Oscar voters get DVD screeners of ‘Spotlight’ and ‘Youth’

Oscar voters just hit the jackpot if the predictions of the experts polled by Gold Derby are correct. Today they received the DVD of the film way out front to win Best Picture: “Spotlight.”

It’s curious that the movie arrived in their mailboxes this late in the derby. Check out our exclusive calendar below and you’ll see that academy members received dozens of other screeners over the past few months. No doubt the timing is strategic, meant to capitalize on the expectation that this film about journalism would fare well with film critics voting on kudos. In fact, “Spotlight” just won Best Picture from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association plus critics’ groups in Boston and New York (online). Also, it recently was proclaimed Best Picture at the Gotham Awards.

But the man behind the “Spotlight” campaign, Tom Ortenberg, president of Open Road Films, used a much less stingy DVD strategy when he was president of Lionsgate in 2005-6. He blitzed Hollywood with hundreds of thousands of DVDs of “Crash” and pulled off a spectacular upset over “Brokeback Mountain.”

He might still do that over the next few months with “Spotlight,” but he was probably prohibited from doing so earlier because his movie just opened in theaters. To monitor potential piracy, all DVDs sent to industry folks must be encrypted with info tracing their source. That wasn’t necessary for “Crash” because it had opened the previous summer. Cheap, mass-market DVDs could be used.

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Below, a listing of these 44 films with the most recent first. 


Dec. 7: “Spotlight”
Dec. 7: “Youth”

Dec. 3: “45 Years”
Dec. 3: “Carol” 

Dec. 1: “The Martian”

Click here to see odds and rankings of our Oscar Experts


Nov. 30: “Son of Saul”
Nov. 30: “Truth”

Nov. 27: “Legend”
Nov. 27: “Steve Jobs”

Nov. 25: “Shaun the Sheep Movie”
Nov. 25: “Sicario”

Nov. 24: “Bridge of Spies”
Nov. 24: “Home”
Nov. 24: “Room”

Nov. 23: “Pawn Sacrifice”
Nov. 23: “Trumbo”
Nov. 23: “The Walk” 

Nov. 20: “Beasts of No Nation”
Nov. 20: “Truth”

Nov. 18: “Black Mass”

Nov. 16: “Jurassic World”
Nov. 16: “Ex Machina”  

Nov. 13: “Minions”

Nov. 11: “Brooklyn”
Nov. 11: “He Named Me Malala”

Nov. 9: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Nov. 8: “Southpaw”
Nov. 8: “Woman in Gold”

Nov. 6: “Trainwreck”

Nov 2: “Love and Mercy”
Nov. 2: “Mr. Holmes”
Nov. 2: “99 Homes”  

Click here to see ups and downs of Oscar races over entire awards season

Oct. 30: “Furious 7”

Oct. 29: “I Smile Back”
Oct. 29: “Learning to Drive” 

Oct. 23: “Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation”

Oct. 22: “The End of the Tour”

Oct. 21: “Straight Outta Compton”

Oct. 18: “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”
Oct. 18: “Infinitely Polar Bear” 
Oct. 18: “Irrational Man”
Oct. 18: “Testament of Youth”

Sept. 30: “Grandma”

Aug. 28: “I’ll See You in My Dreams”

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