The fag end of the year usually sees the release of movies that feel they have a shot at the Oscars. In fact, movies at times are wound up quickly to ensure they release by the deadline date so that they can be counted for the upcoming Oscars. But then for some, things do not necessarily go ahead as planned. Sony Pictures’ Foxcatcher which was set for a late December 2013 release, has now been shifted to a later date. The reason being “the filmmaker needs more time to finish the film”. It’s a pity if Foxcatcher does not see itself in the Oscar mix, for prima facie, the movie does seem the kind that had the potential to win awards. It is being directed by Bennett Miller, the man who helmed the successful movie Moneyball previously, and was nominated for an Oscar for Capote before that. The film stars Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, and is the true story of Olympic wrestling champion brothers Mark Schultz (Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Ruffalo) and their relationship with the paranoid schizophrenic John du Pont (Carell), heir to the du Pont chemical fortune, who killed Dave Shultz. Steve Carell in a much more serious avatar is bound to be one of the highlights of the film! Well, sometimes things work out for the best, and maybe the extra time needed by Miller to complete the film may just prove to be the difference between making a good movie and a great one.
Foxcatcher is of course not the first film to fall behind schedule. Another possible Oscar contender was the biopic Grace of Monaco which stars Nicole Kidman in the role of former Hollywood star Grace Kelly. The movie was slated for a later November 2013 release, but the distributor has pushed the release now to March 2014. The reason likely to be the same, they need more time. The movie now would be seen more as a commercial film than one that would be banking on the awards to create more publicity. Whether things would work this way is a bit doubtful, as serious biopics usually do not pull in the crowds on their own, if not for the lure of watching an award-winning movie.
One biopic that is fighting hard to stay in contention for the next award season is The Wolf of Wall Street. This movie though can definitely pull in the box-office numbers on its own, with the name of Martin Scorsese attached as director and a cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio and Matthew McConaughey. The movie had a mid-November release planned initially, but it appears that Scorsese has shot about a 3-hour film and now a hefty cut is needed. Into the editing rooms, people! This is not the first Scorsese film that is witnessing delays in production or post-production with The Gangs of New York falling behind a year, and even Shutter Island witnessing delays of few months. A few months for The Wolf of Wall Street would be a big blow, at least as far as the Oscars go. Paramount Pictures would be desperately wishing that at least a December release is possible for the film (which some reports suggest would push Chris Pine’s Jack Ryan to 2014). But Scorsese being Scorsese, the man who values perfection, it would not be a big surprise if The Wolf of Wall Street gets pushed to 2014, and bows out of the upcoming award season.
So things have not really gone ahead as planned for these films, and there might be a few more that see a bit of reshuffling of dates as the year progresses. When you think of it from a director’s perspective, you can understand the delays. A film is complete when the director says it is complete. It is his film! Post-production work is equally important as any other aspect in making a film and it is something that cannot be compromised on. But a producer and distributor would wish for the deadlines to be met, especially when the movies are worthy of Oscars and other awards. It raises the awareness about the movies, gives more publicity without any extra dime, helps them to release the movies across more screens as the Oscars approach, which more often than not results in higher box-office earnings. As a member of the audience I would not care much about the awards, if they are to come with some compromise on the quality of the movie. And so I am not duly worried about the delays in the release of the above movies, especially The Wolf of Wall Street. As long as it is a great movie, as long as it is a movie that would entertain me, take me to another time or another world and make me forget about everything else, then I am willing to wait… a little bit more!