After a 10-minute standing ovation at its Cannes premiere this week, Harvey Weinstein is going to make a big awards-season push on The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby, and in particular the performances of Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy. Following that thunderous ovation and glowing reviews, Weinstein told his marketing team it has been a long time since he’d seen performances like these, and that they were to start working on the Oscar campaign strategy and go for it.
The new strategy will be to release the Ned Benson-directed film on September 26 at the start of awards-season films. I mean Them, the version that played Cannes, the one that Benson cut to tell a straight narrative story. Some six weeks later into Oscar season, TWC will release Him and Her, the two versions of the love story that played to acclaim at Toronto last fall. I saw Them at its later premiere screening, and came away feeling that Weinstein has a lot to work with. It is a moving story of a married couple on the rocks which showed sides of Chastain and McAvoy I hadn’t seen before. I came away actually wanting to see the other two versions, something I never expected.
One of the most interesting occurrences of the festival is how some of the best reviewed films here found their groove, something my colleague Pete Hammond has been chronicling all week. It’s clear that Bennett Miller was smart to avoid the last Oscar season so that he could take the time to make Foxcatcher as good as he could, a move done in concert with Sony Pictures Classics and producer/financier Megan Ellison. That movie also played like gangbusters here and will be right there in the Oscar mix.