Four films — “Another Year,” “Biutiful,” “Blue Valentine” and “The Way Back” — are having low-profile L.A. premieres this week in order to be eligible for this year’s Oscars. Rule 3 of the academy’s lengthy list of regulations dictates that “the required Los Angeles County qualifying run (described in Rule Two Paragraph 2) must begin between January 1, 2010, and midnight of December 31, 2010.” And, among those Rule 2 requirements, the release must be “for paid admission in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County; for a qualifying run of at least seven consecutive days; and be advertised and exploited during their Los Angeles County qualifying run in a manner considered normal and customary to the industry.”
However, the expectation among campaigners is that most of the voters will see these films at home on screeners rather than in cinemas. They received “Biutiful” back on Nov. 19, “Another Year’ on Dec. 6 and “Blue Valentine” on Dec. 15 or thereabouts. But, in an effort to stand out from the crowd, “The Way Back” only arrived in voters mailboxes this week.
As our pal Pete Hammond (Deadline) reports, “The thinking was that, rather than getting lost in the pile of hopeful discs, it would be fresh in mind just as members start thinking seriously about filling out their ballot. As one of the film’s strategists told me today, “We think voters will take notice of it coming at the tail end of the screener process and be curious to watch it, particularly since it is a film by Peter Weir who has been nominated several times for Oscars.”