Apple announced this week that it will release the film Swan Song, directed by Benjamin Cleary, this December. The film stars Mahershala Ali, Glenn Close, and Naomie Harris, and is seen as a possible Oscar contender. It will be released both in theaters and on the Apple TV+ streaming service.
“Set in the near future, Swan Song is a powerful, emotional journey told through the eyes of Cameron (Mahershala Ali), a loving husband and father diagnosed with a terminal illness who is presented with an alternative solution by his doctor (Glenn Close) to shield his family from grief. As Cam grapples with whether or not to alter his family’s fate, he learns more about life and love than he ever imagined. Swan Song explores how far we will go, and how much we’re willing to sacrifice, to make a happier life for the people we love.”
That film, however, is not to be confused with the other 2021 movie called Swan Song. That’s the drama, directed by Todd Stephens, that played on the festival circuit in the earlier part of this year and had a theatrical and VOD release in August. That’s the movie that stars Udo Kier as a gay retired hairdresser who tours his hometown of Sandusky, Ohio, in order to style the hair of a former client (Linda Evans) for her funeral.
This is a rare occasion of two films with the same title coming out in the same year. Wikipedia, on the “Swan song (disambiguation)” page, refers to them as “Swan Song (Benjamin Cleary film), a 2021 American drama film starring Mahershala Ali” and “Swan Song (Todd Stephens film), a 2021 American drama film starring Udo Kier.”
In 2017, there were different movies called Wonder, Wonderstruck, Wonder Woman, Wonder Wheel, and Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. Even this year, there are two different movies called Together and Together Together.
But it’s hard to remember a time when two different movies with likely awards aspirations in the same year had the same title.
While the Stephens’ Swan Song is a much smaller film and has to be considered more of an awards season long shot, it’s not inconceivable that Kier could get a nomination for his performance, while Ali is a two-time Oscar winner, he may very well get nominated again as well.
In that case, as if next year’s Oscar producers didn’t have enough problems, they’ll have to do decide how to differentiate the two Swan Song movies.