Annoyed by the one-week exposure of Steve McQueen‘s Hunger, Film Experience’s Nathaniel Rogers is claiming that the one-week qualifying runs are “cheating…they’re a loophole. You are not really a 2008 movie if you open at one theater in one city for one week and then remove yourself quickly to plan for 2009. The idea, for all films that try this tactic, is to win Oscar nods and hope that that will boost their profile when they open for real. But this is rather like trying to pay rent by buying yourself a lottery ticket.
“It’s not easy to get Oscar nods — particularly for small art films — and many films that go this route never make good on their ‘opening in February/March’ claims when they find themselves without Oscar nods… which is the case more often than not. Oops. The system as it is stinks; It’s not healthy for these small movies, it screws with the structural calendar idea of awards systems and most importantly, it’s no good for the movie-loving audience who are left out of the conversation altogether.”