Oscar 2013: For Your Consideration DVDs
From Smashed to The Dark Knight Rises. According to a list compiled by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences member Ken Rudolph, about sixty movies have been shipped to the 6,000-strong Academy members for Oscar 2013 consideration. Well, assuming that if Rudolph has been getting those DVDs, the other members have been getting theirs, too. (Photo: Mary Elizabeth Winstead Smashed.)
There are a few curiosities: Ang Lee's Life of Pi was received only on Christmas Eve. In other words, if Rudolph isn't an exception, then Academy members better watch that movie fast, as the last day of voting is January 4 [Update: Academy announced a one-day extension earlier today. Original ballots-are-due date was Jan. 3]. Rudolph's other late arrivals (after Dec. 15) were Dean Wright's For Greater Glory: The True Story of Cristiada (Dec. 17), and two strong Oscar 2013 contenders: Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained (Dec. 19), starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz, and Tom Hooper's Les Misérables (Dec. 21), with Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway.
Although they both opened on Dec. 21 in North America, Juan Antonio Bayona's The Impossible, starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, and Walter Salles' On the Road, featuring Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, and Kristen Stewart, arrived in Rudolph's mailbox in November: The Impossible on Nov. 9; On the Road on Nov. 20. Amy Berg's Peter Jackson-coproduced West of Memphis, which failed to be shortlisted among this year's Best Documentary Feature semi-finalists, arrived early as well, Nov. 13.
Oscar 2013 blockbuster contenders
Joss Whedon's The Avengers, the year's biggest blockbuster, is not on Rudolph's list. Nor is Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 or Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man. But other big hits with Oscar chances in various categories are included: Gary Ross / Jennifer Lawrence / Josh Hutcherson's The Hunger Games arrived on Nov. 9; Christopher Nolan / Christian Bale / Tom Hardy's The Dark Knight Rises and Rupert Sanders / Kristen Stewart / Chris Hemsworth's Snow White and the Huntsman on Nov. 21; Sam Mendes / Daniel Craig / Javier Bardem's Skyfall on Dec. 11; and Peter Jackson / Martin Freeman's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Dec. 14.
Also worth noting is that all the major Oscar contenders seem to be on the list. In addition to the aforementioned titles, listed are Ben Affleck's Argo, Kathryn Bigelow / Jessica Chastain's Zero Dark Thirty, David O. Russell / Bradley Cooper / Jennifer Lawrence's Silver Linings Playbook, Steven Spielberg / Daniel Day-Lewis' Lincoln, and Michael Haneke / Jean-Louis Trintignant / Emmanuelle Riva's Amour.
Also: Robert Zemeckis / Denzel Washington's Flight, Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, John Madden / Judi Dench / Maggie Smith's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Ben Lewin / John Hawkes / Helen Hunt's The Sessions, and Benh Zeitlin / Quvenzhané Wallis' Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Oscar savvy The Weinstein Company has five movies on the list. Besides Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchained, TWC sent out Omar Sy / François Cluzet's The Intouchables in early November, and Paul Thomas Anderson / Joaquin Phoenix's The Master and Dustin Hoffman / Maggie Smith's Quartet in early December.
Sony Pictures Classics has been no slacker, either: seven movies on the list. Those are the aforementioned Amour and West of Memphis, plus Woody Allen's To Rome with Love, Lee Toland Krieger's Celeste and Jesse Forever, James Ponsoldt / Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Smashed, and Jacques Audiard / Marion Cotillard's Rust and Bone.
eOne Films: A Late Quartet in; Cosmopolis out
If Rudolph's list is complete, then eOne Films made an interesting — and telling — choice. It sent out DVD copies of Yaron Zilberman / Philip Seymour Hoffman / Christopher Walken's little-seen but well-received drama A Late Quartet, but not of David Cronenberg / Robert Pattinson's Cannes Film Festival entry Cosmopolis. A Late Quartet is a conventionally structured "inspirational" drama; Cosmopolis is neither conventionally structured nor inspirational. We all know Academy members would much rather be fed the former than the latter.
Anyhow, that surely would come as no surprise to David Cronenberg, who told Movieline: "Every year I try to be as disconnected as possible [from the Academy Awards]. This year it's been very easy because we haven't been nominated for any awards. It's not sour grapes, it's not compensation; it's a relief. It's very easy to get caught up in it if you are nominated. The people who are releasing the movie get excited, they want you to do more, and you understand it because the awards can maybe get more people to see the film. This, on its face, is a good thing. However, it is all bullshit, it is all annoying and it is all very problematical."
And finally, it'll be interesting to see which — if any — movies not found on Rudolph's list will end up getting Oscar 2013 nominations.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead Smashed photo: Sony Pictures Classics.