Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Now "The Monuments Men" Gets Moved to 2014

George Clooney
It has been quite a day for movies getting switched around. Earlier today, The Wolf of Wall Street confirmed that it was coming out just in time for Christmas and thus qualifying for this year's Oscar race. As discussed in that article, it is going to be a packed season of films and there is a good chance that it will be hard to see them all. While this was why Jack Ryan was moved, it isn't so much the case with the latest announcement. Director George Clooney's war film The Monuments Men will not be around this holiday season. Much like The Wolf of Wall Street, the reasons are good enough to justify this shift.

It hasn't been the best of years for Sony Pictures' attempt at the Oscar race. They started with three, but as previously reported, Foxcatcher has been moved to an undisclosed date. With The Monuments Men moving as well, it means that their only film in competition will be American Hustle, which looks to be a strong effort, though a mighty fall for the awards circuit. Is the film moving because of the heavy competition? Not exactly.

Much like The Wolf of Wall Street, there were delays caused by the film's editing and post-production, mostly regarding the effects. Clooney's follow-up to the gripping political thriller The Ides of March is easily his most expensive (budget set at $65 million). While reports surfaced that Clooney claimed it wasn't being marketed as an Oscar contender, it hasn't stopped the momentum from building and making it one of December's most anticipated films. The trailer made it look like a fun and entertaining film.

But the reason behind its delay is quite reasonable, and somewhat admirable. In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, he claimed that ”If any of the effects looked cheesy, the whole movie would look cheesy. We simply don’t have enough people to work enough hours to finish it.”

As a result, the race opens up a little more. However, it almost seemed like the extra victory lap for Clooney didn't quite land. In 2013 alone, he went from winning Best Picture (Argo) as a producer to starring in Gravity: a film that has become a cultural phenomenon and is Clooney's best box office debut since Batman & Robin. Things get even more interesting when you consider that he could theoretically break another record at the upcoming ceremony. As a producer, he was involved with both The Monuments Men and August: Osage County. With the former out of the race, the latter could have the distinct honor of making him yet another piece of Oscar trivia. If theoretically August: Osage County wins, he will be the first producer since David O. Selznick (Rebecca and Gone with the Wind) to have back-to-back Best Picture winners as a producer.

The film has been moved to an undisclosed date, most likely in February. While it can survive on the charisma of Clooney, it does make it seem unlikely to be at next year's Oscars. While I would love to think that the taboo of opening a movie before June is no longer a guaranteed no go for awards, there have been examples few and far between. Unless the marketing pulls some miracle tricks, it most likely will just be an above average February release. It doesn't help that Clooney himself never planned to market it as an Oscar contender. So I guess that we'll just have to assume the wait is worth it, though there's a good chance it won't be talked about in a year's time the way it is talked about now.

Can The Monuments Men break the February curse and get some Oscar nominations? Is this a foreshadow of the final film's quality? How does this change the awards game?

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