Oscar Moment: “Animal Kingdom”

11 12 2010

Who is Jacki Weaver?  The Oscars could force you to know who she is on February 27 by awarding her Best Supporting Actress.

Sony Pictures Classics saw a performance in Weaver in “Animal Kingdom” that they thought was awards-worthy but knew it would never be considered unless they campaigned the heck out of her.  The movie is a little-known specialty release straight from Australia with Guy Pearce as its only faintly recognizable name.  It received a small release in the United States after winning a big prize at Sundance but garnered little buzz except for the raves it drew for Weaver as a crazy mother.

Trying to capitalize on this goodwill, SPC started campaigning her early seeing how wide-open the Best Supporting Actress category was (and to a large extent, still is).  They sent out “Animal Kingdom” screeners on September 30, remarkably early and the first of the year’s to arrive.  To Oscar bloggers, they sent out T-shirts with Weaver’s face plastered on the front.  They also put up FYC advertisements on major pundits’ sites starting in September, noticeably before any other movie this year.

Sure enough, their work hasn’t gone unnoticed: in the first week of awards precursors, she has won Best Supporting Actress from the National Board of Review, the first big group to announce their year-end favorites.  She was nominated by the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics in the same category but lost to Melissa Leo for “The Fighter,” and she was also recognized by the Golden Satellite Awards.  Back in her native Australia, she won Best Actress in an across-the-board “Animal Kingdom” sweep.

So clearly the goodwill for Weaver is there, but the question still remains: can an unknown foreigner win, or receive a nomination, for an Oscar?

Marion Cotillard went all the way for “La Vie en Rose” back in 2007; few knew her name then.  The same year, Amy Ryan dominated the critics circuit, winning almost every group’s Best Supporting Actress prize for her work as a negligent mother in Ben Affleck’s “Gone Baby Gone.”  She was hardly on the map, but thanks to Miramax’s campaigning and her widespread support, she entered the field at the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and Oscars.  The NBR’s pick for Best Supporting Actress has gone on to receive an Oscar nomination 6 out of the last 10 years, although only once did they manage to pick the winner (Penelope Cruz in 2008).

I think in order to get past the issues with name recognition, Weaver is going to need a strong showing from the critics groups in the weeks to come.  If they like her, then nominations from the Golden Globes and SAG Awards should ensue, making an Oscar nomination highly likely.  All signs point towards this trajectory now, but the momentum could easily shift away from Weaver.  One thing’s for certain: she makes a dull Best Supporting Actress category in 2010 a little bit more exciting.

BEST BET FOR NOMINATION: Best Supporting Actress

Advertisements

Actions

Information

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: