter is lofty praise indeed, so it certainly bodes well for the film from an awards standpoint. The gradually increasing hype, the A24 name, and the buzzy cast should also help this film to be another indie success from a commercial standpoint for A24. Needless to say, this is quickly becoming one of the most anticipated upcoming theatrical releases to cap off the year.

The Iron Claw Lands In Theaters December 22

We won’t have too much longer to wait to see Sean Durkin’s film hit the big screen. You’ll be able to see for yourself if Zac Efron and the rest of the cast turned in award-worthy performances when The Iron Claw comes to theaters around the country. Mark your calendars for Friday, December 22, if you want to catch it opening weekend.