Would an earlier release date have helped Django Unchained?

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  • Trent
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    #88482

    This year, with the earlier voting schedule, many films that were released closer to the new year were, essentially, screwed.

    The film was divisive on this board, but in general, Django Unchained was very well-received both critically and commcercially. It had Harvey Weinstein on its side and was very technically well-done. But it was a Christmas release, and many voters were probably unable to see it in time.

    Which leads me to the big question:

    If Django had been released around the same time as Lincoln, and had enjoyed the same popular and critical success, would the film have been able to build more momentum?

    In my opinion, had this happened, Samuel L. Jackson would have emerged sooner as a supporting actor contender, and Waltz would have remained in his lead campaign. I’m not quite sure about the tech categories, but it is possible that more guilds would have been able to see the film as well.

    Any thoughts? Did this happen to any other films besides Django? 

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    Renaton
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    #88484

    As I understand, Tarantino was deep into the editing process just little before the film opened, so an earlier date was never gonna happen. But I think this one Oscar momentum sacrifice that makes sense in the long run. Putting it directly against “Lincoln” would’ve made the film even more divisive in regards to how it deals with race, and it probably wouldn’t have been as successful as it is now had it opened in any other date than Christmas (I might be wrong, but I think first week grosses still represent more than half of what the film has made so far in the U.S.). With the reviews and box-office and Tarantino’s passionate following, “Django” will likely be remembered as an iconic cult hit film and probably one of Tarantino’s most representative films, and the precision in timing had a lot to do with it (even if the same timing affected it’s Oscar chances).

    In the end, I think it worked out for the best. It’s not like “Django” could’ve won either way, and Tarantino is the sort of director whose films don’t need awards to reach immortality. Just think for example how “Jackie Brown” had a much bigger life than several of the films that were nominated and even won something that year, and that film is considered minor by most fans and critics (although reevaluation and casual viewers have certainly improved its reputation and status over time).

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    Icky
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    #88485

    While an earlier release wasn’t possible I do think it would have been helped by it. No, it probably wouldn’t have won directing or BP, but I think it would have acquired more nominations and possibly had more momentum. It’s important for a non Oscar friendly movie to be released earlier to have a shot. So, maybe a few more nominations. Wins, probably not.

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    Renaton
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    #88486

    The only thing it might have done was putting pressure on Tarantino getting a second.

    And again, it wasn’t Weinstein’s sole decision to switch Waltz. he was placed that way at the Globes, and he was runner-up in two big critics groups as supporting, and Harvey got hold of the momentum.  And he isn’t a factor im a big chunk of the film, and for the most part he lacks any kind of arc of his own, existing only to help and mentor Django. Even the guys he wants to find, it’s always on Django the focus of the main action. He has screentime and impact (and hardly matters at all in the last third or so of the film), but calling him Lead is almost the same thing as calling Alec Guineess the lead in Star Wars. But I digress, I don’t want to open this can of worms again. So while I love Jackson in the film, I don’t think he’d have the same push.

    Anyway, I wonder also if opening early would’ve hurt it. Sure, the reviews would have been just as good, but the popularity it had played a factor. Had it opened a few weeks earlier, it wouldn’t have been as popular, and even with killer reviews, it might have just been ignored as another Tarantino film.  

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    Icky
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    #88487

    Eh, I could see it being even more popular with an earlier release date. It would have helped DiCaprio and given Tarantino a better chance of getting in director. The feeling that the movie was a likely disappointment due to all the revisions I think hurt it, as well as its outrageous trailer. Though the reviews and box office snuffed that, a little more separation between that iffy buzz and the release date could have possibly killed it entirely.

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    Renaton
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    #88488

    That’s why I think any earlier or any later would have killed. It had to be that moment.

    The film wouldn’t have been more successful. That’s unrealistic to expect. The Christmas grosses are huge and had the benefit of being smart counter programming to “Les Mis”. Any earlier, and it would have to face Bond and the direct comparisons to “Lincoln”. Meaning, not good. It would still be a hit, but not as big. And even with the good reviews, again, without it having the huge opening it did, the reaction would probably be of just it being just another Tarantino film. I agree it might have resulted in a BD nomination for Tarantino (although I find it unlikely), and maybe one for editing, but that’s about it. Two more nominations wouldn’t have changed its place in the race much, and it wouldn’t have made as much money as it did. In the end, I think it actually worked out for the best. 

    And now even you are getting into the DiCaprio fandom? I think the supporting actor category would have been just the same. Waltz wasn’t gonna be pushed Lead for long once the critics groups decided he was Supporting, and none of the others guys have support that overlaps much with Django for DiCaprio to be seen as clear alternative to any of them. If any villain was gonna benefit from that, it was gonna be Bardem.

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    Jason Travis
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    #88489

    Django Unchained still got 5 nominations including Best Picture and Screenplay for Tarantino, plus Waltz. I say it did pretty damn good considering the intense subject matter. I’m glad the academy recognized it.

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    babypook
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    #88490

    Helped? By giving Jackson a solid chance at a supporting nomination?

    I dont think so. And I dont think it would have helped Leo any either. If anything, an earlier release may have hurt Django.

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    Anonymous
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    #88491

    Help with what? I mean, it got a lot of nominations. It could have came out in August like Basterds did and it still would have gotten the exact same response. It’s QT biggest film yet.

    Personally it got what it deserved, though I would subsitute Leo for Waltz.

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    Carlo
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    #88492

    Am I the only one who thinks Inglourious Basterds was a superior movie and Django, really well made and entertaining, isn’t really awards whorthy material?

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    babypook
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    #88493

    Am I the only one who thinks Inglourious Basterds was a superior movie and Django, really well made and entertaining, isn’t really awards whorthy material?

    I hope so. Lol.

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    Icky
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    #88494

    I didn’t mean a super early release, maybe a good two or three weeks earlier. I very much believe Leo’s buzz would have been peaked in that time. (or maybe not. I think I’m just talking out of ass as far as this topic in concerned).

    DU is imo a superior movie to IB. And it’s not even close.

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    ENGLAND
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    #88495

    The film did earn nominations but based on the nominated performances in the supporting categories, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson were snubbed MY PERSONAL OPINION. The entire cast did a great job (Better than IB imo) and should have earned a SAG nod for Cast. I thought Jackson and Washington gave the “non-directed” performances of the film. Sure Jackson wore make and costume but you can tell that when Quentin said “action”, Jackson knew just what to do. Same for Kerry.I actually believe that many voters read Goldderby and we did not push those two like we should have.

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    Renaton
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    #88496

    I do not believe Jackson would have pulled off that character without Tarantino. Have you seen some of his performances the past few years? You could maybe say that about Washinton, but her character barely gets to say nothing, she basically just instictively reacts to anything going on, so the direction was probably given broader isntructions and depended on Washinton’s feeling more. 

    And honestly, I think it’s impossible for a good performance to exist with some good direction of some kind.   

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    Beastialg
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    #88497

    I don’t think it would have helped. Django is a VERY good movie, worthy of its noms but not perfect, and I think Pulp Fiction & Inglourious Basterds are much better Tarantino movies (I also like Kill Bill Vol I & II more). 

    Still, I think Samuel L. Jackson was excellent (DiCaprio too), and a much better choice for supporting actor than Arkin for example. I would vote for Samuel in supporting actor without a doubt. Kerry Washington was solid but not award worthy in my opinion.

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