This writer had a hunch. Even though I didn’t care for the Lifetime-movie like qualities of the slight “My Week with Marilyn” — and let it be said two other Playlisters in attendance felt pretty much the same way — you could tell some of its MOR crowd-pleasing characteristics would appeal to the same Academy Members who flipped over “The King’s Speech” (personally, ‘Speech’ was much more charming IMO, even if it wasn’t anything to write home about either).
Michelle Williams isn’t as riveting in ‘Marilyn’ as she was in, say, “Wendy & Lucy” (which features a devastating performance that was totally overlooked by Oscar that year) or even “Blue Valentine,” but she’s the reason the movie works as much as it does and sultry sexbomb is arguably not her persona, so many are seeing it as a transformation.
Regardless, the positive chatter during the recent New York Film Festival press screenings has done enough to put a charge into good ol’ Oscar-happy Harvey Weinstein. The man can smell some nominations in the air (frankly, Williams is a lock at this point), but one for his lead might just be the tip of the iceberg. In key signs that The Weinstein Company is gaining even more confidence in the picture, Weinstein has moved the film back a few weeks from its November 4 release, to a bow set right before the all-important Thanksgiving weekend – arguably the peak point when Oscar fervor hits.
The reason is that TWC wants the conversation to continue and the accolades to flow. This will mean more appearances at any film festivals between now and turkey day. “My Week with Marilyn” has already been added to the Hamptons International Film Festival and don’t be surprised if it turns up elsewhere like the AFI fest in L.A. or something similar.
In related TWC news, they’ve been quietly putting on test screenings of John Hillcoat’s prohibition-era crime drama “The Wettest County in the World,” which stars Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce and Mia Wasikowska among others. If you’ve myopically followed ‘Wettest County’ reports, you’ll have seen some that suggested the film could come out in limited release in December and then go wider in January just so it could qualify for Oscars. While it’s not 100% that this is what TWC is potentially cooking, we wouldn’t be the first that has theorized Harvey is taking a step back to survey his 2011 Oscar perspectives and trying to ascertain if he needs to throw another film into the fray.
With “The Artist” a question mark – it has landed with critics, but will it land with Oscar voters and audiences — and “The Iron Lady” sounding like it’s a Meryl Streep-only contender, it’s conceivable that ‘Wettest County’ could land in that late-year spot that “Blue Valentine” was tossed into last year. Honestly, it’s not a great date and films like that can get grossly overlooked, but TWC films are ultimately pawns in the Oscar play.
Either way, keeps your eyes peeled. It’s certainly not a ludicrous assertion. Anyhow, look for ‘Marilyn’ to occupy a November 23rd release in what likely will be a slowly-crescendoing limited release campaign. [Deadline]