Update 8/14/2013, 7 p.m. PT: Sony Pictures denies speculation that no Oscar campaign is planned for “the Monument Men’s” above-the-line categories: Read full report here.
Original report: Apparently, George Clooney wasn’t being coy when he recently asserted that “The Monuments Men” isn’t an Oscar film. Yes, it has a gold-plated cast that includes Cate Blanchett and Jean Dujardin, an Oscar-friendly release date (December) and Clooney not only stars in it, but he directed, produced and wrote it too. Oscar voters are usually suckers for that when accomplished by a studly heartthrob star. However, Gold Derby just discovered that “The Monuments Men” has no academy campaign for the lead categories because it’s chiefly a popcorn thriller, not gourmet Oscar fare. Sure, Sony may push it later for tech glory, but none of the rock-star awards strategists has been hired to oversee the kind of push a film normally gets when it’s seriously in contention.
But does that really matter? Can’t a movie get nominated for Best Picture on its own merits, you ask? Ha! Ha! Ha! No. The last time a movie broke into that category without a formal Oscar campaign was 40 years ago when “American Graffiti” stumbled onto the derby track after emerging as the top box-office hit of 1973.
I know what you’re thinking. That sneaky Clooney is pulling a Marty Scorsese on us. He’s treating “Monuments Men” just like “The Departed” was peddled to Oscarologists back in 2006 when Oscar consultants insisted that his movie was just an action flick. But they did that for obvious reasons. Scorsese had had his heart broken when “Gangs of New York” crashed at the Oscars four years earlier. Clooney does fine at the Oscars. He just snagged a chunk of academy gold last year for producing Best Picture “Argo” and he prevailed as Best Supporting Actor for “Syriana” in 2005.
Another key point is that “The Departed” did have a high-profile Oscar consultant hired to represent it – the same woman who strenuously insisted to us all that it wasn’t an academy pic. We knew that was a crock of poo at the time and we told her so.
Lowering expectations probably helped “The Departed,” though — it ended up winning four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Director. Without an official Oscar campaign budgeted for “The Monuments Men,” it’s virtually impossible for it to get Oscar love above the crafts slots.
Dear Derbyites: That means it is time to revise your predictions.
With “The Monuments Men” out of the top race, which films do you believe will be nominated for Best Picture? Make your predictions below. Change them as often as you wish.