Melissa who? Sobs for Warner Bros and more
A few of our thoughts upon hearing the Oscar nominations today:
“Melissa who?” When Melissa Leo’s name was announced alongside the other best actress nominees, the question was understandable. Her film, Frozen River, a gritty tale of single mothers in dire circumstances, opened back in August and had grossed just $2.3 million by the end of the year. Now, thanks to the nomination, the film will resurface at LA’s Laemmle Music Hall next Wednesday for an open-ended run and that Sony Pictures Classics will have the DVD out in February.
Warner Woes The grumbles are echoing across the Warner Bros lot today. The Dark Knight and Gran Torino, the studio’s two Oscar hopefuls (and presumed shoo-ins), were both nearly shut out of all the big awards. (Heath Ledger’s nod in the best supporting actor category was the only major.) More salt in the wounds: While Warner Bros does share distribution rights for multi-nominated Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the film will be seen a triumph for Brad Grey and Paramount.
Score for Overture No such gloom and doom at the West Hollywood offices of Overture films, in business just a year. One of CEO Chris McGurk’s first moves was to acquire The Visitor at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, and the film’s star, Richard Jenkins, [see W’s recent profile of the actor] earned them a nomination in the best male actor category.
Groundswell Also feeling pretty good right now is Michael London, whose Groundswell productions came up with the financing for both Milk (8 nominations) and The Visitor. This low-key but highly effective producer was also behind previous Oscar-nominated films Sideways and The House of Sand and Fog.
Short and Sweet Two of the supporting actor nominations were for roles with notably short screen time: Doubt‘s Viola Davis and Revolutionary Road‘s Michael Shannon. [see our recent story on Revolutionary Road‘s director Sam Mendes] The last time this happened was when Judi Dench got a nod for her eight-minute performance in Shakespeare in Love.