Margot Robbie may soon have a little gold man in her hands if the Oscar buzz surrounding her latest role as Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding is anything to go by.
The Australian actress’s performance in the biopic I, Tonya is generating serious awards season hype after it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this week.
According to critics, Robbie finds comedy and humanity in Harding – the notorious Olympic US skater whose famous rivalry with fellow American Nancy Kerrigan ended with the latter being attacked with a baton.
The film is the biggest acquisition of the film festival, selling for $US5 million ($A6.2 million).
Director Craig Gillespie’s film was the hottest property in Toronto, with many predicting Oscar nominations for Robbie and co-star Allison Janney, who plays Harding’s mother, LaVona Golden.
US entertainment journalist Scott Menzel said on Twitter the film was a “real surprise”.
“A fascinating and funny look into the life of Tonya Harding. Robbie is terrific as is Janney,” he wrote.
Vanity Fair deemed Robbie’s performance “gripping and powerful”, successfully capturing Harding across a broad time period – from age 15 to 47.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Robbie said while makeup and costumes helped the transformation, the biggest challenge was learning to ice skate convincingly.
“I really underestimated how difficult it would be, it’s such a hard sport … you need to make it look effortless and it’s anything but,” she explained.
See behind the scenes footage of Robbie as Harding (warning: crude language)
The movie introduces itself as based on “irony free, wildly contradictory, totally true” interviews with Harding and Jeff Gillooly, Harding’s scheming ex-husband.
Gillooly and Harding’s bodyguard, Shawn Eckhardt, became tabloid regulars after they were arrested for hiring an attacker to break the leg of Harding’s top competition, Kerrigan, in 1994.
No release date has been announced, but the film is expected to be put into US theatres later this year in time for awards season.