The major studios have finally caught on to what the indies have known for years: There’s a definite trend brewing between success on the film-festival circuit and winning at the Oscars. In fact, the past seven Best Picture victories were born somewhere on the fest circuit — a place where buzz, particularly online, is becoming too loud to ignore. Since No Country For Old Men, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007, every Best Picture winner has debuted at fests: Slumdog Millionaire (Telluride Film Festival, 2008), The Hurt Locker (Venice Film Festival, 2008), The King’s Speech (Telluride, 2010), The Artist (Cannes, 2011) and Argo (Toronto International Film Festival, 2012).
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What really stands out is that the only film on that list that came from a major studio is Warner Bros’ Argo. That’s because early in this century, Hollywood was playing by the old rules, opening movies in the fall or Christmas, ignoring film festivals and still winning Best Picture statuettes at the Academy Awards. Between 2000 and 2006, only one Best Picture winner— 2005’s Toronto pickup Crash — had even played a festival. Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, Chicago, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Million Dollar Baby and The Departed all used a different path to gold.
But things changed last year with Argo, whose festival debut created buzz that carried the story about the rescue of six diplomats amid the Iran hostage crisis all the way to an Oscar. Prior to that, Warner Bros had achieved its most recent Oscar success with off-the-circuit Best Picture winners like The Departed and Million Dollar Baby. The Argo strategy allowed the studio — which was dying to stop Harvey Weinstein from grabbing a third Best Picture trophy in a row — to grow the buzz from two important fall fests and build Argo as a legitimate contender.
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The UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (TFT) is teaming up with Cirque du Soleil on a multi-year fellowship program for TFT graduate students, it was announced today. Dean Teri Schwartz says the collaboration offers students the … Read More »
The Duncan Jones-directed Source Code will be the opening night film of the South by Southwest Film Festival. The fest runs March 11-19 in Austin, Texas. Source Code stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright. The film … Read More »
Hey, New York, ready for another film festival? The Gold Coast International Film Festival will launch in June through the Great Neck Arts Center. The festival’s executive director will be GNAC founder Regina Gil. Senior programmer will be Sean McPhillips, the former Miramax acquisitions executive who most recently programmed the … Read More »
O2, the London concert venue, is in discussions with Sundance founder Robert Redford about staging a film festival. All O2 will say publicly is it would love to host a UK version of the Utah event. Negotiations are still … Read More »
Projector.tv, the newest internet movie service, is in talks with local distribs Icon and Artificial Eye. It has already licensed 43 films from Metrodome for its video-on-demand business. The service aims to have 20,000 registered users within two to three years, … Read More »
CANNES Film Festival 2010: Full List Of Winners
Palme d’Or (Top Prize)
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Grand Prix (Runner-Up)
Des Hommes Et … Read More »
South Korean director Hong Sangsoo’s film recounts differing memories that an aspiring film director and a young film critic have of their separate visits to seaside town Tong-yeong. Daniel and Diego Vega’s film Octubre won the Jury Prize, while the Best Performance award was tied between three actresses in Argentinian … Read More »
The director has blasted Hollywood for glorifying the sacrifices which American soldiers have made in Iraq war films, while ignoring civilian casualties. Loach, whose latest film Route Irish is competing here, said at this afternoon’s press conference … Read More »
The pre-sale market has dried up and is never coming back, financiers at this year’s Cannes tell me. That, combined with fewer banks lending to producers, means equity investment is more important than ever. Even those private lenders still left in the game, say they want to fully finance their … Read More »
Sony Pictures Classics has acquired U.S. and Australia/New Zealand rights to Of Gods and Men, the Xavier Beauvois-directed drama that unspooled in competition at Cannes. Deal was made by sales agent Wild Bunch. Drama is the story of eight French Christian monks who live in harmony with their Muslim brothers … Read More »
After some initial good press, there were boos as well as applause for the only American movie In Competition at its first screening at Cannes. Critics here feel it’s too conventional to be … Read More »
– Optimum UK has taken Reliance Big Pictures’ Kites from IM Global. Brett Ratner has done a “remix” of the original Hindi film. Kites has also been sold to other major territories, including France, Germany Australia/New Zealand.
– High Point Media has sold $290,000 UK feature The Be All And End … Read More »
– Andy Serkis, the actor who will play Gollum again in Guillermo Del Toro’s Hobbit, plans to direct his first feature next year. Serkis has formed a production company, Caveman Films, with Bridget Jones producer Jonathan Cavendish. Serkis tells me it’s a psychological thriller. Caveman’s first co-production, Alicia Duffy’s All … Read More »
Fair Game director Doug Liman’s film was well received at Cannes as a political exposé of the Bush administration’s White House press leak regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame, played by Naomi Watts. But Liman told this … Read More »
How tough has the Cannes Film Festival marketplace been for domestic acquisitions? The deal of the day so far is Magnet Releasing’s U.S. rights acquisition of Rubber, the Cannes Critic’s Week offering about a psychopathic car tire with telepathic powers named … Read More »