Festival fatigue and misdirected brain cells led to my conveying an “understanding” a day or two ago that Sony Classics was looking at giving The Lives of Others, Florian Henckel-Donnersmarck‘s masterful film about spying and intimacy in East Germany in the mid ’80s, a one-week qualifying run in New York and L.A. before opening it in February to coincide with the Oscar nominations. Duhhhh….one doesn’t need to open a foreign-made film in the States to be considered for Best Foreign Film — it simply has to be submitted by the country of origin (which in this case is Germany) following a theatrical run there in ’06.
Sony Classics co-chief Michael Barker told me last night he wants Others to open free and clear of the dominance of the big Oscar-worthy December films. “I don’t want it to be anyone’s second choice,” he said. “This is a first-choice movie and I know the word-of-mouth will carry it through once it opens, which is why we’re thinking February. ”
As I wrote with some confidence two days ago, Others, is all but guaranteed to be nominated as one of the five Best Foreign Films. It won 7 Lola Awards (Germany’s equivalent of the Oscar) — for Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor (Muhe), Best Supporting Actor (Ulrich Tukur) and Best Production Design.