There’s no question that Luca Guadagnino‘s Call Me By Your Name (Sony Pictures Classics, 11.24), which premiered two and a half months ago at Sundance and then screened at the Berlinale, will be regarded as a major Best Picture contender once the 2017 award season begins around Labor Day.
But how aggressively will SPC push it, especially given the fact that Call Me By Your Name appears to have an excellent shot at reaping nominations in several categories. Should they perhaps consider breaking tradition by working with a major-league Oscar strategist? Seems warranted.
SPC is renowned for supporting their award-calibre films in a committed, dutiful fashion. But they’ve never gone “full Harvey” when it comes to this or that contender. They never seem to really pull out all the stops, being frugal-minded to begin with (as all good businesspersons must be) and having long ago adopted a “favored nations” philosophy — equal treatment across the board — when it comes to award-season promotions.
By this standard SPC would this year be plugging Happy End, their Michael Haneke drama that will probably debut next month in Cannes, and the sexually repressed period drama Novitiate with as much fervor as Call Me By Your Name.
But Call Me By Your Name is different. It’s a moving, brilliantly composed, once-in-a decade relationship film that has 100% and 98% ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, respectively. And it could easily become a leading contender in five or six or even more categories. Here’s one of my rave posts from last January; here’s another.
Definitely Best Picture and Best Director, a shot at some Best Actor action for young Timothy Chalumee, a Best Adapted Screenplay nom (Guadagnino, James Ivory, Walter Fasano), and WITHOUT QUESTION a Best Supporting Actor nom for Michael Stuhlbarg for that last scene alone.
Not to mention Best Cinematography, Production Design, and maybe even a Best Original Song nom for Sufjan Stevens.
That’s…what, eight categories? When was the last time Sony Classics had a heavy hitter of this calibre? Most of the time they’re pushing for a Best Foreign Language Feature (i.e., Leviathan, A Separation). No offense but have they ever managed a successful acting award campaign? They all but torpedoed poor Lesley Manville seven years ago when they decided to run her as Best Actress instead of Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Another Year.
If there was ever an occasion that seemed to cry out for a first-rate Oscar strategist to guide an Oscar campaign for Sony Pictures Classics, it’s the forthcoming release of Call Me By Your Name. The ball’s in their court.