Every year around this time it seems the same discussion crops up about the onslaught of awards season releases. From fall festival season onwards, Hollywood trots out dozens and dozens of pictures, from studio prestige efforts to indie contenders, all hoping to find the right mix of box office and critical acclaim to carry them through to the Oscars. And all too often, many get left by the wayside. There is a certain mercilessness during the awards season where if a picture isn’t immediately deemed “Oscar-worthy,” it’s immediately dropped from the conversation. This results in many very good and sometimes even great movies getting forgotten. One person who is an old hand at the Oscar game is Harvey Weinstein, and in an opinion piece penned for THR, he warns that this path is not sustainable. Here’s an excerpt of what he had to say:
Among the movies and performances he feels got overlooked are Matthias Schoenaerts in “Far From The Madding Crowd” (for the record, I totally agree; it’s a very, very good movie that could easily be a contender for production and costume design, even if the performances get edged out); Ian McKellen in “Mr. Holmes” (though, the actor is still buzzing under the surface for a surprise nod); and Lily Tomlin in “Grandma.”
Of course, Harvey can’t help himself, and spends the next several paragraphs promoting his own movies, singling out Helen Mirren (“The Woman In Gold“), Bradley Cooper (“Burnt“), Jake Gyllenhaal (“Southpaw“), and Marion Cotillard (“Macbeth“) for their work, and the films for not quite getting the fair shake for either being released too early in the year or being “lost” in the crowded fall schedule.
However, the most interesting question Harvey puts forth is this: if “Carol” and “The Hateful Eight” were released in July, would they have picked up honors from the New York Film Critics Circle and National Board Of Review? It’s a very fair point, because it still remains an outlier for films released before September to make any kind of awards season impact.
The solution? Harvey advocates that distributors release great movies all year ’round, and that critics and writers to shout as loud for great movies in February as they do in December. But the sad reality is that, unfortunately, the memory of Academy voters tends to be short, the flashiest new thing tends to get the most attention, and not every independent distributor has the finances to keep a movie in the conversation all year long to hope for awards recognition. It’s a complicated issue, but the first step is talking about it, so share your thoughts in the comments section below.