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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

26 Weeks To Oscar: Resetting The Field For The Very First Time

Since the last column of “Setting,” 5 of the films mentioned have officially exited the playing field with firmed 2016 dates (The Coen Bros’ Hail Caesar!, Jodie Foster’s Money Monster, John Hillcoat ‘s Triple Nine, Richard Linkater’s Everybody Wants Some, and Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special) and three have joined… Ryan Coogler’s Creed and Nicholas Hytner’s The Lady In the Van, and Michael Moore’s Where To Invade Next. (Please remember… this is a Best Picture list. There are other categories that other films not mentioned will certainly compete for and perhaps even win.)

One more note… no movie is going to get nominated for or win an Oscar based on what festival they opened at… or chose to open without a festival run. The choice is a strategy. It adds to the pot, it changes the flavor, it supplants other choices… it is a living, breathing moment in the history of all of these films. But with the increases awards aggression of Telluride and New York Film Festival in recent years, it has quickly become clear that the old thinking about festival season is now meaningless. Like opening movies, selling your awards hopeful is a long, long process and so long as your film opens in 2015 and shows in L.A. and N.Y. by December 5, you are as likely or unlikely as any other film with any other strategy to get into the race. It’s all about the movie… and the sell.

THE FESTIVAL RUN

TORONTO Premieres

Demolition – Jean-Marc Vallee – released by Fox Searchlight – They are claiming that this Opening Night film will be released mid-2016. If the film gets great reviews in Toronto (and if Everest is regarded as a commercial, non-awards entry), that will change, almost instantly. Doing TIFF without this goal would be nothing less than foolhardy.

The Danish Girl – Tom Hooper – distributed by Focus

The Lady In The Van – Nicholas Hytner – distributed by Sony (could be Tri-Star, could be Sony Classics)

Legend – Brian Helgeland – distributed by Universal

The Martian – Ridley Scott – distributed by Fox

The Program – Stephen Frears – no U.S. distributor yet

Trumbo – Jay Roach – distributed by Bleecker Street

Where To Invade Next – Michael Moore – no distributor yet

 

TELLURIDE TBAs (likely) that are going on to TORONTO

Black Mass – Scott Cooper – distributed by Warner Bros

Spotlight – Thomas McCarthy – distributed by Open Road

 

NYFF Premieres

Steve Jobs – Danny Boyle – distributed by Universal

The Walk – Robert Zemeckis – distributed by Tom Rothman’s TriStar

 

Already Premiered, Going To Festivals

Brooklyn – John Crowley – distributed by Fox Searchlight

Carol – Todd Haynes – distributed by The Weinstein Company

Sicario – Denis Villeneuve – distributed by Lionsgate/Summit

Youth – Paolo Sorrentino – distributed by Fox Searchlight

 

Already Theatrically Released Before Fall Festivals

Ex Machina – Alex Garland – distributed by A24

Inside Out – Pete Docter – distributed by Disney

Love and Mercy – Bill Pohlad – distributed by Roadside Attractions

Mad Max: Fury Road – George Miller – distributed Warner Bros

Mississippi Grind – Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck – distributed by A24

Ricki and the Flash – Jonathan Demme – distributed by TriStar

Southpaw – Antoine Fuqua – distributed by The Weinstein Co.


September/October/November Releases With No Apparent Domestic Festival Plan At This Time

Bridge of Spies – Steven Spielberg – distributed by Disney

Creed – Ryan Coogler – distributed by Warner Bros

Everest – Baltasar Kormákur – distributed by Universal

Our Brand Is Crisis – David Gordon Green – distributed by Warner Bros

Suffragette – Sarah Gavron – distributed by Focus Features

 


Late Year Releases (Some Which May Still Push To 2016), Which Won’t Likely Premiere Before AFI, November 5

Silence – Martin Scorsese – distributed by Paramount

In the Heart of the Sea – Ron Howard – distributed by WB

The Revenant – Alejandro G. Iñárritu – distributed by Fox

Snowden – Oliver Stone – distributed by Open Road

Joy – David O. Russell – distributed by Fox

The Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarantino – distributed by The Weinstein Company

By The Sea – Angelina Jolie – distributed by Universal

Concussion – Peter Landesman – distributed by Columbia

I Saw The Light – Marc Abraham – distributed by Sony Classics

 


Longshots

A Bigger Splash – Luca Guadagnino – distributed by Fox Searchlight

45 Years – Andrew Haigh – distributed by Sundance Selects

Criminal – Ariel Vromen – distributed by Summit/Lionsgate

The Last Face – Sean Penn – no U.S. distributor

Regression – Alejandro Amenábar – distributed by The Weinstein Company

 

6 Responses to “26 Weeks To Oscar: Resetting The Field For The Very First Time”

  1. kurt says:

    TIFF gave Vallee the opening slot, out of respect for his staying power. The pride of Quebecois cinema C.R.A.Z.Y. is 10 years old this year. With 4 nods from AMPAS under his direction, he has more staying power than Egoyan and higher profile than director of Hyena Road.

  2. Cass says:

    Thought I read somewhere that Regression and Lady in the Van have been pushed to 2016

  3. EtGuild2 says:

    “Room” with Brie Larson should be added to your list.

    Also, I think it’s safe to remove “Southpaw” from Best Picture consideration…

  4. michael bergeron says:

    wowser … I have to say that the best thing about MI: Rouge was Tom Holland from Inside the Loop, the Minister of International Whatever, showing up as the Prime Minster was a case of expert casting .. th3 stunts were cool too

  5. michael bergeron says:

    tom hollander … in the loop

  6. Bob Burns says:

    Stonewall? just curious. wasn’t picked up by a festival, and Emmerich, too. Even so, the topic carries weight. Is there something I missed?

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin