Originally scheduled for release last December, Baz Luhrmann‘s adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” finally opened on May 10, but its Best Picture hopes may be as doomed as Gatsby himself. More than 50-percent of readers polled think the film will be snubbed in top Oscar categories and contend only in technical races.
The lavish production boasts elaborate costumes and sets that could be contenders at next year’s awards; both were designed by Catherine Martin, Luhrmann’s wife, who won both categories for Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge” in 2001. And three of the last four Best Cinematography winners – “Avatar,” “Hugo,” and “Life of Pi” – have also been technically audacious 3D productions.
Only 30-percent of readers think the film will be nominated for Best Picture, however, with just 12-percent expecting the film to win. Another 13-percent predict nominations in major categories, but not Best Picture.
Reviews for the film were mixed, scoring 55 on MetaCritic and 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, but that alone may not be a deal-breaker. A handful of films with similarly mixed reviews – “The Reader,” “The Blind Side,” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” – have managed Best Picture nominations in recent years. And last year, “Les Miserables,” which also met with strong criticism, still managed to earn a Best Picture nod and win three Oscars.
“The Great Gatsby,” like “Les Mis,” has the benefit of strong box office. It opened with a better-than-expected $50 million domestic haul; “Les Mis” had a softer opening – $27 million – but nevertheless reached $148 million domestically and almost half a billion dollars worldwide. If “Gatsby” continues to perform well, it could minimize the sting of some of its negative notices when it comes to its awards prospects.
Its last major hurdle will be its release date. Oscar voters often have short memories and typically vote for fall and winter films over long-gone summer fare, but several early releases have prevailed at the Oscars, including “Gladiator” and “Crash,” both May releases, and “The Hurt Locker,” which opened in June.
Fortunately for “The Great Gatsby,” only seven-percent of readers think it will be snubbed entirely, so even if its Best Picture hopes are dashed, it may not leave the Oscars empty-handed.