OSCAR: In 'Shutter Island' Push, American Cinematheque Honors Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio

EXCLUSIVE: Marking a high profile kick-off to Paramount’s Shutter Island Oscar campaign, American Cinematheque will present a retrospective of the film collaborations of Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorcese at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre the weekend of November 13 with the pair participating in a live “conversation” following a November 14 screening. DiCaprio will appear in person while Scorsese will be satellited in from London where he is currently working on his new film Hugo Cabret. All four of their film ventures together will be highlighted with The Departed and Gangs Of New York screenings as a double bill Saturday followed by The Aviator and Shutter Island on Sunday. The former three fllms all went on to Best Picture nominations with The Departed winning.  DiCaprio received a Best Actor nomination for Aviator. Obviously Paramount is hoping the streak won’t be broken even though its early 2010 release date of February 19 puts it at a disadvantage with other later-breaking contenders including Par’s own December entries, The Fighter (December 10) and True Grit (December 25). 

Originally Shutter was planned for an early October 2009 release but was moved out of the heart of that awards season for financial reasons. At the time Paramount chairman Brad Grey explained the shift of the hotly anticipated Oscar contender as “our 2009 slate was greenlit in a very different economic climate and as a result we must remain flexible and willing to recalibrate and adapt to a changing environment.” The move obviously turned out to be a good one cash-wise as the film went on to become Scorsese’s most successful ever with a $295 million dollar worldwide haul. Whether that killed any reasonable chance for Oscar recognition remains to be seen but February isn’t exactly prime time for serious awards contenders. The last film to win Best Picture (or even be nominated) with such an early release date was 1991’s The Silence Of The Lambs which opened on February 14 and went on more than a year later to a rare Oscar sweep including Picture, Actor, Actress, Adapted Screenplay and Director. That film was shepherded by Mike Medavoy who ran Orion at the time.

Ironically his Phoenix Pictures made Shutter and he is a producer along with Scorsese, Bradley J. Fischer and Arnold W. Messer. When I talked to Medavoy and Fischer recently, Medavoy recounted the touchy situation he faced with Lambs as he had jumped from Orion, which he co-founded, to Tri Star as chairman and suddenly found himself with a major December contender Bugsy which he says he spent $25 million pushing. Bugsy earned 10 nominations (3 more than Lambs), 4 Golden Globes and still managed to lose in the end at the Academy to Lambs’ savvy  come-from-behind campaign. This year he has another December release, Black Swan (Fox Searchlight, December 1), but there are now 10 Best Picture slots instead of 5 and he’s hoping there is room for both his babies. He said he has been assured by Paramount that they will aggressively campaign Shutter and indeed enthusiastic studio sources tell me  they are getting behind it with a full lineup of events in addition to the Cinematheque weekend including an extensive screening program in several voter-rich cities (LA, NY, SF, London, Chicago) and hitting key holiday vacation spots, hefty advertising and perhaps most importantly a “very wide” distribution of DVDs (traditional watermarking is not necessary since it’s already out). 2005 Best Picture winner Crash used the latter strategy successfully when it was able to blanket the town with DVDs due to its early May release date.

One potential problem for DiCaprio is he is also being pushed for Lead Actor by Warner Bros for their July release, Inception, and will be competing against himself for the heart of Academy voters. It’s a bit of déjà vu as the same thing happened  in 2006 when he had The Departed and Blood Diamond. In the end he was nominated for the latter but lost to Forest Whitaker (The Last King Of Scotland).

  1. This is good, good news. Shutter Island is one of the best movies I’ve seen this year and I’m really glad that Paramount is giving it a proper campaign. It was a beautifully rendered film, and I think one of Mr. DiCaprio’s best performances.

    1. DiCaprio easily deserves a nod, and maybe, finally, the win. Just watching the pain in his face, hanging there the whole damn movie, it gave me an ulcer.

      And that scene in the lake, where he grabs his kids…

      …f*cking heartbreak.

    2. I believe Leo di Caprio was excellent in shutter island.It was a role that I believe is hard to perform but he did a wonderful job and was very believable. He should get an Oscar for this role.

  2. Brilliant. It’s an old school move, but a good one. If they blanket the town with DVDs and Scorsese/DiCaprio are doing things like this to support it, I think the movie could and should make the top ten. And Leo should def be nominated. one of his best perfs ever. the guy is always supremely watchable and he’s so talented. scorsese is a damn genius.

  3. I think Shutter Island has a good shot at being one of the 10 and DiCaprio should be pushed for this and not Inception.

  4. I sound like a broken record on this but I’ll say it again: this movie is a dog with fleas. The worst film in Marty’s distinctive filmography by far. To me its his black eye. The only thing it had going for it was the production design and the cinematography. A lot of folks on this board are drinking the kool aid on this one which leads me to believe that general standards have dropped. Get some taste people. One of the worst of 2010.

