Requested Re-Think

Two or three days after linking to Stu Van Airsdale‘s 1.18 Movieline critique of Carey Mulligan‘s Best Actress campaign, I got a “what the hell?” e-mail from a friend at Sony Classics. I tried to get into this during Sundance but the screenings and deadlines were overwhelming, as usual.

“We have several weeks of voting after the Oscar nominations are announced,” he said, “so the Best Actress game is not over. It’s not even half-time yet. We were one of the first to send An Education to the complete SAG membership. And consider Capote‘s or Rachel Getting Married‘s release plan at Oscar announcement time. We were roughly at the same place with these films, and with the same odds.

“And look at all the awards Carey has accumulated so far (including her BAFTA Best Actress nom) and consider a scenario in which Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep split the mainstream Hollywood vote, and Carey wins by getting the rest. Don’t think that couldn’t happen.

“We’re not Carey’s personal p.r. people,” he concluded, “so don’t look for villains at Sony Classics.” (Mulligan’s p.r. rep is Jessica Kolstadt at Wolf-Kasteller.)

I didn’t think I was pointing figures at these guys — not really. I was just linking, for one thing. And all I said boiled down was that Sony Pictures Classics co-chiefs Tom Bernard and Michael Barker are “known to be equitable and hands-offish when it comes to acting-awards campaigns.” In other words, they’re not Weinstein-type blitzkreigers, and that they tend to defer to an actor’s personal publicist. No biggie in that.

I was mainly expressing my disappointment with the fact that so many critics groups had given their Best Actress awards to Streep, and for a relatively minor performance. Does Sandra Bullock have a front-runner position now after the SAG win? Quite possibly. Mulligan will be nominated for Best Actress, of course. She’s received a huge launch from An Education, and the film will continue to benefit when it goes to video. If she doesn’t win, fine. It’s all been to the good.

  • googs

    “If she doesn’t win, fine. It’s all been to the good.”

    Unless it’s Sandra Bullock. In that case we riot.

  • Kristopher Tapley

    Imagine that, perspective for a Movieline piece.

  • Chase Kahn

    That three-strip picture from the print ad you included there is almost iconic looking – more proof that she should be the front-runner right now and unquestionably gave the better performance of the Bullock/Streep/Mulligan trifecta.

  • LexG

    Team Mulligan.

  • Andrea

    Jeff, you should know how the Oscar game is played. Its not fair and everyone knows it.

    Carey is little known and An Education has done very little box office. What exactly can Sony Classics do? They have gotten the film out for people to see.

    But the best performance simply doesnt always win. Bullock is one of the top 2-3 female stars of the last 15 years. She was in a mega hit thate everyone saw and got her best reviews. It doesnt matter if she was the 5th best in the category or if the film was mediocre. Everyone likes her, shes a big star, and the film was a smash so you know how it goes.

  • Gordon27

    “And consider Capote’s or Rachel Getting Married’s release plan at Oscar announcement time. We were roughly at the same place with these films, and with the same odds. ”

    I’d buy ‘Rachel Getting Married’ (which lost), but ‘Capote’ was consistently the front-runner for Best Actor, and even got a Best Picture nom out of a weak year; ‘An Education’ will be nominated for Best Picture, but it almost certainly wouldn’t have without the ten slots.

  • juligenb

    I was shocked when I saw it the EDUCATION FYC adds, all the other films were colorfull and attention grabbing, and the ones from Carey were those lame black and white ones. I honestly thought they just cut pics from newspapers and released as adds.

    And before people say that the film lacked appeal, look what Fox did with Miss Sunshine, Juno and teh freaking Wrestler, a film a bout a has been fighter. I am not sad that Carey is not winning awards, I am just sad the film is getting so little support from the film. Ellen page hardly won the big awards, but people at least watched Juno.

  • EDouglasCS

    What Gordon said about Capote and Philip Seymour Hoffman who was the frontrunner since the movie debuted in September… maybe they can point to Anne Hathaway for Rachel but by this point, she’d already won the SAG award (in a tie)… so even she was ahead of Mulligan in the race. If you can’t convince the actors, the foreign journalists or the TV/radio critics to pick your candidate, how do you expect to win over the Academy whose mindset is essentially a combination of the three?

    I love the movie and Mulligan DESERVES to win more than Streep or Bullock but if giving it to them means I NEVER EVER HAVE TO HEAR THEIR NAMES DURING OSCAR SEASON AGAIN, then I’ll gladly wait for Mulligan to get another great role and be made the frontrunner. I’m sure we’ll be seeing and hearing a lot from her Oscar time cause she’s a great actress.

  • TM

    Going back decades, the Academy has a history of not recognizing the best actress in the year in which she excelled. Look at Bette Davis in “Of Human Bondage” — she wasn’t even nominated but received write-in votes (a practice abandoned after that year). What happens? She wins the next year. More recent examples are Judi Dench losing to Helen Hunt, then winning the following year; Nicole Kidman (who should have been nominated for The Others) winning the next year; Renee Zellweger; Penelope Cruz (who had to wait 2 years).

    Besides, with few exceptions, winning the Oscar seems to be a curse, especially for an ingenue or young leading lady.

    I really think Streep should just put out the word that enough is enough and fully remove herself from competition. I guess she wants to tie Hepburn’s record if not exceed it and if she lives long enough, she just might. But seriously, there are so many deserving women who should have won by now who are long overdue. Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Laura Linney, Angela Bassett, Patricia Clarkson, just to name a few. Maybe they need to start spreading the wealth.

  • BurmaShave

    She will be an Academy Award nominee for a decent performance in a decent movie by the age of 24. How that’s not a win I don’t know.

  • ZayTonday

    Sony Classics sends their movies to die, and no amount of verbal acrobatics from any PR flack will change that fact.

  • Freddy Jicker

    “I was mainly expressing my disappointment with the fact that so many critics groups had given their Best Actress awards to Streep, and for a relatively minor performance.” I have to agree that Streep in comparacy with the Bullock is only an amateur so I am really looking forward to some prize for Bullock soon!

    Freddy Jicker –

  • ali

    Man- i loved this movie….. An Education – it’s got everything….. Well played out as well for a British movie – esp. since I don’t like British movies – but this one I had to see and the girl who played , played it really well – loved her voice in it

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