Does the box-office popularity of a film have much to do with its chance of being nominated for a Best Picture Oscar? Obviously yeah…it does. A movie that has shown itself to be a modest little-engine-that-could success can be nominated, and obviously being a huge success doesn’t hurt a bit, but a film that stiffs on opening weekend is pretty much dead in the water. Hollywood Wiretap‘s Pete Hammond looks at the winners and losers so far, according to this equation:
The Departed‘s box-office cume “is near $100 million, and now the story goes if it gets to $150 million it could win the Best Picture Oscar. Before [it] opened to big numbers no one was saying that,” he observes. “Conversely this week many pundits immediately wrote off the chances of Focus Features well-reviewed apartheid drama Catch A Fire after a dismal $2 million dollar opening in over 1300 theatres.
“The same company’s other award hopeful, the September entry Hollywoodland also ‘underperformed’. You can see it now at the $3 house on Fairfax and Beverly.
“To its credit, Focus is undeterred and continues to support both films particularly in acting categories. Full page ‘For Your Consideration’ ads appeared in the L.A. Times Envelope newspaper supplement Wednesday and casts of both films are still busily promoting the movies on the q & a circuit. Keeping these kind of contenders alive as their presence in theatres fades becomes the key challenge.
“There were also media storm clouds forming over the Clint Eastwood war epic Flags Of Our Fathers this week, at least according to those same pundits who claim its less-than-boffo b.o. take will cost the former ‘sure thing’ a slot in the Best Picture race.
The Last King Of Scotland is another contender slow to go at the b.o. Will its modest bounty be enough to land Forest Whitaker a nod? And what about the critically acclaimed, relatively little-seen Little Children? We naively thought/hoped awards were supposed to be about artistic achievement but, in the minds of many, the Academy is really just a microcosm of the ticket-buying public.”