    1. I saw the movie. Wasn’t really blown away but I have to agree with you on the production design and cinematography. It looked really good. I was disappointed with Gangs of NY and Departed as well. Scorsese is a legend but it’s been evident to me for some time now his best days are behind him. DiCaprio is a great talent as well but his work with Scorsese does more for Scorsese than it does for him in my opinion. My guess is this is just good PR and the “kool-aid” drinkers are just anonymous marketing people saying good things because they’re paid to.

    2. Probably a little above your head. Go back to watching “Life as We Know It” and “Vampires Suck.”

  5. I honestly thought this was mistake, there’s no way Shutter Island came out in 2010! But I checked and sure enough…. it did. Feels like this movie has been out for an eternity. Hopefully, the academy remembers differently.

  6. This film was incredible. So glad that this is getting recognition. Leo was amazing as always, and this was one of my favorite films of the year. Definitely Oscar worthy.

  7. You know, saying things like “one of the worst” and telling the people on this board they are crazy hurts your post’s effectiveness.

    You would have shown a lot more credibility by just saying “I didn’t like this movie. Here are some reasons.”

  8. I was expecting something different so I did not fully appreciate Shutter Island first time around. A second viewing is a must with this one. Great performance from Leo, and I would definitely push for a SI nomination over Inception.

    I hope I can score a ticket to the Scorsese retrospective. Taxi Driver was the first movie I seriously fell in love with (age 10, thank you mom for taking me to the Vista, Beverly, Fox Venice, etc. to see it over and over), and The Egyptian is a grand place to see movies.

  9. The best thing about ten best pictures is that a movie like “Shutter Island” that may be divisive (as a poster above made mention of above) is that a passionate group of supporters, which this film clearly has, can get it nominated despite its early release date. As is the case with truly great art, some will love it — it will speak to them and move them and dazzle them — and others it will not, and that’s okay. But igniting the debate is what real art is all about. There’s no doubt in my mind that Scorsese, his crew and his favorite leading man have a very good shot at seeing some Oscar love this season.

  10. Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not a paid marketing hack…just a big fan of movies.

    Scorcese and DiCaprio made an outstanding film. Source material helped greatly IMHO.

    The cabin scene was unforgettable and DiCaprio’s performance was incredible…which is why he should nominated for this rather than ‘Inception’ – which was more of an ensemble piece.

    One other thing…loved the REALLY LOUD score – yeah, the one that ticked a bunch of people off. ;) I thought it was unsettling and effective.

    Having said all that…I can appreciate some people just didn’t buy into it…but what’s with all the hate?

  11. I agree with you Para, every film is doing their best to make their movies recognize and impressed people how they have done it. Every production exerts effort in every project they do. If in an event, it did not win any award it doesn’t mean too that a movie has not the credibility to do so.

  12. Leo should totally get nominated for this performance way more than Inception. I have to agree with Craig – Scorsese and DiCaprio made an outstanding, stunning film.

  13. I actually rally liked the movie until the ending. But that cliché twist killed it for me. Am I the only one who thought so?

    It deserves production design and cinematography, maybe even directing, ( definitely not best actor, specially if competing with Leo’s job in Inception ) but not best picture.

  14. First and foremost without giving spoilers the film shows its hand within the first 15 minutes completely deflating any suspense of what the narrative has to offer. DiCaprio sustains only two emotional currents throughout the movie: bewildered and EXTREMELY paranoid. The setting alone illicits feelings of paranoia amongst the audience, c’mon we’re talking about a mental institution for pete’s sake, we don’t need an actor constantly reminding us that WE SHOULD BE SUSPICIOUS! I get it. And don’t get me started on the ending. But I suspect Dennis Lehane deliberately or unconciously lifted a major plot point from a far superior film with a similar subject matter by William Peter Blatty called the Ninth Configuration. If you haven’t seen it, you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

    This was just poor direction. Bottom line. I am not blaming anyone but Scorsece. A turd is a turd. No artist is immune to failure. I think a lot of folks on this post need to remind themselves of that.

  15. Someone should ask Scorsese about the alarming story similarities between The Ninth Configuration (1980) and Shutter Island.

  16. They might get some serious consideration for an Oscar, but that doesn’t necessarily speak to the movie’s quality, because the Academy stopped giving the best movies the Oscar decades ago. So, since this movie was totally overwritten, overly dramatic, overacted, and just plain insulting to a viewer with any common sense for its absurd attempts at foreshadowing and eeriness, it should win.

  17. The big reveal didn’t do it for me and those I saw it with. It looked very good, though, and Leo did nice work.

  18. Shutter Island was a great movie unless you consider that 90% of the visual fx were unrendered/terrible/embarrassing green screen shots. If you add to this, the fact that it was quite possibly the most predictable horror film (ending) of all time, you might again consider its (non)potential for an Oscar nomination. I was ready for Leo to wake up in a modern NYC apartment, breathing heavily, kissing his wife, and then claiming to have just had the most horrific dream.

    The only good thing about this movie is Leo, who is borderline incapable of not putting on a good show.

    When we watch Shutter Island in 5 years, the opening green screen shot will look like the original Godzilla.

  19. This is a pointless waste of time. Shutter Island was just not all that good of a movie and not a major Oscar nomination will it receive.

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