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.
— Big 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.
— Go 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.