EXCLUSIVE: New distributor, and brand new Oscar player, Bleecker Street is telling Academy voters ‘I’ll See You In Your Mailbox’ as their sleeper hit and summer indie success, I’ll See You In My Dreams,  has officially won the title as first DVD For Your Consideration screener sent to the entire Academy this Pete Hammond badgeseason. It started landing in the hands of the more than 6,000 Oscar voters today. The senior-skewing comedy stars Blythe Danner and has made over $7 million domestically to date, a solid gross for the Sundance Film Festival pickup which has been a popular choice for older moviegoers since opening in May. Danner, the mother of Shakespeare In Love Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow, has never been nominated for an Oscar herself but could find a place in the Best Actress race as I speculated yesterday in a piece about the many veteran names contending in the category this year. It is always fun to see which movie and distributor is going to get out there in front of the pack first, as it could be an advantage to send a screener early before the flood of the rest of them hits over the next four months.

I'll See You In My Dreams Box Art

Last year, almost to the day,  TWC/Radius was first out of the gate with Snowpiercer, and the year before that Roadside Attractions got bragging rights with Mud.  However neither film got a single nomination. In the past though, smaller titles like A Better Life and Junebug clearly benefited from having their screeners arrive first and won nominations for their respective actors Demian Bichir and Amy Adams.

Bleecker Street, the New York-based distributor, has enjoyed early success with such adult-oriented releases as Al Pacino’s Danny Collins, and now Dreams. It also has two more upcoming Fall releases with awards ambitions including Pawn Sacrifice in which Tobey Maguire plays complex Bleecker Streetchess champion Bobby Fischer, and the November 6 release, Trumbo in which Emmy and Tony winner Bryan Cranston is said to be terrific as blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. That film will have its World Premiere at next month’s Toronto International Film Festival. In I’ll See You In My Dreams, the 72- year-old Danner plays a long widowed senior looking to re-ignite her well-ordered world in a movie that says you are never too old to keep the spark of life alive. It should have great appeal, particularly to the Academy’s older membership and we know there are a lot of them. It played very well to that demo when it showed during its official Academy screening at the beginning of the summer season. Also standing out in the film is Sam Elliott, who plays a suitor of Danner’s. He could find himself in Supporting Actor contention this year for another senior-skewing comedy/drama, Grandma in which he knocks a single scene with star Lily Tomlin out of the park.

And so with the first screener in Oscar voters mailboxes, we are off to the races even as Emmy voting doesn’t end until Friday night!