Without question a leading contender to take it all at this year’s Academy Awards, Warner Bros‘ Gravity has become the highest-grossing live-action film of the year with well over $600 million worldwide to date. It also has won numerous awards, including Best Picture from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (in a tie with another Warners film, Her) and multiple nominations for Golden Globes and Critics Choice Movie Awards along with a SAG nom for star Sandra Bullock. Director and co-writer Alfonso Cuaron already has won numerous accolades and stands as an Oscar front-runner for directing. But as he told me when we met at Chateau Marmont last week, all of this is basically just the cherry on top for the intimate outer space saga. “The film has been embraced so beautifully by the reviewers, the media, audiences,” he said. “It’s just been a sweet ride. And this has just been part of that sweetness. It feels good as a complement to that. Also it’s easy for me to be relaxed because the film already kind of performed.”
Cuaron also was very complimentary to other directors this year and looks at it as a particularly great year for film and filmmakers. “I am encouraged because of my eclectic taste in film,” he said. “This happens to be a heavy year in terms of filmmakers’ vision of films, not so much developed projects by studios where a good director got attached. You can see these are films by filmmakers that are very much their projects. I like everything from really obscure arthouse films to really entertaining stuff. It’s funny — I am supposed to be just talking about my movie, but this year what is so refreshing are films that are so successful and happen to be films that are not necessarily the obvious things that happen these days, ” he added, pointing out 12 Years A Slave and American Hustle as two strong examples.
Warners’ Sue Kroll and Greg Silverman threw a packed party for Gravity (which was released in early October) last week at Lucques restaurant in West Hollywood that drew many Academy members. Bullock and Cuaron were among those present, and spirits were high as this kind of combination critical and box office success is really the perfect storm for a major. The studio also has freshened its campaign, including new TV spots running this week just before Oscar ballots go out on Friday. And today released this new featurette focusing on the development of the film “from script to screen”. That script, which Cuaron co-wrote with his son Jonas, has been overlooked so far in the awards conversation, perhaps because it is not exactly dialogue-heavy and the film’s visual elements are so impressive. But it was all on paper first, and that’s something the new campaign is also trying to emphasize. Here’s the featurette: