Scratch off another potential Oscar contender. Sony Pictures Classics has announced the planned December release of the Bennett Miller-directed drama Foxcatcher has been moved out of this year’s awards race and into 2014 so filmmakers “can have more time to finish the film”. The announcement is a bit startling since AFI Fest, a prime showcase for major Oscar contenders, recently had announced it for a major world premiere berth on November 8. Obviously that will have to be replaced.
The film becomes the latest casualty this week in what is turning out to be a very competitive awards season. Earlier this week The Weinstein Company announced their expected contender Grace Of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman was being moved from November (after previously being scheduled for December) and on to its spring 2014 slate, effectively removing Kidman’s portrayal of Grace Kelly from the Best Actress race.
There’s also been much talk about the ultimate fate of Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street, which Paramount had scheduled for November 15. Scorsese is still deep into post-production, and the studio is mulling a possible move to December or even out of this year altogether if the film isn’t ready.
Of course this kind of juggling of potential awards contenders is hardly a new thing. Just last year, Warner Bros decided to move Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby from December 2012 to May of this year, where it opened the Cannes Film Festival and later became a solid summer performer for the studio. Scorsese’s own Shutter Island — which, like Gatsby and Wolf Of Wall Street, starred Leonardo DiCaprio — was moved by Paramount from its planned awards season October 2009 date into Feburary 2010, where it went on to become Scorsese’s most successful box office performer, earning more than $200 million. Although the studio campaigned it for Oscars later that year, Shutter Island failed to receive any attention, a victim perhaps of that early-February release date — not Oscar-friendly timing.
Foxcatcher is the true story of Olympic wrestling champion brothers Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) and their relationship with eccentric John du Pont (Steve Carell), which eventually leads to murder. I am told by those who got an early look at the unfinished film that Carell is particularly impressive in a complete and rather startling change-of-pace role. Perhaps a move into 2014 and next year’s race will give Carell a better shot at an Oscar nomination since this year’s Best Actor contest is beyond fierce.