Now that quirky “Foxcatcher” has thrived at the major film festivals (winning Best Director at Cannes) and survived film critics (scoring 85% at RottenTomatoes), it looks like it is about to scale the third hurdle on the way to serious Oscar contention: box office. Last weekend it only opened in six theaters in limited release, but it earned $45,146 per screen. That’s cool.
Currently, our 25 Oscar experts predict it will score six nominations: Best Picture, Director (Bennett Miller), Actor (Steve Carell), Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo), Original Screenplay and Makeup. The 16 Experts who bet it will make the Best Picture list (assuming there will be 10 nominees): Ed Douglas (Comingsoon), Thom Geier, Mike Hogan (Vanity Fair), Dave Karger (Fandango), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood), Mary Milliken (Reuters), Steve Pond (The Wrap), Janelle Riley (Variety), Nicole Sperling (Entertainment Weekly), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood/ Indiewire), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Glenn Whipp (L.A. Times), Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com) and me.
As Oscar contenders go, “Foxcatcher” is as sly and wily as, well, a fox. Right now we’re not predicting that it will win any categories, but anything can happen with such an oddball film – and that’s what makes it such a fascinating Oscar fox.
Its biggest drawback is that it’s such a downer as a story. Like many Oscar films (say, “Argo” or “12 Years a Slave”), it’s based upon real events, but there’s no hopeful uptick at the end. Everyone who knows the true facts of the John du Pont‘s tragedy isn’t waiting for a happy Hollywood ending – they know that this film ends in triumph for lunacy and blood.
But academy members are old enough to remember the headlines when du Pont murdered David Schultz in 1996 and they may take this story personally given its theme: money corrupts – and can even make you crazy. In Hollywood, that theme has resonated from Norma Desmond to Michael Jackson to today.