For Variety’s Oscar preview edition, I’ve penned a look at how industry changes may effect this year’s race, “Will downturn dim indies’ award hopes?”. The collapse of Indiewood has made room in the Oscar derby for players such as Summit and Apparition. But can they afford to compete with the majors? And do they have enough box-office and broad appeal to get the Academy’s attention?
As publicist Tony Angelotti me, this year’s smaller contenders may ultimately encounter the same sort of resistance they’ve always faced. “In order to get their due with Oscar voters, these kinds of films need to strike a chord with the public as well,” he says. In other words, the specialty divisions have always successfully wooed Oscar because they had the crossover box office appeal to show for it.
Without the money to back them up, then, indies could find themselves right back where they started at the 1992 awards — before Disney owned Miramax, before Sony Pictures Classics’ “Howards End” and the rise of Fine Line — and when Oscar’s top paramours (“Bugsy,” “The Prince of Tides,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Silence of the Lambs,” “JFK”) all came from Hollywood.