Could James Franco win an Oscar for making a bad movie — or rather, for making a movie about the making of a bad movie? A24, the distributor behind Oscar winners “Room” (2015) and “Moonlight” (2016), has released a teaser trailer for Franco’s new film “The Disaster Artist” (watch it above), which opens December 1. He directs the film, and he also plays the lead role as Tommy Wiseau, who directed and starred in the 2003 cult hit “The Room,” which is renowned for how bad it is and has become a camp classic.
“The Room” had 32% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes — not the rating you might expect for a legendarily bad film, but a lot of its admirers don’t exactly enjoy it for its quality. Consider that Rotten Tomatoes’s critical consensus calls it a “misguided masterpiece” that “that renders such mundanities as acting, screenwriting, and cinematography utterly irrelevant.”
“The Disaster Artist” was a hit with critics when it premiered at the SXSW Festival earlier this year, so it already seems to be on the right track. And it wouldn’t be the first time a film made its way to the Oscars by celebrating schlock cinema. Tim Burton‘s 1994 film “Ed Wood” about the title B-movie director won Oscars for its makeup and for the supporting performance of the late, great Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi.
Also, it’s not the first time Franco has been interested in notorious cinema history. He previously directed “Interior. Leather Bar.” (2013), in which he explored the Razzie nominated, infamously homophobic 1980 film “Cruising” starring Al Pacino and directed by William Friedkin.
Franco is already a past Oscar nominee for Best Actor (“127 Hours,” 2010), but he has yet to make the cut for his work behind the camera. Will this be his first Oscar hit as a director?