OSCARS: 'Nebraska' Hitting Uncharted Territory For Actors In Age-Phobic Hollywood With New Campaign Spot (Video)

EXCLUSIVE: With today’s Best Picture Producers Guild nomination, 5 Golden Globe nominations, 6 CriticsNebraska poster Choice Movie Award nods and two more from SAG, some Independent Spirit awards love plus a coveted spot on the AFI Top Ten Movies Of The Year list, Paramount’s ‘little-movie-that-could’ Nebraska has been slowly, but steadily gathering a lot of awards mojo going into the second phase of a campaign that started shortly after Cannes where star Bruce Dern won Best Actor. Dern has also taken awards from the National Board of Review and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and along with co-star June Squibb is nominated for several others. Will Forte, who plays their son also won a National Board Of Review Supporting Actor prize and a nomination for the Indie Spirits. The studio’s strategy Nebraska film stillhas been to consistently screen the film since July (even though it didn’t open until mid-November) and get as many Academy members in to see it as possible. One source connected with the campaign says they have actually kept names and numbers estimating that over 2,300 members have seen the film at screenings to date. That doesn’t even include those who passed in at local theaters or who may have watched it at home on DVD. Incidentally the strategy purposely included holding back sending DVD screeners out until very late in the game. The thinking went that the film’s unique style and pacing, plus the stunning widescreen black and white cinematography have a much greater impact in a theater than a TV monitor. I would agree. It plays great with an audience. And now Paramount is going to unleash a highly unusual new TV spot that does something I can’t recall ever having seen — it reveals the actual ages of its stars. Whoa. Going where no studio has ever gone before. Now that’s a first for Hollywood! But this story about an aging,  sort of senile man who takes a road trip to collect a million dollar prize he is convinced he’s won from a publishing house is partially about the possibilities of following dreams at any point in life. And that goes for its cast (including Forte) who are finding new opportunities at an age and point in their careers they may not have expected. Certainly this unique campaign approach ought to resonate with many in the Academy, which you may have heard has a few older members itself. Check out the new debuting spot below.

  1. Gah. This film is so boring and flat. They might as well market around the actor’s age because there’s nothing else to highlight. Dern deserves something better, that’s for sure. Nebraska and Llewyn Davis are two empty, inconsequential films from filmmakers who should know better (Mr. Banks is as bad or worse but unsurprisingly). I have to hope this is symptomatic of a mid-career fallowness that comes from being able to get what you want made when you want it whether your script is ready or not (Woody Allen has suffered from this disease on occasion, as has Scorsese). David Russell, having put his Huckabee’s moment behind him, seems to be coming into his own. Even if American Hustle is miscast and beyond derivative, it at least offers more than just atmospherics.

    1. This movie would be boring only to a Michael Bay fan. At last a movie that doesn’t make me and family nearly puke from trying to follow jump cuts that substitute for developed scenes and one-liners that substitute for dialogue.

  2. Nebraska’s B&W novelty and sincere performances by Dern & Forte cannot rescue this depressing journey…and the over-the-top Ms. Squibb (God bless her) could have used some much-needed directorial restraint, IMO.

    1. An aesthetic choice is a novelty? Geez, you must think that 3-camera sitcoms are the apex of our culture.

  3. Nebraska is dull in spots and tedious. It’s not bad, not great, just kind of flat and mediocre. The fact that Hollywood is going bonkers over it award-wise is just another example of the Industry being full of mental lightweights who like what they’re told they should like.

    Bruce Dern is very good, June Squibb less so. Her part is so broad it’s almost like a character from “Dumb & Dumber.”

    1. I don’t think people in Hollywood have anything to do with it. This is about critics and the people who write about films. They get a free flight and a press pass to some film festival and they think they’re part of something important. That’s why they consistently grade up for the few remaining auteurs. Nebraska has a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and Sideways has a 96%. Do those four percentages points really make the difference? Same with the Coens: Llweyn has a 93% and True Grit has 94%. The critics simply can’t help themselves when it comes to these filmmakers and as long as they don’t completely sh*t the bed, they’re going to get love.

      1. You’re write as far as the critics go, but Sideways did $70 million in business ten years ago. Nebraska will struggle to break $15 million. True Grit and Llewyn are even more disparate. When a movie gets critical love but nobody shows up that tells you a lot about the movie.

  4. Nebraska was dull as dishwater which is why it’s doing no business. The critics can laud it all they want, but it was watching paint dry. Bruce Dern’s performance was completely forgettable because he was just this passsive nothing character. June Squibb was fun, but damn was the movie boring.

  5. Out of all the screeners I finally watched over The Holidays with family, this one was everyone’s favorite. Based on their reaction, I could see NEBRASKA sneaking in during awards season. Completely an underestimated movie. And no, I’m not a studio plant, but a member of a critics group who adored this movie!

    1. I totally agree that Nebraska is an underestimated/underrated movie. I love Alexandre Payne’s style. His films touch only those. who are not afraid of accepting the banality of real life. And Payne tries to show this from different angles.

  6. Well, Nebraska is a carefully paced movie, which is why it doesn’t appeal to those with short attention spans. It’s quiet and character driven. So a lot of people will fail to appreciate it, and that’s their loss.

  7. Don’t get some of these comments. It never bored me. The best film I’ve seen in ages. Nothing over the top about June Squibb – a beautifully judged performance. A really compassionate and moving film – but it does require a bit of heart!

    1. (spoiler ahead)
      I don’t fault June Squibb but the scene where she walks from one headstone to the next talking about what sluts the dead women were, before stopping to lift her skirt at the stone of a man who didn’t want her, was anything but well-judged. The gist of the scene is fine but the emphasis on quirk pushes it way past believable. She’s got great presence. She’s the best thing in the movie but she’s the victim of the filmmaker’s poor choices.

      1. I saw the movie in a fairly crowded theater the day it opened and Squib’s skirt pull up elicited gasps. Not happy gasps; “Why’d they have to show that?” gasps.

  8. I’ve never thought of Hollywood as age-phobic when it comes to awards. Seems like plenty of older actors have won the trophy in winter when there were better options that year. (Martin Landau, Jack Palance, etc.) When it comes to good parts for older actors, whole different story.

  9. I just saw Nebraska, & totally enjoyed it It’s a story that is as sad as it is funny. The story drew me in from the beginning, the acting was mostly great, & the writing very poignant & funny. The charm of this movie is that it is played pretty straight. A few times it veered into slapstick with the Kate character. She’s a wonderful actress, & I loved watching her, but a few times she became unbelievable & cartoonish which took away from the flow of the film & was a distraction. I loved the ending. It was very beautiful & satisfying, but made me laugh until I cried a little.

  10. Watched the trailer. Dream sequence or not, the ONLY compelling (if it was at all) action in that promo was Dern with open mouth in disbelief. Not enough to get me to go. The female actor was over the top in that grave sequence and unbelievable. Not going to see the movie based on what I just watched.

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