Not coming to a screen near you soon... Top films are being held back until 2014, as there are just too many good candidates for Academy Awards
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Sunday 27 October 2013
When a film's release is postponed for "perfecting", it's usually to disguise poor word-of-mouth publicity. This season, however, films are being held back until 2014 because they're too good.
Last week it was announced that George Clooney's Second World War caper The Monuments Men will be delayed until February while its visual effects are finished, putting it out of contention for this year's awards cycle. The film shares tonal similarities and production personnel with last year's Best Picture Oscar-winner, Argo, and was considered a contender.
The much-fancied Foxcatcher has also been delayed until next year, because director Bennett Miller (of Moneyball fame) needs more time. Star Steve Carell, in his most dramatic leading role to date, was a potential Best Actor nominee.
Harvey Weinstein, normally the most competitive of producers, has several films in the field, including The Butler and August: Osage County. Yet even he has postponed two likely winners: The Immigrant, starring Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard, and Grace of Monaco, a Grace Kelly biopic starring Nicole Kidman. Weinstein is said to believe both can do better at the box office next year, and is also locked in a dispute with Grace director Olivier Dahan after re-cutting the film against Dahan's wishes.
Economic and aesthetic considerations aside, the films are also – perhaps wisely – backing out of the most competitive awards campaign in memory.
Tim Gray, awards editor of Variety, says, "It's a really crowded race this year … I've talked to several people including Harvey Weinstein and Michael Barker, the co-president of Sony Classics [which is releasing Foxcatcher]. Both said they thought this was the best year for film they could remember."
The Best Picture category, which can accommodate nine films, is already packed. According to the awards prediction website GoldDerby.com, the historical drama 12 Years a Slave is the favourite at four to one, followed closely by at least eight more titles including Gravity, American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street, Inside Llewyn Davis, Saving Mr Banks and Nebraska.
British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor's searing performance as Solomon Northup, a free man sold into slavery in 12 Years A Slave, makes him the early frontrunner for Best Actor though he faces stiff competition from veterans Tom Hanks and Robert Redford as the protagonists of two nautical dramas, Captain Phillips and All Is Lost.
"There are usually some movies that the studios move up the schedule for a one-week engagement [to qualify for awards]," says Gray. "But that's only when they see an open spot in the 'money' categories: picture, director and the acting categories. This year, every category is overfilled."
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Scottish independence live: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum - as it happened
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Friends 20th anniversary: Six things we wouldn't have without influential comedy series
- 5 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Jay Z fights lawsuit over use of oh in 'Run This Town'
Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams cast in Channel 4 drama about cyber bullying
Downton Abbey: Liam Neeson wants role as stableman in period drama
Star Wars 7 leaked photo of Adam Driver changes everything
The Walking Dead season 5 synopsis: Spoilers and existential questions revealed
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'